Sometimes, The Polak Jokes Write Themselves

There's been a lot of flack lately about an article in the Haverford College Alumni Magazine that disparaged the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn and its large Polish-American Community. The P.C. Police have already come to the rescue to take the article off Haverford's web site, but this controversy begs the question: who the hell goes to Haverford College and where the hell is it?

But it also begs the question: how far off was he? I will not pass judgement, because I am embarassed when people reinforce stereotypes, but I want to share this story from my days living in Greenpoint:

One Saturday afternoon, my roommate and I were walking down Manhattan Avenue to grab some lunch at the Triple Decker Diner. Two middle-aged blonde women were walking in front of us, obviously speaking in Polish. They stopped to turn into one of the two thousand 99-cent stores that line Manhattan Avenue.

The 99-cent store had double glass doors at the front. One of the women grabbed the long handle of the door to pull. The door did not budge. She tugged again, and the door would not move. Not willing to give up so easily, the two women moved to the other door. The other woman grabbed that door's handle and started to pull. That door wouldn't budge, either, so she pulled again. At this point, it was clear they were annoyed. Frustrated, the two women assume the store must be closed, so they walk away and continue down Manhattan Avenue.

As we passed by the doors of the store, I noticed two signs. Inside the first door the women tried to open was a white, handwritten sign: "PLEASE USE OTHER DOOR." Right next to the handle of the second door was another sign: "PUSH."

I was in complete disbelief. I turned to my roommate and asked, "did you just see what I just saw?"

"Yes," he replied, "yes I did."

15 Moments of Idiocy:

Blogger pinknest said...

i like how the sign says "this is the other door."

8:49 AM  
Blogger Beehive Hairdresser said...

I love it.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous haverfordgrad said...

I went to Haverford. It's in Haverford, PA.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many polish people does it take to open "the other door?"

More than two, obviously.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't beg the question. It raises the question.

Jeezus, learn to speak English.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Polish friend has always said there is no such thing as a Polish joke. They're all true.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they didn't read the sign. so what? lots of english speaking americans are stupid too. i think you're overreacting.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to be fair, the transition from the Main Line in PA to Green Point is probably similar to the transition from the North Pole to a Camron concert

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sign on the other door in the picture you posted reads, "Pull to open." Am I the only one who read it?

1:47 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Anon: that's not the sign I saw. It's just another example of instructions on how to open a door being spelled out so explicitly.

Besides, the reflection in the door doesn't look anything like Greenpoint.

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It reminds me of a cartoon I had on the frig for years. It depicted a student at a school for the gifted.
He was pushing violently on a door which said "PULL".

All groups have their foibles.

7:33 AM  
Blogger A Million Paths said...

I love the fact that the same people who complain that immigrants should speak the loical language are often the same people who only speak one language (English).

Learning a new language is hard, especially if you're older. Most immigrants who come to the US who don't speak the language aren't particulalry affluent and most learn English classes are expensive; the free ones are often filled to capacity with long waiting lists. It's the rare immigrant who flat out doesn't want to learn the language...we just don't make it very easy for them to do so. Unlike, say, Quebec which encourages immigrants to learn the language because they want to protect their french lineage.

2:01 PM  
Blogger hearts&flowers said...

don't you feel like a dick now?

5:10 PM  
Blogger nlocco said...

... why do we need instructions ( on how to open a focking door in the 1st place... blame the architect!

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you American idiots who probably don't speak any other language but english of course don't understand that those 2 women might not know the language

3:03 PM  

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