French GP: Viva La France
or; Cha Cha Chitwood and the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew arrive in France with bad jokes, better apologies, and a mention of the war
Article is written by and copyright (c) 1999 Jeff Rose,
humour by Inky Black
The BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew had been racing in Europe for months now. In that time they'd learned a bit of the local lingo. They learned that Melbourne and Interlagos were not on the "continent." And they learned much about Formula One Racing. But they hadn't learned how to get along with the French.
Well, some of the French. Actually a few French people, usually from Paris or another other big-city. You know the kind, sort of a cross between some fancy-pants gourmet; an old, drunk porcupine; and a New Yorker. For those of you who have never met an old, drunk porcupine, they are kind of like a New Yorker, but probably not as spiny.
"Zee French, zay can only speak zee English when zay need to borrow zum-zing," said Cha Cha with a bad accent and a worse list. Yes, she had a list of insults to the French, and she tacked it up on pit lane for all to see. When Alain Prost read the list, he got so mad he couldn't speak English. He fumed and fumed in Francais, as the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew basked in the irony of the moment.
"Leetle Pierre," a small guy with a big accent, stepped up to calm down the chief of the Prost Team. He took the list and sent Alain back to his pit. Little Pierre would take care of this. The list read as follows:
Prost Team Slogans
"Driving zee baguette!" announced Little Pierre, "pretty funny, heh heh... and zee poodle poop, well, maybe eez true..."
- Mon Dieu! We've been driving a baguette!
- Our cars are Bleu and so did the engine!
- We're French, and that makes us direct descendants of God!
- If they served better champagne we'd be on the podium!
- Our team stinks because we have too much poodle poop in our pit!
- Our car is way in back because we've got too much poodle poop on the pedals!
- We're so far back... if this turns into Dunkerque we will be in the Lead!
"But Dunkerque... ladies, we must talk," Pierre said softly, and he motioned the pit crew to a table nearby.
"History isn't always fair... sometimes it creates myth." He started slowly, and in a way that showed he was going to go on for a bit.
"Dunkerque... and Maginot... and more. About the French, let me show you something new. In a tough spot they were, and maybe they did alright.
First, Maginot. It is myth. The line was not important. Staffed by older and reserve units, it was not the centerpiece of any defense. And was never meant to be.
Dunkerque... well, the center of strength was north of Paris. Fine troops and well-equipped. The mistake, maybe, was not defense or the Maginot line. The mistake, possibly, was offense. They moved forward right away when the low countries were hit. Maybe it was too soon. Check the old maps.
It was then that some fellow named Rommel charged from down south through to the sea. An insane gamble from a crazy government. Beyond bold, it shocked an unready France and an unready world. The move out-flanked the armies up north, and Paris to the south. It led to the loss of France and the "miracle of Dunkerque."
The more he spoke, the more Pierre's French accent disappeared. It began to sound suspiciously familiar. A "leetle" obnoxious and prickly.
"That's just the way the war started, that's all," Pierre continued. "Britain and France jumped in when Poland was attacked. That was courage. Courage, something that was shown by most everybody from all the democracies. From Dunkerque to around the world, and back to Normandy and beyond.
"The French were right next door. They jumped into that title fight and got knocked out in a "New York minute." But they jumped in, that's what's counts. And they did alright. Who coulda took dat haymaker?"
"What's going on here?" asked Cha Cha, as she slid Pierre's beret back a little, and looked into his eyes. "Where are you from?"
Quietly, Pierre admitted that he was not French. He was a veteran. Originally from New York City, he had remained in Paris. He adopted "Leetle Pierre," the French persona because... "You know how the Parisiennes can be...
...they can be a lot like New Yorkers!"
His other Travel and Humour Articles
can be found at Aloha from the Nervous Nineties.