“I know all those words, but that sentence makes no sense to me” – Matt Groening


One of the most unfortunate facts about conversations is that they require a minimum of 2 participants. Ideally both these people will speak the same language. Over the years I’ve learnt there is no way to guarantee a meaningful conversation. There is however a way to guarantee an incoherent conversation and that is talking to Saudi-based colleagues.

“I think there’s an error in the brief you’ve sent me. It says the product removes stress from your hair”
“Yes dear that is correct”
“Oh. Can you perhaps explain what that means?”
“Dear it means taking the tension out of your hair”

Personally I regard my hair’s refusal to cooperate as a source of stress for the rest of me. While most people tease their hair, I firmly believe that mine teases me. My hair has zero reasons to be stressed and I’d imagine most people don’t believe their hair is stressed either.

I digress. Usually when I have trouble comprehending the English version of a brief I turn to an Arabic speaker at my office for help. Thus I’ve learned that akwatickbark actually means aqua park, bedkir means pedicure and keck means cake.

So in order to get to the root of the hair stress dilemma, I consulted an Arabic speaker with excellent English.
“Does removing stress from your hair sound like something that could have been literally translated?”
“Wait, isn’t hair already dead?”
“It must’ve died from the stress”