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October 14, 2013 by · No comments

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Dedicated to Christophe C.

Small souvenir shop full of all kinds of stuff. A man is entering. The shop girl sitting in front is setting her book aside and standing up.


A little time would pass before she’d ask:

‘Are you looking for something in particular?’
He is shrugging his shoulders.
‘I thought you were because you came in with such determination.’
‘Actually I am looking for something funny.’
‘Something funny? Let me see… But then what is funny for me might be not funny for you…’

In a few seconds she is pointing out the first thing that comes to her sight and seems funny, to her – it is a small figure of a greedy Jew that is smiling.

‘I’d say this is funny. He has this… what do you call it… yes, this funny face.’
‘This one? I’d say no.’
‘You see, you just proved my theory,’ and she starts laughing.
‘Ok, it is funny, but I would never have it at home.’
‘Oh, me neither, I’d never have something like this in my home.’ says she, as if someone is accusing her of some crime not yet known to humanity.

‘Maybe it was funny for some German in the 30’s, but now…’
‘Alright, so maybe this one.’ she is pointing out a small wooden angel that has a crooked smile.
‘That is surely very funny!’ he pronounces ‘funny’ with a stress on ‘y’ and it makes it sound very funny to her. She will start pronouncing it in this manner too, surprising herself a little in doing so. She likes it this way better, much better.

She’s laughing and asking:

‘Sorry, but where are you from?’
‘Oh! I love French movies!’
‘Yes? They are very funny! Which ones do you like?’

‘Let me see which one was the last I saw… In fact I was just thinking about it… What was the title… Bone and… Was it Bone and… something? It’s with Marion Cotillard. Most probably I don’t pronounce her name the way you would. She gets into an accident and loses her legs…’
‘Yes, yes, she’s crippled. Marion Cotillard, not very funny movies that she plays in.’

‘Actually there’s one funny with her that I saw. Yes, certainly. Well, in the end the couple… they bury themselves in concrete.’
‘You see. It’s very funny.’

‘I also adore Juliette Binoche! And also this guy with the big nose, Daniel Auteuil! My favourite movie with him must be The Girl on the Bridge. Though the last time I saw it I didn’t like it that much…’

He makes a face as if he can’t remember if he’s seen it.

‘Vanessa Paradis plays there too. It’s black and white…’
‘Aha, black and white, in the end they commit suicide… You see, another funny one.’ And he is laughing. They are both laughing most of the time.
‘Actually they rescue each other from committing suicide…’

And then she adds:
‘Well, ok, I will leave you then to have a look.’

But then he is saying:

‘Really, there are so many things here and none of them are funny. The problem is that so many things are not funny but dull.’
‘I see one funny thing here and it’s this talk. And you know what the trouble with funny is for me? It can be tragic, yes, tragic. It’s the kind of funny that I like.’

‘Then maybe these cats. Don’t you find them funny?’
‘These cats? I’d say they are cute. But not funny.’
‘Just the colours… most of them repeat.’
‘But you know, the cats are not stuck, you can rearrange them. Outside we have some more.’

They are going out from the shop to take a look at the other cats that hang on each other’s tails.

‘But see, here again, you have all the same colours.’
‘Are you suggesting that I’d better rearrange them as they don’t sell that well because of being in such an order?’
‘This could be a good idea.’

They are coming back to the shop. He is still holding the cats he had before. No rearrangement has been made so far.

‘Alright, so I will take these. I know she’ll find them funny.’
‘Just the way they are? You are taking these?’
‘Yes. What is the price?’
‘One is 3.50. So let’s count them.’
‘One two… they are eight.’
‘That’s right, eight. Could you multiply? My maths flew away from my mind long time ago.’
‘Right… 8 multiplied by 3 is 21 and then you add four more, so it’s 25.’
‘I just need to make sure.’ She is calculating on her mobile phone.
‘You see, I knew it that 8 multiplied by 3 was not 21. It’s 24. I knew it! See?’

She is showing him the mobile phone displaying the number.

‘Oh, yes, yes, that’s right, you are right!’
‘Maybe if you had counted in French you’d have got it right. You know, no matter what language you might be speaking in the moment, everyone counts in their mother tongue.’
‘But then in France 8 multiplied by 3 is 21.’
‘Yes, and in Bulgaria it’s 22.5.’
‘And you know, in New York it’s 12.’
‘So, here you are. And keep the change. Because you’re funny.’

This talk took place on the 28th July 2013, in the Jewish district in Krakow, in the souvenir shop on Meiselsa Street 20.

P.S. After this more and more people coming to the shop notice the cats. Some of them flew to Hong Kong, others to Germany and some of them keep their Polish citizenship.
Often the people passing by say they are funny.

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