Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Eternal Pursuit

Here is a story I've cherished for years (probably apocryphal, but what the heck?).

When Charles de Gaulle finally stood down as President of France, he and his wife met the foreign press corps to answer questions. Neither of them had outstanding English, but they did their best.

When Mme de Gaulle was asked what her hopes were for their years in retirement together, it is said that she responded:

"What I want now is ze same sing I 'ave alwayz wanted. All I want is a penis."

The assembled journalists, of course, were momentarily stunned into silence.

Luckily, the General intervened promptly, and so saved his wife from the awkward follow-up questions that were looming:

"My dear," he said. "I sink it is pronounced 'appiness."

My favourite mispronunciation story, ever.

(I've always wondered, though: did the General simply mean to correct his wife's faulty stress pattern, without twigging what she'd actually said? Probably we will never know. Well, it's probably not a true story anyway.....)

Anyway, once again the hour of happiness is almost upon us. Or perhaps I should say the hour of a penis......

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