I’ve been following Hernán Casciari’s blog, Orsai, on and off for almost 10 years. Hernán is an Argentinian writer and journalist that lives in Barcelona, well, really Sant Celoni. He created an award-winning blog novel (or is it a novel blog?) that even got staged in Buenos Aires. In 2010, he kissed goodbye to all the newspapers and publishing houses he was working for and created his own «publishing house» by a sort of crowd-funding method (you can watch him explaining this himself in a TED talk here, with English subtitles).
But, in this post, I don’t want to discuss why I follow Hernán’s blog, why I find what he does interesting and fun, or to do an analysis, description or critique of his work. I want to share with my English-speaking friends a translation into English of the first post I read in his blog, «La verdadera edad de los países», and the one that converted me to casciarism.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and if you have corrections feel free to share them so we can improve the translation.
The true age of countries
By Hernán Casciari
A clever reader commented on my article España, decí alpiste [Spain, you snooze you lose], that Argentina is not better or worse than Spain, only younger. I liked that theory so I made up a game to discover the age of countries based on the dog system. We were told when we were children that to know a dog’s real age we only had to multiply its biological age times 7. Then, with countries, I thought, we only had to divide its age by 14 to find out the human age equivalent.
Confusing? Not to worry, in this article I give some revealing examples.
Argentina was born in 1816. It is one hundred and eighty-nine years old. If we divide this by 14, Argentina is thirteen years and four months old. In other words, Argentina is at an awkward age: a forgetful, rebellious wanker that answers without thinking and has balls. That’s why it is renowned for having one of the best football teams in the world.
Almost all the countries in Latin America have the same age, and as it happens often in these cases, they get into gangs. The Mercosur gang is formed by four adolescents that have a rock band. They rehearse in a garage making a lot of noise but having never released an album. Venezuela, with her incipient breasts, is about to join the band to do vocals when in fact, she wants to have sex with Brazil, a guy of fourteen with a big cock. Oh, dear, so young. One day they’ll grow up.
Mexico is also a teenager but with Indian heritage. That’s the reason why he seldom smiles and only smokes peyote, and not a harmless joint like the rest of his pals. He hangs out with the United States, a seventeen-year-old retarded boy who spends his time killing hungry six-year-olds from other continents.
On the other side of things, there is ancient China, for example: if we divide its 1200 years by 14, we have and old woman of around eighty-five, conservative, that smells of cat pee and spends her days eating rice because she is too poor to buy false teeth. She divorced Japan ages ago but has an eight-year-old grandson, Taiwan, who renders her life impossible. Japan, a cantankerous old man who can still have a hard-on, is living with the Philippines, a young twat always willing to do any aberration for money.
Then there are those countries that have just come of age and they go round driving their fathers’ BMWs. Take for example, Australia and Canada. They are the typical countries that grow up protected by daddy England and mummy France, with a very posh and strict education, and now they behave like mad. Australia is an eighteen-year-old chick that does topless and has sex with South Africa; Canada is an emancipated gay man who will soon adopt little Greenland and form one of those alternative families that are so in vogue.
France is a separated thirty-six-year-old woman. She will fuck anything that moves but she is very much respected professionally. Germany, a rich lorry driver married to Austria, is her occasional lover. Although, Austria knows she is being cheated on she doesn’t care. France has a six-year-old son, Monaco, on his way to becoming gay or a dancer, or both.
Italy has been a widow for a long time. She spends her time minding San Marino and the Vatican, two catholic twins identical to the Flanders. Italy was married for the second time to Germany (a short-lived marriage: they had Switzerland) but now she couldn’t care less about men. Italy would like to be like Belgium, a lawyer, independent, that wears trousers and discusses politics with men as an equal. (Also sometimes Belgium has wild fantasies about cooking spaghetti).
Spain is the most beautiful woman in Europe (maybe France could compete, but loses on spontaneity, too much perfume). Spain walks around topless a lot and she is invariably drunk. Usually, she has sex with England but then she reports abuse. Spain has children everywhere (almost all of them are thirteen years old) living far away from home. She loves them dearly but she is annoyed when her children, sometimes hungry, spend time with her and open the fridge.
The other one that has children scattered everywhere is England. Great Britain sails at night, screws young women, and nine months later an island appears somewhere in the world. But England doesn’t wash his hands: the islands might live with their mothers, but England supports them. Scotland and Ireland, England’s brothers that live upstairs, are always drunk and they can hardly play football. They only bring shame to the family.
Sweden and Norway are two thirty-nine-year-old (almost forty) lesbians in great shape for their age but that wouldn’t give a toss about anybody. They have sex and work: with a degree in something or other. Sometimes they do a threesome with Holland (when in need of dope), and sometimes they flirt with Finland, a thirty-year-old guy, a bit of an androgen that lives in an attic without furniture and spends hours talking with Korea on the mobile.
Korea (the one in the South) constantly looks after her mad sister. They are twins, but the one in the North drank amniotic fluid at birth and is disabled. She spent her childhood playing with guns and now, living by herself, she can be unpredictable. United States, the seventeen-year-old retarded, keeps an eye on her, not because he is afraid but because he wants her guns.
Israel is a sixty-two-year-old intellectual with a shitty life. Many years ago, the lorry driver, Germany (that used to drive around roads while Austria was sucking him off) didn’t see Israel crossing and ran over him. From that day on, Israel became enraged and now, instead of reading books, he spends his time throwing stones at Palestine, a girl washing clothes in the house next door.
Iran and Iraq were sixteen-year-old cousins that stole motorbikes and sold their parts until one day they stole a replacement part from the United States and the business went bust. They are sitting around with their fingers up their asses.
The world was fine as it was. One day, however, Russia started living (out-of-wedlock) with Perestroika and they had a dozen and a half children. All strange, some morons, others just schizoids.
One week ago, and due to a mess that involved gunshots and dead citizens, we, the earnest people in the world, discover that there is a country called Kabardino-Balkaria. A country with a flag, president, national anthem, flora, fauna and even inhabitants!
To be honest, I’m a bit afraid that young countries spring out like that, so suddenly. We find out about their existence inadvertently and we are forced to pretend we know, not to look ignorant. I wonder why new countries are born if the ones already there aren’t behaving properly at all.