Friday, April 3, 2009

The Sad Story of Giovanni Marco. Don't Worry. It Has a Happy Ending.

Guys, I'm sorry, I don't mean to brag here, but I am just a fantastic friend. I began to suspect this last night whilst I was simultaneously convincing Casey it would be a good idea to stay up until 2:30 and only get five hours of sleep, AND giving Victoria valuable advice on things she should buy me in China. But the point was really driven home today in my Italian class.

We were learning the conditional tense, which expresses things you would do or should do in given situations. In the last fifteen minutes of class, our professor had us use the things we'd learned that day to construct a few sentences on what we would do to cheer up a depressed friend.

Sara: What is the friend's name?
Professor: Does it matter?
Sara: Yes. Very much.

Good, I thought. I can work with that name. I can see Giovanni now. He's a bit tall, and on the lanky side of things. He's come to California from Italy, and he can't speak English. He forgot to take language into account when he decided to study abroad. As a result, he's failing out of his classes. The one person he could speak to, his girlfriend, Margherita, just left him for someone much better looking. On the way home from being broken up with, tears fill his eyes. No, he thinks. I can't cry. I won't. He's a brave fellow. Unfortunately, the non-tears blur his vision, and he crashes his car into the median. He tries to call a tow truck, but the Tow Truck Man can't speak Italian, and assuming he's being insulted, hangs up on him. Giovanni tries to hitchhike. A group of friendly-looking boys stop their car and ask if he needs help. "Dear, sweet American boys, I can't speak English," he tells them in Italian, "but my heart is breaking, and my soul is aching, and all I want to do is get back to my dorm, buy a pint of ice cream, and watch sad, artistic Italian films." The boys turn to one another. "He doesn't speak English," one of them notes intelligently. "I think he's speaking French," another says. "He is insulting us!" remarks a third. "Get him!" Not knowing how to "get him" though, as the most they've ever fought is shoving each other while half-drunk, the boys settle for pushing him down and stealing his wallet. Giovanni, losing hope in humanity, calls his mother, just wanting to hear a voice who understands him. "You got beat up by frat boys and were weeping in the car over some ho?" his mother asks. "FOR SHAME, GIOVANNI." His family, deeply ashamed at their son's failure, disowns him, and he is now left, for the first time in his life, truly alone. What can save him?

"I would give him a hug," says a girl in my class. LIKE THAT WOULD HELP.

"I would buy him an ice cream cone," says another. Yeah. That might have helped before he was robbed and disowned, but ice cream can only do so much.

"I would take him for a walk on the beach," a boy says thoughtfully. Why? So he can get sunburned and stung by a jellyfish? Great. That'll cheer him up. All better.

Professor: Sara, what would you do?
Sara: What wouldn't I do is the better question. Our day starts at Disneyland. We--
P: Oh, how fun!
S: I'm not done.
P: Oh. Well. Excuse me.
S: Of course. After going on a few rides, we buy churros and lemonade and enjoy them in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
P: Oh, okay. Well-
S: After we finish our snack, we would get a picture taken with Mickey Mouse, and we'd buy princess crowns at the gift shop.
P: I thought it was a boy.
S: It is. But everyone enjoys a crown.
P: Mm-hmm.
S: We stay at the park until nighttime, and leave after the grand fireworks display. On our way home, I make an unexpected left turn. "Where are we going?" Giovanni asks. Guess where!
P: I don't think I want to.
S: A PET STORE. I called the owner earlier that day and got him to keep the shop open.
S: Because I am buying Giovanni a puppy.
P: Oh. Clearly that's why.
S: He picks a puppy, and we go back to my house, where I have bought all the ingredients to make his favorite Italian cake.
P: Name one Italian cake.
S:...The name is unimportant. I've Googled it earlier that day. I know.
P: Great.
S: I make us all a fabulous cake--
P: Who is, "us all"?
S: Me, Giovanni, and the puppy obviously.
P: Obviously. What next?
S: We eat cake and drink milk while watching Must Love Dogs, and You've Got Mail. When we've chick-flicked ourselves out, I turn to him and say, "Giovanni. You can't let your family disowning you stop you from achieving your dreams."
P:It--wait, what?
S: "And your girlfriend was never good enough for you. For months, I've watched how you've given your heart to her, and what did you get in return? Nothing! You can do so much better, Giovanni!"
P: Sara, I think this is--
P:...Are you finished?
S: I think so. That should sufficiently cheer him up. Why? Do you think I should do more?
P: No. I definitely don't think that.

I really just couldn't be more helpful and awesome if I tried. So I won't try. Next time YOU'VE been robbed, disowned, and broken up with, you know who to call. And it ain't the Ghostbusters. (On a side note, I have been wanting to make some version of that joke for days. Thanks for the opportunity). 

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