A few nights ago, I was in the mood for playing a relaxing game of backgammon on the Internet, the game I learned from masters in my childhood. There are a few advantages in playing backgammon on the Internet. Cheating is impossible and Korkory (bragging) is optional.
As soon as I opened a table, a player beeped and the game started. Right at the very beginning, my opponent raised the stakes and challenged me to do so. I doubled only when I was ahead.
What you are about to read is based on actual comments communicated between us.
In the middle of the game, he opened where he shouldn’t have (Lat daad). And sure enough I hit him.
He wrote: NR (Which means nice role.)
I didn’t reply as I sensed the sarcasm in his message.
A few minutes later, he commented: Can you possibly play slower than this?
I didn’t respond to this remark either because I am a civilized Iranian who lives peacefully in America. I just wanted to have fun.
When I got far ahead in the game, I doubled the points and surprisingly enough he accepted and offered a double out of spite.
Then he wrote: You are a chicken.
This message made me wonder. How could he possibly know what kind of bird I was? Why a chicken and not a rooster for example? The contents of his messages so far and his wrong assumptions convinced me that my opponent was an uncultured individual, one who I could not possibly relate to.
Another message came: I’m going to kick your a$$.
Once again, I kept my calm and let him kick my Dollar signs!
Then I rolled a nice shish o besh (six and five) and covered two of my lats and blocked him in (shish daresh kardam). Evidently, as koon shaance ovordam (literary means “I pulled luck out of my ass”). Please note that only we Iranians are capable of pulling luck out of our ass! We must admit this is one of our unique cultural advantages.
I raised the stakes once again. And this simple lucky roll of dice sparked a clash of civilizations.
He immediately wrote: F#%& you.
I didn’t understand this message but I had a feeling it could not mean anything good.
I wrote: Khafeh sho, (loosely translated as “Shut up”. “Khafeh sho” is a more drastic measure than “Shut up”. One can shut up and still breath and have a normal life but a “khafeh shodeh” person cannot breath because all major air passages are blocked intentionally to achieve suffocation. The victim in this case will permanently shut up! We may logically conclude that “Shut up” is an insult and “Khafeh sho” is a criminal threat).
He wrote: I don’t understand.
I wrote: Be bayzeye chape asbe hazrat abbas keh nafahmidi (Which literary means “To the left testicle of the disciple Abbas’ horse that you didn’t understand.” For the sake of brevity, I won’t further explore the significance of the left testicle in the male anatomy or the historical roots of this sweet Persian expression.)
He wrote: What an exotic language. Are you from Eastern Europe?
I didn’t respond, as I was preoccupied with my joft shish (double six).
He continued: Female?
Now he was hitting on me too! But I just wanted to be left alone and enjoy the game.
I responded: Chi gofti?
He wrote: It must be Hebrew.
I wrote: Nagoftam khafeh sho? (Didn’t I tell you to shut up?) I was trying to avoid a confrontation.
He wrote: My name is Dick.
I wrote: Akhe, Dick ham shod esm folan folan shode? (You call “Dick” a name?)
Unfortunately, explaining the “folan folan shodeh” segment of this ancient curse for non-native speakers is a very challenging task. This truly fascinating Persian curse is the most polite way of calling someone the worse names you can ever imagine.
This is a very user friendly and lethal Persian curse. There are two “folan”s in this curse. The first “folan” may be replaced by a person’s name that you want to insult and the second “folan” is replaced by a bizarre sexual act you wish to perform on that person.
Iranians, who speak Farsi proficiently, may upgrade this curse by adding two more “folan”s to achieve a higher level of insult. The enhanced version of this curse allows you to insult anyone around the world along with his family and the city he came from. It insults up to six generations in one shot. The global reach of this curse is astonishing.
Yes, our Iranian culture is complicated and we can be so creative when it comes to cursing. It must be a result of our long painful history. However, if you are not an experienced Farsi speaker, please do not try this at home or consult with your father first.
Regrettably, because of our cultural differences, my opponent did not properly absorb my comments. “DICK” was the only word in my message that he understood!
He then joyfully wrote back: Yes, Yes I am D I C K.
I thought: Shaitoone migeh yek cheeze koloft baaresh kon taa haalesh jaa beyaad. (“The devil is advising me to load him with a big one to make him feel better.” However I refrained, as it was a devilish thought.)
Then he said: ENGLISH. YOU MUST SPEAK ENGLISH.
Now he was yelling at me. Besides, if I didn’t know any English, writing in capital letters wouldn’t help me understand. Would it?
I politely responded: Be koon laghet khandidi. (“You laughed at your own wobbly ass.”)
Unfortunately, the history and the cultural origin of this beautiful slang are unknown to this writer. “Kiss my Ass” might be considered an English equivalent of this expression but I like our version better for obvious reason. He could easily laugh at his own ass in the comfort of his home versus kissing mine on the Internet.
He then wrote: You are not assimilated.
This comment reminded me of the two American think tanks — Fukuyama and Huntington — who have emphasized the same issue for a long time. They believe that all immigrants must get assimilated otherwise they are potential threats to American society.
Although we exchanged so many cultural notes, obviously he had a long way to go to understand our culture. We could easily relate based on our common interest on the Internet, but DICK was not willing to try. So I had no choice but to “assimilate”.
When I beat him in the game, I sent the final message in a language he could understand. I wrote,
“Now, you are officially F#%&ed.”
Subscribe to The Iranian newsletter
Sign up for our daily newsletter to get the top news stories delivered to your inbox.