Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Afghan Diary: My First Stab at Afghan Humor

Afghan, particularly Pashtun, humor revolves around the misapplication of logic.  Mullah Nasruddin jokes, humorous tales of an authority figure who only gets the concepts logic but not logic itself, are common place even today.  Another form misapplication of logic humor deals with hashish addicts.  For some reason the inability of a hashish addict to think logically plus Afghan culture's looking down upon drug users equals great Afghan-style humor.  Some jokes that I have heard begin with "There was a hashish user..." and these automatically produce a laugh of anticipation in the listener.

During a recent conversation with an Afghan I decided to bring Afghan and Western humor together.  We were previously discussing how the Polish military had done great harm to Afghanistan by letting the Taliban retake control of much of the countryside.  During a lull I asked the Afghan if he had heard about the Polish soldier and hashish addict.  As he heard the translation of my question he smiled and he stated his desire to hear the joke.

The Polish Soldier and the Hashish Addict

A Polish soldier saw a hashish addict looking sad.  "Why are you sad?" asked the Pole.  The hashish addict said, "I only have one hashish packet left.  Soon I will be all out."   The Pole told the addict not to be sad because the Pole had an idea to get more hashish.  The hashish addict was pleased but wondered how the Pole was going to get more hashish.  "It is simple," replied the Pole, "give the packet to me."  The Pole then took the packet and buried it in the sand.  "Soon," said the Pole, "we will have our very own hashish plant!"

The interpreter gave into laughter as he began to retell the story in Pashtun.  As he translated the story the Afghan also smiled and gave out a good laugh.  My first stab at Afghan humor was a success.


Dan tdaxp said...

I read "Whom Do You Trust" on wikipedia. I like the story of the mulla and the donkey very much. It is very sweet. I wish we had thought of it!

Dan tdaxp said...

I learned that Lady of tdaxp remembers watching an animated cartoon series about Nasruddin on CCTV. There, he was a wise old man who traveled backwards on a donkey to small towns, solving disputes and giving advise.