Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Anus to all!

Dear Readers,

When I first moved to Italy and was in the throes of learning the language, I made quite a few rookie mistakes (actually, I still make rookie mistakes, though--I like to think--with a certain amount of flair). One of which was in wishing those around me a 'Happy New Year.' Buon anno, as you can see, has an all-important double 'n' in the second word of the phrase. Italian is a lovely language, but one of slavish pronunciation--if you don't get it exactly right, you risk morphing the entire meaning.

To wit: you must absolutely and emphatically enunciate that double 'n' sound, or you are--in reality--saying "Happy Anus" (single 'n' = ano = you-know-what). So that first capo d'anno in the Bel Paese I went around wishing pretty much everyone's nether orifice well.

But, you know, after ten years here, my early malapropism seems strangely prescient. With the recent austerity measures ('austerity' being a euphemism for 'screw you'), many Italians feel they're being forced to, ahem, take it up the derrière. Nowadays, wishing someone a happy anus doesn't seem like such a bad idea after all.

Well, let's not dwell on the negative--best to face these things with a champagne flute filled with good cheer, no? So let's raise our virtual glasses and have a toast:

My very best wishes for a Happy New Year (she said)
Though it's likely we'll be buggered in the months ahead

Counting my blessings,



  1. Christine Laatz5:05 PM

    Bottoms Up!

  2. Christine, you get the award: most succint, apropos comment of 2011!!! ;)

  3. Here's hoping 2012 will not be a an(n)us horribilis for everyone in Italy!

    Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!

  4. Dear Isabel,

    Lol!!!! Wishing you, too, a wonderful New Year filled with warmth and dance and exciting new experiences there in your adopted home of South India :)

    Thanks, as always, for reading!

  5. Anonymous5:51 PM

    But to turn the tables on the Italians--my last name is often pronounced 'Trombo' by the natives. For those whose second language isn't Italian, Google the the verb trombare as I am a too much of a signora to give the definition here. Brava Campobello and the best for all of us here in 2012!

  6. All the best to us indeed, papaya--thank you! I never would have guessed they'd savage your name like that, but of course, now that you mention it--I can see it happening. Only in Tuscany do they call a plumber--"idraulico" in the rest of Italy--a "trombaio," much to the amusement and derision of other Italians.

  7. Marvelous, as always, E. Sorry you did't get into the fig mistake ... :) Or the I must leave mistake ... Happy New Year, and Happy Anus to you and yours!

  8. Ah, E: posting on your marvelous blog is a difficult thing. Buon Anno e good anus to you and yours! Can't wait to see what you come up with in 2012. xxx


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