The day hesitates to dawn, the sound of the alarm clock has pierced man's sleeping. He stumbles up, foggy minded. Usual gestures, deprived of consciousness. Now he is out; on his way, he bought the newspaper. He reads: “Newspapers are citizen's voice”, then moves off repeating: “That's true, it's written in the newspaper.”
- The instructions of the Sales Manager are simple: the more customers we have, the more goods we sell, and the more commission we get.
- This sportsman doesn’t sell anything, but what a bundle of cash he makes!
- Right: when he plays, everybody comes… and pays.
- Oh, I see! I’ll never become a doctor: there are many more healthy people than the ill.
- Always having fun while I’m working! When are you starting to earn your living?
- I’m not having fun, Dad, I’m…
- My boss wouldn’t pay you for what you do. In the meanwhile, I have to support you!
- It’s not your boss who pays you, it’s his customers.
- Where’s the difference? I deserve my money all the same.
- If his customers don’t want your products any longer, do you force them to buy your products because you have to earn your wages?
- What are you expecting me to say? That we’ll request for a grant or that I’ll only have unemployment benefits to pay me?
- I’m going out tonight. I am requesting for a grant.
- Always the question of cost efficiencies?
- Yes. I’d like to propose an exchange to you; my brass worker likes only wood. I know that as regards yours, it’s just the opposite.
- That’s true…
- You don’t look really convinced.
- Yes, I am; but I’m thinking of all the others. They only like vacation.
- How awful! Slaughter poor defenseless animals for the pleasure of having a coat!
- You’re right; I’m really glad to produce food for dogs – I bring life, not death.
- It’s for you, on the second.
- What, you cannot deliver my whole tonnage? What the hell are you doing in your slaughterhouse?
- Maximum speed on roads needs to be lowered.
- I agree with you; nevertheless, it’s continuously lowered, what can be done about it? Well, people can’t be stopped from moving.
- Yes, but presently, there are too many dead; it is not reasonable.
- Please, Daddy…
- I’ve already told you that children do not interrupt… Well, what do you want?
- How much is it, a reasonable number of dead?
- Daddy, give me money, please.
- I’ll give it to you only if you get busy, instead of having fun.
- I’ve played tennis.
- That’s it…
- I won the National Cup.
- Hugh! You must have told it in the first place. Very well, here’s your money; have a good fun.
- Our new seller has no morality: he criticizes our products.
- By force of routine: he has just been transferred. He was our best buyer.
- We can’t take on somebody for this occasional task as we don’t know whether it is profitable.
- Ask a volunteer; the ones who love something, you can do as you wish with them.
“When you came to us, leaving the fulfilled life you had with yours, we were in complete destitution. Thanks to your dedication, your abnegation, you brought what permitted us to survive. Today, after so many years passed among us, you go back to your close friends who love you and with whom you can peacefully spend the rest of your life, as you have deserved it. We are not even so abandoned to destitution which remains our companion, another one will take over from you. We keep you the biggest recognition.”
- What a beautiful speech for the man who dedicated his life to them!
- Yes. But if he had given it to them, what would they have done with it?
- Did the general meeting go badly?
- On the contrary; indeed, debates were delicate, but we succeeded in defining our plan of action for the next year.
- There are good certainties for the future.
- In the short term, anyway; at the next general meeting we’ll see whether we are in the right direction or have to change our main lines.
- You look worried, don’t you?
- Oh! It’s my son. At high school, he is asked what he wants to study; he cannot even decide what job to do in the future.
- Without him, I don’t know what would have become of me; I was driven to despair. He gave me back confidence, and desire to live. I’ve never been so pugnacious with my customers as I am now.
- Why do they call him “The Dreamer”?
- He never does a thing; he hangs around from pillar to post, and discusses with everybody.
- Doesn’t he work?
- No. What a pity not to look for a job, that would take him out of the destitution he is living in!
- I don’t understand skiers: it takes ages for them to climb up there – and not so long ago, they climbed even by foot, without sparing their efforts! All that fuss for getting back down, into the same place, within two minutes.
- You don’t understand a thing. The exhilaration of speed, it’s an irreplaceable pleasure.
- I’ll never be able to understand it.
- Sure you will; you’ll make it, with some patience. As we are told, a city wasn’t built in a day – not even in a year, besides.
- And is it for the exhilaration that they destroy it within two minutes?
- People get more and more selfish!
- How not to? Law forbids them to have friends.
- Are you joking?
- Just try to give a friend something of great value.
- It’s not forbidden.
- No, but it’s the state that seizes the largest part of it. How encouraging, isn’t it!
Daytime was cold but sunny; I came to the cemetery where my mother lies. They were burying someone. Nobody was there. Curiosity made me ask the keeper.
- He was a courageous man, he said. His parents were no more alive, his wife died a year ago. He has always worried about the others, never about himself.
- Was he old?
- No, not even thirty years.
- An accident?
- If we can say so. He threw himself into icy water in order to save an unknown man shouting for help.
- He had children?
- Yes, one of two years and another of three years, whom he was bringing up alone. I am sure he is watching over them from up there.
- You hit the wrong note!
- Yes, I’m going to start again. You know, I can’t fix my attention permanently.
- It’s natural, this sonata lasts twenty long minutes.
- Already three o’clock! I must go; I have six hundred kilometers to drive.
- Be careful when driving.
- Conjuncture, rather.
- Everybody is rushing at our equipment.
- Yes. What an opportunity to have among us the man who conceived it!
- It couldn’t happen on a better moment; our company is saved!
- A statue might be erected to the conjuncture!
- Don’t go too near of the edge!
- Your little boy is not good?
- Yes, he is, but I always have to watch him, he is so lively.
- Do we cross the street? The light has just gone red.
- Please, stay on the crosswalk!
- Careful, the car is coming a bit fast; your son…
- The driver has to be careful. We have right of way.
- He is a real creator! Who before him could have imagined the harmony of such music? It is as if coming from an outer universe!
- Yes, that’s true, I’m amazed. What a good professor he might have had!
- Is the Chairman’s conference beginning soon?
- Five minutes. Did you have a good time on holidays?
- Very good; I love trips. If I could, I’d spend my life on trips!
- I’m more home loving. I love to decorate my home; I think it is the most important thing of all.
- You are like George…
- No, he is just fond of aesthetics – he is an artist. You know, he regrets so much not to have the opportunity to dedicate himself to sculpture…
- By the way, he is late, George.
- No, there he comes with John.
- Ah, John! He is only interested in cars.
- Shut up, the Chairman is going to speak…
- Gentlemen, I know how dedicated and passionate you are about our company…
- See you tonight, Chloe! You can’t imagine how much I’d like to stay home instead of getting bored with my terminal…
- You all men are truly the same – lazy guys! Fortunately, we women love our work; we have fought to leave home and children in order to spend daytime with our word processing!
- You know, Shirley, the unemployment comes from the fact that there are more workers than work…
- Well, John, I quit my job and I take care of you and the children, at home!
- That’s really a woman’s idea! And who’s going to pay you?
- Well, the unemployment benefit!
- You’re joking! This money is for the unemployed people. You don’t think they are going to pay you for lounging around at home!
- What I like the best, in this western? That’s pathetically stupid, see, it’s the farmer.
- Oh, yes! What a hero! He put to flight the horse thieves…
- No, no, that’s not… Well, yes – that’s a very good thing. In fact, I was pondering on his farm he built almost by himself, with his sons’ help. You see, building one’s home in order to permit one’s family to live in happily… I’m afraid you hardly understand what I mean…
- Hey! of course I understand what you mean. You know perfectly well that I am a laborer in the building industry.
- What a triumph, this reception at the Big Library! You must be proud, you the Librarian!
- Yes, that’s something to be proud of. Did you notice the guests? A Minister, an Ambassador, a President, the Dean of the Professors’ Literature team, the Director of the University…
- Excuse me, Sir…
- Don’t you see it’s closed?
- Yes, I did; but, I’m writing a book…
- Come another day; you’re disturbing us, indeed.
- Are you coming with us tomorrow? We are going to John’s, he is fascinating; he’s really one of the best electronics professors. He’ll explain to us the very last broadcasting technology.
- With pleasure. By the way, it reminds me that I have to get my TV fixed.
- Bring it along, John simply adores fixing TVs; he’ll fix it in a minute.
- Yes, but you know, my repairer is a pro.
- He’ll ask you more money than John will do!
- It’s only right: a repairer is a specialist.
- How is your family?
- Thanks, they’re all right.
- How old is your son now?
- Is he good at school?
- Not so good; he just wants to have fun.
- You’re not strict enough; I said to sonny that if he wouldn’t work on it, I would not allow him…
- You were absolutely right! Then, has he been successful?
- Yes, he’s got a very professional level; he’s playing as part of the football team…
- He’s really gone too far! He believes that telling me I’m pretty will be enough for me to… well, you understand what he wants.
- Oh, yes, you and your morality!
- I was taught to be a responsible girl.
- Being responsible is old fogy.
- That’s a good way to detect true feelings.
- You are completely outdated, indeed; women have rights nowadays. Just be aware that today you are free to do what men want.
- Still playing instead of learning!
- Yes, I need money.
- And you expect that playing will make you earn money? Are you joking?
- I’ve just read in the newspaper that the hockey team “played voluntarily” – it was for a good deed; that obviously means they used to be given money to play.
- So Junior died...
- Yes; another treatment should have been undertaken, but it was far too expensive.
- I was told his father was a great champion.
- One among the greatest, yes. His last match could have yielded for him a real fortune with publicity.
- I know; he lost the match.
- He admitted errors the referee hadn’t noticed.
- For sure?
- Yes. In such cases he used to say: “It’s only a game.”
- Everybody has rights, indeed; nevertheless there is a limit. A man could not starve in order to feed a dog.
- In any case a dog will never give its food. As of it, it has exactly as many rights as everybody else.
- Cecilia! You’ve cried once more! You’re not going to spend all your time in despair because Marcus is no more coming to see you! You’d better practice your gym competition!
- I’m not going, Mom…
- What, you’re not going! At 14, it should be clear to you that it’s time to take things seriously. I am sure you can win!
- Well, go on, you…
- Very funny! Really, at the age of thirty, you think I still have your capacities?
- You are a prima ballerina.
- Yes, but dancing is not the same thing. The technique is not the only matter. You have to express feelings; I show joy, love, and sadness. You’ll understand when you get mature.
- It’s annoying, about your recital, if you don’t feel a thing with the sonata you are going to play.
- It doesn’t matter; the important is not the feelings I feel, but the ones I show.
- What are you thinking about?
- Yes… I had never understood why Isabelle, who was so much in love with you, never wanted to marry you.
- So, how did you manage with the dummy guy you were preparing for his exam?
- He succeeded.
- Bravo! I’m happy for you; you deserved the money you earned.
- Speaking of money, he got some financial trouble, and couldn’t pay me back.
- What an affair! You got to do something about it. The other day, a customer of mine bought a ring from me on credit and didn’t pay me back either. I did what had to be done, and I got my ring back. You ought to do like me.
- It’s a disaster. When passing this sport on TV, the audience is zero, international scores are appalling, and our country is the laughing stock of the whole world.
- Cut it out, all the young do practice that sport. They are happy and it’s particularly good for their health.
- Explain that to the advertisers.
- In Europe, living is getting harder and harder; unemployment, the decrease of the increase of purchasing power…
- That’s true; it’s impossible to satisfy any desire; we are going to end up having nothing more than the poor countries.
- Well then, let’s be like them! Let’s be content with reasonable things.
- You know, here as well as over there, everybody wants the same things; a kid will ever ask: “Mom, what are we having for dinner?”
- Our country is on the road to ruin!
- People have no more money?
- Don’t exaggerate on purpose! They get more and more. They never stop storing up. Deposit accounts are overflowing. They no longer know what to do!
- And… what should be…
- Spend, of course! Spend! Stocks are overabundant. What do you think could be done with those goods? They must be consumed.
- You cannot eat more than what you can.
- So, let them be thrown away! People must produce new goods.
- What for, as they are already too many?
- And how do you expect to put them on work, then?
- You got an excellent diploma, and your teachers’ judgment is very good. I congratulate you for having studied in this technical school of leather. I hope you will enjoy our company.
- Thank you. My parents will be quite satisfied. They just helped me a lot during my studies. I wasn’t always brave and preferred to play around with a ball instead of going to school. Fortunately, my father was strict with me, and forbade me to play, pretending I had to study seriously in order to get a good place in society, and be well regarded. What is my job?
- Well, we produce soccer balls…
- We have nothing more to eat. We must leave Africa and go to Europe.
- Impossible. Europe is undergoing a serious economical crisis.
- Including this land the newspaper was talking about?
- Alas! It is the most affected one. Its inhabitants will soon have twice as money in their reserves; they call it savings.
- Twice as money? They are twice as rich then?
- Unfortunately yes!
- Another ranking of companies?
- No, this institute classifies countries, according to economic criteria.
- Ah, all those people self-proclaiming relevant are very irrelevant! It’s up to the IMF to make such analyses.
- Yes, indeed, the IMF is recognized by many more people; although it could be said, if being nasty, that all those who recognize it, also self-proclaim themselves able to recognize the IMF.
- Don’t be delirious, please. All these people amount a very large number of people.
- And what is this number?
- You are impossible! In any case, they are relevant people indeed.
- Brave, brilliant, this famous trainer?
- Rather childish; more than 20 years old and still playing with a ball…
- This trip through your small town was surprising to me. I can’t understand it. Why are you ever driving 100 miles for walking in a garden just like this one in the end?
- I’m certainly not going for a walk just out the front door!
- Lazing once more!
- Don’t be unfair to me. I’m watching TV.
- Watching TV, as usual!
- No; yesterday I was reading, sometimes I’m dreaming…
- Well, do something! Man must work, produce.
- There is just nothing more we need.
- Yes, I know. Hey, take this hammer, break something! Crockery, whatever a thing, a vase.
- Are you joking?...
- No, absolutely not. That way, one would have to make them anew.
- Even if I break them, I won’t make them anew…
- Naturally, you lazy boy; a man fully aware of his duty could certainly be found out…
- Sorry, my hairdresser has held me up a bit.
- They are so garrulous!
- I’ve learnt plenty of things on family companies.
- It’s interesting, particularly because there are a large number of them in Europe. What have you learnt?
- Here we are. These companies have ups and downs; but they can possibly cope. Their members are very close, they seem to be part of a family; that gives them an advantage, but in order to avoid any danger, foreigners would have to be part of their company. In this case it has to be pointed out that their company will not be a family anymore. Their employees know the boss while in a company without a boss, the employees do not know him. These companies own money, but if they miss some, they have to look for it somewhere else. The biggest defect of such companies is that they consist of family members.
- You are making fun of me, your hairdresser talks nonsense!
- It’s not my hairdresser, it’s a book from a Harvard Doctor, a Professor at HEC and in Lausanne, and from a researcher of the University of Lausanne; they published a work in 1996 entitled The Government of the Family Company. They spent two years performing the research.
- Couldn’t you tell it before! Can you lend me this book? I like educating myself in economics. They are known to be very strong at Harvard University.
- Do you remember, when we were living in a cave, millenniums ago? Our children were anguished at watching me fighting against a ferocious animal. They knew that if I were killed…
- What kind of memories you have!
- Do you remember, when we were living in a village, centuries ago? Our children were anguished at watching me fighting against a ferocious enemy. They knew…
- OK, OK, don’t repeat the same thing over and over!
- Look at our children now; here, in front of us. They are anguished at watching their soccer team fighting against…
- This is a good man who has all the skills required for our nation! He is a master, tenacious, skilful, always striving for perfection.
- A violinist, a surgeon rather?
- No, he turns somersaults.
- You are making fun of me, aren’t you?
- Absolutely not: he is a Champion in Gymnastics, newspaper said.
- Coming back from Salzburg?
- Yes, what a beautiful spot! Seldom have I found a more inspiring one.
- I imagine it is not because of the spot…
- No, of course not. But what a great meeting with this visionary…!
- Yes, I can understand. Mozart…
- Well, yes…
- I am speaking of the director.
- So you ended up buying that big car? You ruined yourself!
- Yes, but I cared for her. Right, you know, she deserves an effort that pays you off.
- You are right; quality has to be paid for. By the way, this year, are you going to the Festival…
- You’re joking?
- What do you mean? An aficionado of culture as you are?
- At such a price?
- Do you realize? The three last Mozart symphonies, might be the most beautiful, have never been played in his lifetime! Mozart didn’t even hear them. How lucky we are that they haven’t been lost!
- Did he ask the authorities whether his works deserved to be subsidized in order to survive?
- You are looking down in the mouth!
- Well, you know, my business…
- You have just combed through your operating account?
- Welcome to the real world! More and more taxes: I doubled my profit.
- Doubled! Everything’s fine, then!
- Let’s talk about it! I also doubled my taxes; so, what do I get out of it? Moreover, money has got to be found out, to pay all these taxes. Times are getting harder and harder.
- My turnover is very low.
- Aren’t you exploring?
- All I ever do is exploring, every day; if only customers would come along by themselves!
- It would be magnificent! Moreover, you must be lucky enough to unearth them; you get in touch with a company and you don’t absolutely know whether it will be a good customer or not.
- Fully right! Recently, I had four appointments I waited nothing for. And, what’s more, I fell on a guy who wanted to speak about philosophy; listen to him was the last thing for me to do!
- A new director is in charge at the Cantonal Museum of Photography.
- Where have you read it?
- In the Journal de Genève of the 8th of September 1995; he is going… well, listen: “… maintain and develop the influence of photographers in Switzerland and abroad.”
- Is there an article? Let me see, I’d like to read it.
- All right, here it is.
- Whoa! He’s a “big name”, according to the “Valdese political advisor”. Sure, people for such things must be important. But… how could you read…?
- What’s the matter?
- It is written : “influence of the Museum”, and not…
- Isn’t it the same?
- Still sleeping! We are going to be late for school.
- I have never been greedy to get up early in the morning. I’ve had a beautiful dream this night. I had saved the life of a fairy chased by a magician. To thank me, she said, “In order to remember me, you’ll be given an hour more to live, every year, when cold times come, and day fades into night.” I said to myself, “How lucky! Every year I’ll be able to sleep one hour more!”
- Another tremendous tragedy yesterday!
- Yes, a thousand dead.
- What do you mean, a thousand dead?
- Well, the typhoon…
- Please, if it’s on purpose… An important personality…
- Yes, I know. And his disappearance may have strong repercussions…
- What is revolting is that he’s been murdered. It’s sad, of course, for those you died by the typhoon, nevertheless no one murdered them voluntarily.
- You mean there were given all the means to get safe.
- We saw a land on the brink of disaster. People were wandering about large premises especially built up to give them assistance. Tons of goods, food, and various things had been piled up and were being looked at by distraught people. Out of necessity they were standing in queues of infinite length. Having obtained their part, they presented a piece of paper - doubtless a voucher, I badly saw because of the crowd - to an employee who gave them some money. Then they went out with a kind of documentary evidence on which I could read, “the Supermarket thanks you for your visit”…
- That’s a bit of luck, Spain has been knocked out of the Mundial! Otherwise they’d have been slaughtered.
- Are the French so good?
- Don’t know. But during the match against Paraguay, I heard spectators accuse the adversaries of murder and demand arms to be taken to make them bleed.
- Have you got insane?
- No. They were singing La Marseillaise.
- Hurry! Quick! Someone’s entering the house!
The man rushed out. It is dark over there. The moon lightens the lonely city. A cross road. Nothing coming forth. Oh, a red traffic light! He waits, impatient. Finally, there he is, at his beloved girl’s. He has got the key, he dashes into the house. A gunfire. Too late.
- Is that really the point of your business? Don’t waste your time on such poor things…
- I’ve been told to do so by my teacher, Dad!
- Well, I’m no longer disturbing you, but please, try to do it diligently!
- What you are doing looks pretty tough to me, Antony! At least, I hope you are using it for something?
- No, it’s only for joking!
- What a brave boy! If only you were paid for that…
- Oh, but I am paid… 10,000!
- Oh perfect!… Now I understand better.
- Of course!
- Oh, and you, Mark, what you are doing doesn’t look easier… Is it for joking too?
- Yes, but I am paid too; 10,000!
- Well, in that case, you have really managed very well! And who is paying both of you?
- He is paying me, and I am paying him!
- Are you making fun of me?
Both of them:
- Dad, what is a crisis?
- It occurs when a country has big financial problems; for example, they weren’t careful enough, so they spent too much money.
- Is it serious?
- Of course; the country gets poorer and poorer, and the inhabitants cannot have the means of living anymore.
- Oh, I see! And that’s the reason why they are given money?
- Of course; the friendly countries must help them.
- So, when you are poor, you just need to ask money… I have no more pocket money for this week…
- What, at the beginning of the week! You ought to manage your money a little better!
- You must give me money, Dad; I am in crisis!
- Sir, did you give me such a bad mark just because my homework was off topic?
- Was my writing bad too?
- Your writing was excellent. Nevertheless, it’s not the matter; you are supposed to deal with the subject I give you, not with another.
- Wasn’t I speaking of the war, as you asked for?
- I asked for the dates of the battles, and what army won each battle; you explained the reasons of the war, and its consequences – economical, political… oh, yes! human consequences. It had absolutely nothing to do with the proposed subject of study.
- I forgot to set right my watch on British Summer Time; I was nearly late for school!
- Serves you right! So maybe you’ll understand it’s no use protesting against time change!
- British Summer Time made me get a bad report.
- What do you mean?
- The teacher asked at what time the sun was the highest; I answered two o’clock and six minutes.
- I see, there are two hours more than solar time; you must have answered two o’clock.
- No, the teacher said noon.
- I see… but, incidentally, why six minutes?
- The nutation.
- The… what?
- The nutation; it’s another difference. We are at Brest, and today is the first of June.
- What kind of difference is it? Who’s going to know that?
- That was the teacher’s lesson three months ago.
- This board is decayed! What do you expect I could do with it?
- Keep it for the day you’ll be sinking.
- Why do you always write novels without any action?
- What do you mean, without any action?
- Well, I mean, which are not realistic; all your characters are kind, there isn’t even one nasty guy among them.
- What’s the problem?
- You write things that never occur in one’s lifetime, it is not normal.
- I write a facet of life.
- Come on, shut up! You’d better write a good old detective novel; at least, normal things happen in there. Consider Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot.
- Poirot? Sure, each time he visits someone, he finds a corpse. It happens to anybody.
Listened on holiday.
The rich man to the creator:
- Thieves have no need of men, but of their material goods.
The creator to the rich man:
- Thieves have no need of men, but of the goods from their minds.
Both in chorus:
- Stealing is much more interesting if you murder them, that way you get sure, whatever may be, that you owe them nothing.
At the High School of Art.
In the classroom.
- … the art of this people was fully flourishing between the 18th and the 11th B.C. With the emergence of a new dynasty, began a period of decline, which lasted until the third century A.D. The grace of the potteries, the harmony of the decoration became a cold, a dry soulless imitation...
At the Big Museum of Art.
In a showroom of potteries dating the fifth century B.C. shaped by the people that has just been mentioned.
An art lover, who has come for a cultural journey, addressing another visitor:
- I do not regret my journey. Works of such an antique art! They are extraordinary! It was absolutely necessary to see them. The people of these antique times were real artists!...
- Have you read…
- No, it’s not still available in bookshops.
- You can find it on the Internet.
- On the Internet! I am a human, not a machine!
- What do you mean?
- A book is alive. The paper is sensitive. I can feel its caress with my hand. The ink lightens. The cover decorates it. And the smell… perceptible since you enter an old bookshop.
- If I’ve got it, when you enter an old bookshop, you give a sniff, you go where the smell is the most pregnant, you buy whatever you are looking at, and maybe you read the book.
- I can’t read books but on paper. I refuse to read them on a screen. Moreover, paper has to be pleasant for me, otherwise I can’t read on it.
- All in all, you buy paper, which is pleasant for you. I can deliver you a ream, if you like.
- Why do you listen to music?
- I like it.
- I don’t know.
- Why do you go out for a walk?
- I like it.
- I don’t know.
- Why do you eat?
- I need it for living.
- Why do you live?
- I don’t know.
- The dinner was delicious, that’s really gourmet cooking! Ah! Culinary delights…
- Yes, we all of us are persons of good taste, who appreciate gourmet cooking.
- You are so right! When we were poor, we contented ourselves with anything.
- Well, did you go to this world conference on the poor countries?
- Yes, yes, I returned the last week.
- Why did you all go so far away?
- Oh, it allows you to meet people from an unknown country!
- How did the conference go?
- Very very well! Moreover, we had a banquet… a real gourmet cooking!
- Ah, you brought along your staff with you?
- Oh, only the cooks! For those serving the meal, we took on people from the country.
- Yes, by the way, we gave work to the people of the country; they hardly have to eat over there.
- I’ve written a paper on the instinct of self-preservation.
- The one consisting in the preservation of one’s own rights?
- I am not joking! The point is to preserve one’s life, it is no laughing matter. Listen instead:
A big tire squeal, a violent toot a few meters away from a woman, who was pushing in front of her a baby carriage on the passage reserved for the pedestrians.
- You crazy! the mother shouts.
- It was very careless of you not even to look at whether a car was arriving!
- I had the right to cross! It belonged to you to stop!
- And if, unfortunately, I had killed your baby?
- Well then? You would have been in the wrong!
It is Sunday. A father and his son are walking along near a school. Its door is closed. A car passes the red light in front of the school.
- He is crazy! declares the son; and what if a pupil was crossing…!
- No danger, there is nobody all around, as you can see.
- You always have to stop at the red light, I’ve been told at school.
- And what if the light was green and a pupil was crossing…?
- Ah, in such a case, the car’s driver would be within his rights!
- Were you also told that at school?
- You know Mom, I did without holidays in order to offer you a wheelchair.
- Oh, yes, you know, you did it only to please yourself.
- You are right. All I’ve got left is to thank you for giving me the chance of depriving me of holidays.
- Hello! Are you coming to see my son?
- Yes, we have to revise a history lesson together.
- Unfortunately he is punished; you can't see him.
- Oh, what a pity! What’s the matter?
- He is staying home all Sunday in order to study his math instead of playing with a ball.
- Oh, indeed, it’s not right of him! If he goes on that way, he will never enter a major soccer team!
- John is angry with me and can’t stand me anymore.
- What has he got against you?
- His mother had a cerebrovascular accident. As I couldn’t contact John, I asked after her mother at the hospital the following day.
- You were right! Otherwise, he could have thought you weren’t interested in the least in the deep misfortune which was touching him.
- He told me that I was tactless, and that he didn’t want to see me again!
- What? Ah yes, it's true! In their family, it is not as in ours... You didn’t know them for a very long time, you couldn’t be aware of it.
- It's a pity; I thought I had a friend...
- Everybody explains to me how to behave well, and how not to behave badly; my parents, my teachers, the law itself, the local grocer…
- No, please, the philosophy lesson is just over, let’s talk of something else.
- That’s it! You too are going to tell me what I must say.
- And that will allow you to say that everybody…
- Yes, old man, everyone has a different opinion!
- Well, decide by yourself to do what you think is good or evil!
- I often wondered what I thought of it; I never could answer me.
- Nevertheless the answer is simple; when you play tennis with me, if you win…
- Oh, yes! I know, I behaved badly!
- Come on, get your racket! I gonna try to behave badly!
- I cannot use the landline telephone anymore!
- Is it broken down?
- You can say so.
- How so?
- As soon as I get close to it, it tells me that it is busy.
- Call the complaints.
- Oh, I often did it!
- What did they answer you?
- I’m hanging up in one minute, Dad!
- I see; your daughter is stuck on the phone.
- Buy her a mobile.
- I’ve thought about it many times, but my brother-in-law advised me against it.
- How so?
- She’ll be stuck on the phone.
- I think she’s already stuck, isn’t she?
- She is eight years old.
- I am aware of it.
- He says that I won’t know what she is talking about, nor to whom.
- You don’t even know what she is talking about, nor to whom when she is outside.
- You are right.
A few days later.
- What about this mobile?
- It's done!
- What has your brother-in-law said?
- He asked me if I had bought a mobile for the cat too.
- Very funny! What did you answer him?
- Yes; I told him that the cat was not a trouble, because it only phoned on the landline telephone when we were sleeping!
- Is it your new partner?
- Yes; his name is Moreno, Louis, Paul.
- Do you know him well?
- Oh yes, very well!
- How is he?
- Today, he is thirty five years, six months and three days old; I do not know at what time he was born.
- Too bad!
- He is a specialist of construction of two floors houses with a single slope roof.
- It’s wonderful!
- He is married; he has two children, one of three years, and the other one of two.
- It is very interesting!
- He is Spanish, but he chose the French nationality, as he was born in this country.
- He is OK!
- He hopes that his favorite soccer team will win the championship this year.
- What a perfect man!
- Yes, but in compensation he is afraid that his favorite soccer team will not win the championship this year.
- The poor old man!
- He likes collecting postage stamps very much.
- What excellent information! You, at least, do not talk simply for the sake of talking!
- Thank you! Naturally, I have other information, but you know, you cannot tell all the things in one go. At your disposal if you want to know more about it!
- It is evident.
- Do you think I can trust him?
- Of course! Since you know him so profoundly well, you can trust him with absolute confidence!
- I am sorry, Sir; I couldn’t do my physics homework!
- Why not?
- Our French teacher gave us a very interesting essay on a subject I like particularly.
- Even so, you weren’t exempted of your physics homework.
- I tried to do a well documented study; and I spent much time looking for…
- Then time fails to do the homework I gave you.
- Exactly, Sir.
- That reveals your negligence.
- But my study wouldn’t have been complete…
- You don’t have to choose the subjects you like; you are supposed to do the homework you are given by all your teachers. You are not at school to undertake studies!
- Why are innocents to be punished when somebody is guilty of a fault?
- What are you talking about? It’s the culprits who are punished, not the innocents! If somebody is guilty of a fault, it is they who will be punished!
- Of course, you’re right, they will be punished, but innocents will be punished as well!
- Could you be so extremely kind to explain clearly, just in case it were possible for you, naturally, what you intend to say?
- For example, if the culprit has a friend, the friend will be punished.
- Well, I suppose that the friend has taken an active part in the fault?
- Absolutely not.
- I imagine both friends were together?
- Absolutely not.
- All right, I summoned up my patience!
- The fault committed by one of them occurred the day before, during a match with somebody else.
- I still fail to see.
- He was forbidden to play the following match, the one I am speaking of, thus the friend was deprived of playing the doubles championship with him.
- All right, certainly, it is true; but the friend knew the rules of the game when joining together with his friend, he shared with him all the risks. If the tire of a car bursts, the other tires cannot continue running anymore. All these guys mustn’t have joined together! Besides, it’s not too serious, they will play another championship some day.
- I completely agree with you. Just a remark, however; if a man is sentenced in justice, the other tires are his family...
- What did you do last Sunday?
- Nothing. I went to friends coming back from a long stay abroad.
- Then, why have you said, "Nothing"?
- I’ve said…? It's true, it is what I’ve said... I don’t know why I’ve said that!
- Maybe you were bored?
- On the contrary! We had a very nice day, quiet, without clashes, talking of what was going through our minds...
- They talked about what they had done, about the places where they had been?
- Almost not...
- I think that we rather spoke about the pleasure of meeting us again, the impressions... I think that the dryness of facts, of actions would have embarrassed us.
- I understand. You know, I am thinking of the novels we are used to reading. Often, not always, of course, I feel that impressions embarrass actions.
- Maybe the author did not make friends with his characters.
- The house next to yours looks like a real watchtower; every time I come to see you, the corner of a curtain lifts up!
- Ah, yes, it’s my neighbor! She is rather old, and does not often go out. Then, she likes to observe all what takes place on the square, who comes in, who goes out, who goes to the butcher's...
- What an odd curiosity! It must be annoying to the inhabitants.
- We are used to it; for such a long time...
- What on earth can she do with such observations?
- I imagine that she talks about them to her friends, the ones who are not happy enough to live in a place where a crowd of people passes by, like here.
- She must really have nothing to do... What does she meddle in?
- And your journey in China, how was it?
- Perfect! I observed people, their customs, their activities, it was absolutely fascinating!
- Does your book come out soon?
- I have still to review my notes of the journey. I hope the public will like it!
- No shadow of a doubt! You have already published other novels of the same kind with a complete success.
- What a face!
- It’s terrible! You remember the house I wanted to buy?
- Very well. It was located in the open country, where you intended to retire in peace.
- Well then, did you eventually buy it?
- If only!
- Don’t you like it anymore?
- More than ever!
- I can’t even manage to see it anymore.
- Your glasses?
- Don’t joke! It was built with beautiful old stones of beautiful shades of grey; they have been covered with a fire-new roughcast, a yellow color for scaring off cows!
- Don’t make me laugh! You didn’t want to invite cows at the opening of your house, I suppose?
- Why not? In any case, I can only invite the city lovers now.
- In the open countryside?
- In the open countryside. Well, on a half-hectare around my house.
- And the remaining ground?
- One thousand two hundred hectares of houses around mine.
- One thousand... I understand; houses have been built all around.
- Oh! How did you reach such a conclusion?
- They told you sales talks?
- Not at all! They told me, “It will be quiet, far from the big cities!” It's true, all the inhabitants work far away, and there is absolutely nobody, everything is empty during the day.
- And the evening?
- They sleep.
[To be translated.]
- It is a real work of art! If only you had seen the changement de pied in full flight!
- And what suppleness! What lightness!
- Ah, those artists, how they deserve to be paid a high price!
- Ah, a deep pleasure for mind!...
- Radiant poetry!...
- Incidentally, you are talking of Julie, aren’t you?
- Julie? What do you mean, Julie?
- Why, it was not…?
- Not at all, it’s Albert...
- Yes! Of course it’s Bertie! The center-forward...
- But what are you talking about?
- But… the soccer match of yesterday.
- And you?
- The ballet I saw yesterday.
- Dear viewers! Several works upon the relationships between Rome and the countries of the Mediterranean Basin at the time of the Empire have emerged recently, and raised the interest, not only of scholars, but also of the general public. This evening, for this live program, we have gathered the best specialists of the question, a question which in the past have caused a lot of ink to flow, and of which years of discussion could not exhaust the subject.
Addressing the specialists:
- Dear Sirs, according to the numerous mails our departments have received, the public expressed his impatience to listen to such competent specialists as you are. Thus, each of you is invited to expose his point of view. Given the air time granted to us, each of you will have three minutes for their paper.
- When is your neighbor coming back?
- Probably on Saturday.
- Has he left once more to take care of his poor?
- Yes, as every year, for a week.
- An excellent excuse to travel on the ends of the earth, all inclusive!
- He goes in the field in order to bring the poor what they need.
- A week every year in the field, don’t make me laugh! Really reliable people give all the time they have to what they do. Look at Julian; he is in the field every day, all year long.
- Yes, you’re right, but…
- You can be sure that what he does is well done! Did you see the goal he scored in yesterday soccer match? A historical goal!
- We want to get married.
- You are very young.
- Our parents agree with us.
- Yes… yes…
- What form do we have to fill up?
- How old are you, Miss?
- Thirteen, Sir; we found out about it that, since the age of thirteen, I am allowed to get married.
- Hm, I see…
- Then, what do we have to do?
- Please, Sir?
- Please, Sir?
- Well… You must have come yesterday…
- Why, is the office closed? We can come back again tomorrow.
- Or any other day; not too far ahead… We want so much to get married… we love each other… really.
Another employee came up. He is older, and looks like the head of the office:
- I am sorry, Miss, the law concerning the age of getting married has changed since this morning. You’ll have to wait some time.
- How much time, Sir?
- The age has been fixed at eighteen… you’ll have to wait for five years.
- Why have I to owe anything to my parents? They never did a thing for me, moreover they got rid of me abandoning me when I was born, I don’t even know who they are. I have managed my life all alone, and some people have helped me to become who I am. It is thanks to them and me that I am fully happy now.
- Without your parents, you would never have existed.
- You are right, I wasn’t aware of it.
- Mind the publishers, the libraries, the exhibitions; they do very important things…
- It is true too; nevertheless, as you would have said, without the authors…
- Now we are mellow people; it is time for us to enjoy life. My little factory of parts of armament is going smoothly...
- You make bayonets; why also knives?
- For close combat, of course! What a question!
- You know I am always asking me questions.
- Yes, all of them as bizarre as possible; why does the Moon turn around the Earth...
- You’re right! Why clouds go here and there, why flowers exist, why we make babies...
- Oh, for the babies, somebody has to use the weapons I produce!
- You didn’t come last Sunday, did you?
- I spent the day selling.
- Selling! Are you a seller now? You have earned plenty of money, I hope?
- Yes, but it isn’t for me.
- If I know you, it was a rummage sale?
- Yes; the poor lack of so many things…
- It’s true; it’s very honorable to come to the aid of the poor.
- Yes, yes, you are right both of you. But I know a painter who has not enough money to buy colors…
- Your painter must not be very famous!
- He might be so one day, it has already happened, hasn’t it?
- Look! If we were to come to aid to all the artists, there would be plenty of them to be aided, don’t you think so?
- Moreover, how to choose the ones who deserve it?
- You are right again both of you. There are far fewer poor than artists in need. Moreover, it’s much easier to choose the poor who deserve it.
- Hello, cousin! Back from the countryside?
- As you can see, I’ve just arrived in Paris!
- Happy to see you again! How's high school going?
- The same daily round! What about you, you changed institution?
- Do you enjoy it?
- Friendly! And a strange guy.
- How so?
- He spends all his time sleeping...
- A dunce?
- Not at all! Top in math and physics... in a nutshell, good at everything!
- He must be the kind of guy who works without being known.
- It’s obvious. But that is not the reason why he is strange. From time to time, he wakes up and makes a big statement about what we must do.
- You mean about math, for instance.
- Not at all! About moral philosophy.
- Indeed? About philosophy? Is he good?
- He gets good marks. Nevertheless, according to what the teacher says at school, he writes very common things… much culture…
- Then? When he speaks to us, he tells us that we must do all what he orders, otherwise, we’ve got to get a lot of tragedy.
- He orders you?
- Well, it’s what he pretends. But as he immediately falls asleep and doesn’t take care of us anymore…
- It’s curious… And what kind of orders does he give you?
- Generally, truisms, everyone knows and agrees with, more or less.
- So it is not very difficult to obey him.
- No, yet there is a condition; you must tell him that you do it only because he ordered us to do so, and because we are sure he is right.
- What an odd guy! Well, if he doesn’t bother you far more…
- No, no; our philosophy teacher takes care of that. Mind the bad marks!
- Ah, I see that there are well-advised people in your residence!
- Thank you; but how did you notice it?
- You installed a speed bump in the entrance of the courtyard to force cars to slow down.
- You did tremendously well! People are crazy; they drive at insane speed, without taking care of pedestrians!
- Consider however that before the courtyard and the speed bump, there is a barrier you have to open.
- Yes, I saw it. But I know them very well! They rush forward as soon as the barrier gets open, barge into the courtyard if nothing prevents them from it! Good thing you put the speed bump!
- You know, the barrier is just three meters from the speed bump.
- Never mind, you did well! You are never too careful!
- Your aunt was not very satisfied with her visit of the castle...
- Didn’t she like it? Nevertheless, she liked it very much on photos.
- Yes, but photos have no staircase!
- What do you mean, no staircase?
- Yes; the castle has one.
- I know; I already went there. By the way, this staircase is very beautiful!
- Yes; but it is very high, and walking results very difficult for my aunt, she cannot go up the stairs.
- I see. However, it really seems to me that there is an elevator.
- Wasn’t it working?
- It was working.
- Well, I don’t understand a thing anymore.
- On the door of the elevator, there was a sign: “Disabled access”.
- Wasn’t that all right?
- Not the way you think! As you are well aware, in order to arrive at the castle, you have to cross the entire park, which must be five hundred meters; and the sign adds: “Take the key of the elevator at the attendant, at the entrance of the park”.
- Show me your pants, Miss.
- How do you dare, Madam?...
- I am in charge of verifying if your pants are in compliance with the precise instructions stipulated by the regulation concerning the employees of our bank.
- Here is your plane ticket, Sir.
- Thank you, Miss.
The engineer contemplates the ticket:
- But this plane has already exploded three times and nobody has ever understood why!
- The manager said that it was urgent, and the next plane is leaving too late.
- I see.
NEXT EXIT OF THE HIGHWAY IN FIVE MINUTES
The second sign, two hundred meters farther:
NEXT EXIT OF THE HIGHWAY CLOSED
The border runs in the middle of the street in the little village. He lives on one side, she lives on the other one, the house opposite. He is eighteen years old, he is major; she is seventeen years old, she is minor. They have embraced and are kissing each other, for a long time.
“Be careful! If you cross the street, the boy will go to jail for ten years for sexual assault on a minor!”
- I have never met such an inflexible man as he is upon morality. What is in accordance with the law is good, what is against the law is evil.
- And what if the law changes?
Mary, a young fabric sales rep, has just got a big market, and in order to celebrate her victory, she leaves her apartment in town and returns to the country to visit her dear grandmother for a few days.
“Three o'clock in the morning! Does a girl come back home at such hour! Now on, it would be more acceptable to come home before midnight!”
- Hey, I finally understood why humans want to go for a walk and travel to the ends of the earth!
- Oh, very interesting! Why?
- Animals travel too, and moreover travel ceaselessly, whether next to them or far off. I noticed that every time, they looked for food to survive.
- Well, humans do the same! They go on looking for food; but the problem is that they have forgotten they are not hungry anymore!
- It’s intolerable! My son doesn’t want to do a thing at school, he prefers to spend his time walking around.
- Oh, it’s like mine! And moreover, he answers me that as soon as I can, I am going on holiday!
- That’s all the same to me! But holidays do not prevent us from being passionate about our work at the office.
- Yes, yes, but let’s not go too far! What would we do if we won hundred billions on the lottery?
- I have seen an excellent movie, yesterday!
- Go on, tell me!
- It shows that you always must remain yourself, without trying to change... A girl wanted to become more beautiful, but the boy who was in love with her did not recognize her anymore and turned away from her. She quickly took back again her genuine look! Which proves that it is better to be ugly than beautiful.
- They have just got to make a film in which the girl will attempt to be ugly.
- Or else, a film in which the girl will look for another boy.
- The shame of it! Yesterday, I saw a guy down in the street who was delighting in looking at girls through the window of a dancing class...
- And, obviously, without paying? You are right, it’s a shame!
- Who’s speaking of paying?
- Why? Don’t you pay your tickets for the ballet you are going to see tomorrow?
- Aren’t you ashamed? Walk around with such a short skirt!
- You are right, I am going to take it off!
- Have you got insane?
- Why? I am taking off my skirt, not my swimsuit!
- You have been twisting your neck for half an hour under the funfair swings to look under the girls’ skirts!
- You are right, I shouldn’t; at the Opera, we are settled ourselves into our seats much better to look under the tutus of the dancers, and it lasts longer.
“You twisted your foot by getting off the train? You should have paid attention, there is black ice on the platform! Nevertheless we had warned you; there is a big sign at the exit of the station.”
Complement to the order of February 16th, 1859, establishing a “normal tuning fork” in the country of France.
Art. 1st - Music composers will be willing to put themselves in accordance with the forgoing order.
Art. 2 - As an example, Mr Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will be asked to rewrite the Overture of its opera Don Giovanni in C-sharp minor, instead of D minor, to ensure compliance with the “normal tuning fork” in 435 vibrations per second used in our country, giving up that of 415 vibrations per second that he has considered to be permitted to use. Failing which, the performance of his opera will be forbidden on all public stages in France. It ensues from it that the various airs of this opera written in other tones must be rewritten into the same scale.
- Is your work going well?
- Perfectly! Oh, the boss of my company is abominable, but I have an excellent salary!
- Aren’t you married with your friend yet?
- I thought you were in love with him?
- Yes, I am, but I don’t want to depend on the money of a man.
- You prefer to depend on the money of a man you consider abominable, rather than on the money of a man you love?
- It is not the same. To earn this money at my boss’, I work. You stay at home, you do not work.
- Do you think that running the house, bringing up four children, and taking care of your husband are not work?
- Ah, if you knew!...
- You are as red as a beetroot!
- I saw him yesterday... He is... You don’t know!
- You are in love!...
- Oh, yes! Oh, yes! We’ve had a wonderful time yesterday, which I’ll never forget, how wonderful!
Jacky boy, nine years old, enters the living room:
- I know, I know! You went to the Summer Department stores!
- What are you talking about?
- I heard it on TV! Come and have a wonderful time! Discounts of five percent on all our goods!
- Are you still seeing him?
- No; he got angry against me.
- Oh! He gave you back this rare book you have cared so much for? You are lucky!
- He was longing for it, I gave it to him along with my friendship. He returned me the book.
- Excuse me Sir, I am living in this house on the fifth floor. Would you be so kind to accompany me in the elevator?
- Well... Certainly Miss... Do you have a problem?
- Oh no, not at all, Sir! But the elevator is forbidden to unaccompanied children.
- Well... Certainly Miss... But may I ask you how old you are?
- Seventeen years Sir.
- Seventeen years!
- Yes Sir; the law asserts that I am a child until eighteen years. You know, my parents brought me up in the respect for the law, Sir.
- I can’t get through of it! Thirty programs for the lever of TV and video recorder, fifteen programs for the washing machine, I do not even know how many more programs for my computer, forty-five pages of instructions for use here, forty there...
- It's true, all is really getting too much complicated! Specialized courses will urgently have to be programmed at school.
- On the other hand it will not be necessary to have an examination at the end of year.
- Well, with the issue of new models, the examination will have passed the expiration date!
- Where are you going on holidays this summer?
- In France.
- What! You are staying here?
- Yes, why?
- You know, in Turkey, there are beaches, the sea...
- France is surrounded with beaches.
- 27 million people go to Turkey every year; doesn’t it prove something?
- You are right; in France they are only 74 million.
About thirty castaways end up on a desert island. Only one among them is capable of building a boat. He builds it.
He asks for a particular favor. They answer him:
- All men are equal, you will get nothing more than the others.
- I have built the boat which will save you.
- It is quite right, everyone manages according to their means, you will get nothing more than the others.
The next day, the castaways found neither boat, nor builder.
- Won’t you give me five hundred euros, I am a little short at the moment?
- Here they are, I will gladly lend them to you.
- No, no, I told you to “give”, not to “lend” them to me.
- Why do you want me to give them to you?
- Ten years ago, John was a little short, he had asked me to give him five hundred euros; I gave them to him.
- Excuse me, but I don’t see the connection. You ought to ask them to him.
- You know, he is less rich than you are.
- You are a bother! I agree with giving you anything you want, but don’t pop up with such silly reasons!
- All right, all right, keep safe your five hundred euros, besides I don’t need them.
- What nonsense are you talking of?
- Forget it... By the way, have you got your pension?
- … What does that have to do with anything?
- The pension you get, is also a donation, which people of today make to you.
The employee to the beggar:
- You don’t work, and you are asking for charity! I have my salary, and I content myself with it; do as I do, content yourself with what you have!
The boss to the employee:
- You are asking for another pay increase! I have my business, and I content myself with it; do as I do, content yourself with what you have!
The billionaire to the boss:
- You are asking for money to expand your business! I have so much money as I want, and I content myself with it; do as I do, content yourself with what you have!
God to the billionaire:
- You are asking me for good health! I have eternal life, and I content myself with it; do as I do, content yourself with what you have!
- It’s almost noon, how hot, it’s stifling! I hope you are going back home?
- No, I am going to plough my field.
- By my watch, it’s already 2:00 PM, evening is coming soon.
- Please, make an effort!
- I cannot do better than what I can!
- Surpass yourself!
- Yes, yes; and by dint of surpassing yourself, you eventually lose sight of yourself.
- Good accounts make bad friends.
- Good friends, you mean.
- Oh, sorry, my head is going round! Bad accounts make good friends.
- Oh, you! Always joking!
- If you want to win a car race, you have to go as fast as possible.
- Is that all what you intend to teach me?
- No, not only; be the most careful possible, your life depends on it.
- Better and better! Isn’t it, incidentally, a bit contradictory?
- Then, they must be crazy!
- Or silly; but if they don’t die, they become very rich.
T H E E N D
Unter Vorbehalt aller Rechte 2000