Linguistic Blunders: Car Gods

Sometimes, my worst linguistic confusions come, not from Mozambicans, but from my fellow English-speakers. 

I was chatting with a South African couple when one of them casually mentioned the existence of 'car gods'.

"Of what?"

"You know, car gods."

Of course, of course. Who doesn't know about car gods? Just one dumb American, obviously. They were so off-hand about this (to me) novel form of idolatry that I was embarrassed to inquire further. So I faked comprehension and let them continue with their story.

But my mind stuck on the subject of car gods and ruminated there for several days. I conjured a mental image: small, portable, probably gold-plated. Something like a beneficently grinning Buddha to sit on the dashboard of an unattended car and charm the thoughts of all passers-by away from would-be theft. Or maybe, the idea was to leave the window down so that thieves would steal the golden idol instead of messing with the car. In that case, brass was probably a better option than gold. Less expensive. More readily replaceable. And still quite eye-catching.

Were there stores? Safety Saturday, 40% off. Buy your car god here.

How did Christians respond to this?

It wasn't until a trip to Shoprite, when one of the inevitable boys came up and offered to guard our car, that the pieces of my mental jigsaw fell into place. My glittering images of brassy idols and car god sales dissolved into the reality of 5 met coins and the illusion of security. And the fact that South Africans aren't really into pronouncing their 'r's. 

Comments

  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    :D :D :D :D :D

    Yep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes my imagination is a strange, strange place.

      Delete
  2. Did you see that I nominated you for several awards Janie?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sure did. I typed out my responses, and then the internet went ballistic and the post didn't get saved. So I'll have to start over again when I have time.

      Delete

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