Half an hour ago, while I was on my way to get a coffee from the deli down the street from my office, I was stopped by a group of bright-eyed, bushy-haired twenty-somethings who were each holding a basket filled with brightly colored pieces of paper. “Here,” one of them said to me a little too loudly. “Now YOU have a GREAT DAY!”
Written on the neon green card he’d just handed me were the following words (capitalization and punctuation intact):
you are breathtaking! es un individuo conmovedor! have a GREAT day! tenga un GRAN día! Love, Feel Good Day
According to Google translate, which is my new favorite toy, “es un individuo conmovedor” means “is an individual moving,” which is, oh, I don’t know, not even CLOSE to “you are breathtaking.” Apparently, one (weirdly anthropomorphic) Feel Good Day didn’t bother to ask one of the THOUSANDS of Spanish-speakers who live in this neighborhood how to say “you are breathtaking” before printing out hundreds of these ‘pay-it-forward’ coupons. Adding insult to injury was the fact that, annoyingly, nothing on the piece of paper was capitalized except the last four words.
I thanked the kid who gave me the card the only way possible: by saying, “What kind of Dementor would I be if I wasn’t taking breath?” and sucking his soul out through his mouth.
Sharp Teeth, Sharper Tongue.