Live and Learn – The ladies that cure my boredom

Luis Bahena

Luis Bahena
City Times

There are the moments in life when I’m really bored. I am so bored, that not even updating my MySpace page helps. It is in these moments of mundane workload and unproductive hours of sitting in my couch that YouTube cures my boredom better than Pepto-Bismol cures diarrhea.

It was thanks to YouTube that I was reunited with my favorite comediennes such as Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes and the sinfully lovable Sarah Silverman.

It is through their jokes and shows that I am happy to belong to this wonderful planet we call earth.

One of the frequent acts that I had been looking at was on the topic of gay marriage. No one put it better than Sykes on her comedy show “Sick and Tired.”

Wanda Sykes so valiantly put it, “It’s very simple, if you don’t believe in same sex marriage, then don’t marry somebody of the same sex.” The logic behind this reasoning is so plain and simple that not laughing is not even an option.

While watching Sykes on YouTube, I found that my work production only improved. Laughter and giggles definitely helped me get in a better mood.

Another clip that made me laugh so hard was Cho’s bit on Asian Chicken Salad while on board a plane. It is an instance where ethnic separation comes into play, only you forget that you are of a certain race.

“I sometimes completely forget that I’m Asian. Like I totally forget, and when I’m reminded it’s a bit of a shock.”

In her comedic piece, she’s re-telling the time where a flight attendant was passing by offering flyers Asian Chicken Salad, only to eventually reach Margaret Cho and say “Chicken Salad.”

This bit reminds me of rare times at work where I’m so into what I’m doing, like, I’ll be in the zone with my work, that I get interrupted and asked if I can please take a Spanish call.

At times my response tends to be a variation of “why” mixed in with a little resentment for my skills in the Spanish language. “Stop interrupting me and do it yourself, I am trying to work.”

It is in these moments where I am reminded that I’m the only Spanish speaker in that shift and no one else would be able to assist our caller.

The reasons why I enjoy Sarah Silverman is that she is so explicitly straight out with her comedy acts. No restrictions there and that is something that any one can relate to. People, like me for instance, are constantly trying not to limit themselves.

Like her ease with using the word vagina, it brings back memories of me and high school when we would have substitutes for the day or when it was a new year with new teachers.

In Spanish, my last name, Bahena, is so easily pronounced. The “H” is supposed to be silent. However, when my last name is pronounced in English, very often it is mispronounced adding an extra “E” to the name making it sounds like “Baheena.”

Saying it like this, “Baheena” is basically saying vagina in Spanish. I was very popular in school due to this reason, especially since most of the student body was Hispanic.

But I had no restrictions with using the word vagina and I would nonchalantly correct my teachers in the correct pronunciation of my name by saying, “Actually my last name is Bahena with a silent ‘H’ because when you say ‘Baheena’ you’re basically saying vagina in Spanish.”

The response was always the same, a slight gasp and a blush of embarrassment on their part. It was these rare moments in high school that I always looked forward to. The first day of school was always the funest. A real ice breaker if you ask me.

In retrospect, I have to admit that I admire my ladies of comedy. They entertain me in a way where many have tried and failed. It is because of Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes and Sarah Silverman that I am a better person. Perhaps later they’ll inspire me to become a better writer.

Until then, I’ll continue to re-read David Sedaris’ books until I can finally find a style of writing I can call my own.

(Luis Bahena is City Times’ editor-in-chief)