How to tell if you're Xliponian
If you're Xliponian...
- You believe it is a blessing to live in one of the countries less affected by wars or revolutions of any kind, which is due probably to God, and certainly to your country's strategic position, powerful friends and shrewd politicians.
- You tend not to remember the Mapukra, except when they don't let you forget.
- You know how football, rugby, basketball and bowling are played. You can argue intricate points about their rules. On the other hand (and unless you're over 40), you don't care much for games played on a table, which includes billiards, chess and cards.
- You count yourself unfortunate if you get less than three weeks of vacation a year.
If you died tonight...
- You're fairly likely to believe in God; if not, you've certainly been approached by people of various religions asking whether you know that you should care about going to Heaven.
- You think of popcorn, street-corner sandwiches, falafel, gyros etc. as cheap food. Varhimmi (sausages), on the other hand, are a matter of national, most often regional, pride. You wash them down with ahubiça (distilled, high-ethanol) or beer. Pizza, which you spell with a ç, is the second national dish, and comes in uncountable varieties.
- You own a telephone and a TV. Your place is heated in the winter and has its own bathroom. You do your laundry in a machine. You don't kill your own food. You don't have a dirt floor. You eat at a table, sitting on chairs.
- You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food.
- A bathroom may not have a bathtub in it, but it certainly has a toilet. Showers are much more practical than tubs anyway.
- It seems natural to you that the telephone system, railroads, auto manufacturers, airlines, and power companies are privately run; indeed, you can hardly picture things working differently.
- You expect, as a matter of course, that the phones will work. Getting a new phone is routine.
- The train system, by contrast, isn't very good. Trains are often late; you're better off taking an airship, but only if you're travelling abroad.
- You find a system based on two large parties and several small ones natural. You expect the politicians of both main parties to be responsive to business, strong on defence, and concerned with the middle class. You find republics inefficient because they tend to glorify the president overmuch and are prone to ridiculous filigrees in the power structure.
- You don't expect to hear orthodox nationalism seriously defended in these post-SNOR days.
- "Black" and "white" are no races to you. You're too much used to people of all shades of skin colour, whether they are your country(wo)men or not.
- You think most problems could be solved if only people would put aside their prejudices and work together.
- You take a strong court system for granted, even if you don't use it. You know that if you went into business and had trouble with a customer, partner, or supplier, you could take him or her to court. The only problem would be the lawyers.
- You respect someone who speaks Brithenig, French, German, Japanese, Russian or Wenedyk - but you very likely don't speak them well enough yourself to communicate with a monolingual foreigner. You learned English at school, of course. You're able to get by in very colloquial Greek, Italian or Dalmatian (depending on where you come from); you think the schools should teach kids good Xliponian at the very least.
- You think a tax level of 30% is scandalously high.
- School is free through 13th grade (at least, it's an option, even if you went to private school); universities aren't, unless you get a scholarship.
- University study is (normally, and excluding post-graduate courses) five years long.
Everybody knows that...
- Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in tubes. Milk comes in cardboard boxes, and bottled milk is remembered by some from childhood - except in rural areas, where it is the norm.
- Dates are normally day/month/year (30/04/72), except in scientific notation (1972-04-30) - and you know what happened on that date.
- The decimal point is a dot.
- A billion is a million millions.
- The Second Great War was a time when the country came together and did what was right: defending its borders and taking in innocent refugees. Most of those who lived through the war still remember their role with pride.
- You expect marriages to be made for love, not arranged by third parties. Getting married by a judge is an option, but not a requirement; most marriages - if formalised at all - happen in religious institutions and are confirmed by the state. You have a best man and a maid or matron of honour at the wedding - a friend or a sibling. And, naturally, a man gets only one wife at a time.
- If a man has sex with another man, he's a homosexual.
- Once you're introduced to someone (besides the King, the Prime Minister and other lofty figures), you can call him or her by his or her first name.
- If you're a woman, you don't normally go to the beach topless. But the sight is not uncommon on the Ionian coast.
- A hotel room has a private bath.
- You'd rather have a film be subtitled than dubbed.
- You seriously expect to be able to transact business, or deal with the government, without paying bribes.
- If a politician has been cheating on his wife, you would question his ability to govern.
- Just about any store will take your credit card.
- A company can fire just about anybody it wants, unless it discriminates by doing so.
- You like your varhimmi boiled and with mustard (unless, of course, you prefer them grilled or fried, with applesauce, potatoes, horseradish or haraim (that's cabbage to everyone else)).
- Labour Day is on the First of May.
- You've probably seen War in the Heavens, Casablanca and Snow White (and others by Ditzenø). If you're under forty, add Amalia of Castreleon, Gigantic! and Kawars; otherwise, add all movies of Jaunge Blone. You couldn't help chuckling over Lion in Summer, especially if you took the odds during the Great War. You speak with pride of Alia Valentina, but may not have seen a single one of her movies.
- You know NoMoreEagleZ and ABBA. If you're under 20, Meçaul! (from Hostreht) and Muarce Kosmonautele are the big names. You may be highbrow enough to enjoy Claudius Pollinc. If not, you like The Clentsin Brothers, and the jass of Goodman and Armstrong.
- You count on excellent medical treatment. You know you're not going to die of cholera or other tropical diseases. You expect very strong measures to be taken to save very ill babies or people in their eighties. You think dying at 65 would be a tragedy.
- You went over Xliponian history, and some European and American, in school. Not much Japanese, Chinese, South Asian or Australasian. You couldn't name ten Xliponian military campaigns abroad.
- You expect the military to defend the country, not to get involved in politics. You may not be able to name the head of the Royal Armed Forces.
- Your country has never been conquered by a foreign nation.
- You're used to a wide variety of choices for almost anything you buy.
- You measure things in feet, pounds, and ounces, and don't understand the reason for the "decimal system".
- Comics basically come in three varieties: newspaper comics, magazines and books; among the latter Tintin is very popular, if only because one of his adventures - Çeptro a Ottokar - is set in a fictitious country clearly modelled on Xliponia.
- The people who appear on popular television programmes are mostly entertainers, politicians, or rather strange individuals. Certainly not, say, authors or composers.
- You drive on the left side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.
- You think of Greece as a country of pleasant people (Opa!) but a rather aggressive government, which has suddenly developed an inexplicable problem with Xliponia. You probably couldn't explain why the Greeks spent such a long time under the Ottoman Empire.
- You consider any Dorris to be an unjustifiably large car. A Miçubixi fits your budget and garage better.
- The police are armed, but not with submachine guns.
- If a woman is plumper than the average, it doesn't improve her looks.
- The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.
- The nationalities people most often make jokes about are the Italians and the Greeks (though Vuçenni craihi! is no longer a politically correct expression).
- There are parts of the large cities you definitely want to avoid at night. The Mapukra is not wholly extinct, you know.
It's not such a bad life
- You feel that your kind of people isn't being listened to enough in Bovlai.
- You wouldn't expect both inflation and unemployment to be very high (say, over 10%) at the same time.
- You don't care very much what family someone comes from.
- The normal thing, when a couple dies, is for their estate to be divided equally between their children.
- You think of opera and ballet as rather elite entertainments. But it's likely you go to see five to ten plays a year.
- Christmas is in the winter. Unless you're Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan or Rationalist, you spend it with your family, give presents, and put up a tree.
- You may think that religions are too powerful among their followers, or that the state is; but you are used to not having a state religion, and don't think that would be a good idea.
- You'd be hard pressed to name the capitals or the leaders of all the nations of Europe.
- You have heard of Henry Portman and the works of Tolkien, even if you haven't read them yourself. Books by Artvir Klaric and Thorsten, and the Moxisei series, are too far out for you.
- You've left a message at the beep.
- Taxis are generally operated by provincials, who are often deplorably ignorant about the city.
- You are distrustful of welfare and unemployment payments - you think people should earn a living and not take handouts. But you would not be in favour of eliminating Social Security.
- If you want to be a doctor, you need to get a bachelor's first.
- There sure are a lot of lawyers.
Space and time
- If you have an appointment, you'll act normally if you're up to ten minutes late, and apologise if it's from ten to twenty-five minutes. Half an hour late takes a lot of explaining.
- If you're talking to someone, you do not get uncomfortable if he or she performs a close approach, holds your arm or your hand, or walks about with an arm around your shoulder.
- If you have nothing else to do - but not too much time to do it - or if you want to concentrate on some thought, you relax fingering or whirling your haçenilla, a cycle of beads strung on a slender chain.
- You expect to bargain for anything, except in large shops or when buying from a corporation or the government. Haggling is largely a matter of acknowledging the seller's job, not spending in vain, and having fun.
- You often simply show up at someone's place when it's a close friend or relation. People do not have to invite each other over - except if a principal meal is involved. A phone call one hour previously is sometimes indicated to avoid knocking at a locked door or to allow the other party a plausible excuse.
- When you negotiate, you are objective, of course, but it's always good business to be polite. Some foreigners pay excessive attention to status, or say too bluntly what they mean, and that's exasperating.
- If you have a business appointment or interview with someone, you expect to have that person to yourself, and the business shouldn't take more than an hour or so.