In Uncategorized on 110805 at 1905

At work I see my funny comrade from the Ukraine rifling through the shelving. I ask, “whatcha lookin for?” and he blurts a harsh syllable soundling like ((SHLOMM)).

Many machines whirr and creak from motors running the bioreactors in our cell cultivation laboratory, and anyway my hearing’s going from listening to too much electric drone on headphones, so I coax him to repeat the word, and under his guttural accent, it’s still unclear.

He provides me with his typical scowling countenance, astounded that smart Americans can be so stupid. “Everyone in zee warld knows zis word. Come on, shlonn.” I approach close so I can hear the full enunciation. It’s unmistakable now, ends in “N”. Shlonn.

I scratch my beard, never heard it.

“Eez in Russian, in Ukranian, in Macedonian, in Greek, but only Eenglish doesn’t have zis word!”

I ask him, “is it… uh…. something inappropriate?”, and earn myself another astounding convergence of his eyebrows.

He quips, “come on, any word can be dirty word!”

But then his eyes clack and Sergey smiles at me, amused, and says, “But iz usually jossed a piece of schlong,” and smirks back into the box he had pulled off the shelf, ruddy as he rejects a length of tube to be too wide to suit his experiment’s needs.


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