Once in a while a fellow blogger posts something on Twitter or Facebook that is thought provoking and inspires us to reflect on past experience. In my case, it was the hilarious Nucking Futs Mama and it was a picture of an elephant with the caption, “Mommy, why does the elephant have 2 trunks?” The private parts were censored to imply that the second trunk is a magnum-sized co- err…penis, to be more politically correct. This is a mommy site, after all.
I, of course, now have Nutrigrain bar and coffee caught in my keyboard from bursting out into laughter; the kind of guffaw where everything in your mouth splatters everywhere because you’re caught off guard or what I like to call The Humor Heimlich. Yes, it was a funny picture, but it’s the incident it reminds me of that I find even more hilarious.
Although I was born in the USA, my parents are from India. As children and teenagers, we would travel there every few years for the summer to visit relatives. On one particular trip when I was 17, we did a tour of the country, visiting all of the staple tourist and historical sites.
When you travel in India, people watching is also a form of sightseeing, because you are stepping into another world. You are exploring a completely different way of life. It takes the idea of culture shock to a whole new level. There are waves of disease and poverty in almost every square foot surrounding you. You will cross paths with the likes of extreme diseases like leprosy. You may pass by a cobra charmer, right in the middle of the main market.
During our visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, we were riding on a rickshaw, an auto pedicab, and heading back to our hotel. Some rickshaws have four seats. Two that are facing the driver and two that are facing what I like to call the wake, even though there are no water waves, just people.
I spotted a man washing himself in a large puddle and fixing his dhoti, a long sarong. Nothing abnormal about that in India. I was daydreaming and watching him. And, no, I’m not a pervert. It was completely PG at that point. Besides, he was so filthy I couldn’t even see his face to figure out if he was hot or not.
We were waiting on perpendicular traffic and I just happened to be staring at him at the moment when he turned to face the rickshaw. That’s when I saw something that looked like an amputated, third leg. Huh? Had his mother bathed in acid rain and somehow delivered a mutated human being? (Yes, that was my first thought, believe it or not.)
I tried to get a closer look. Rickshaws and most other forms of transportation didn’t have seat belts back then. I was basically hanging off the edge, just to get a closer glimpse of this guy’s third leg. That’s when I realized it wasn’t a third leg, but an enormous penis! Oh my god! Did this guy have elephantiasis of the penis? Or, once again, did his mother bathe in acid rain and give birth to this mutated magnum? Why was he even wearing a sarong? The penis was hanging about six inches out of it anyway. What was the point?
I pointed it out to my sister and she had the same shocked look on her face. I could see she had her own questions flashing through her mind. And, that’s when we started bursting out into laughter. We were laughing so hard that we almost fell off the rickshaw, when it started to move again.
I couldn’t even catch my breath and I was starting to get a stomach cramp from the lack of oxygen, when my father slapped me on the arm. I turned to look at him. He didn’t utter a word, but I could see the veins in his forehead enlarge from anger. It was the unspoken, “Shut up! Now!”
I stopped laughing right on the spot and turned back around, but he couldn’t see me smile, so that was safe to do. I giggled for a few days after that. Yes, it was at this man’s expense, but I was 17, and it was really funny.