Where Are You From?

Last week I was approached by a guy at the gym and got involved in the following discussion:

Dude: Where are you from?
Me: What?

Dude:Where are you from?
Me: Encino.

Dude: No, are you from here?
Me: No, I am not from Reseda.

Dude: No, I mean before that.
Me: Before Reseda?

Dude: No, I mean where are you from?
Me: Are you in a gang? Should I be ducking and covering now?

Dude: Nah, I mean where do you come from?
Me: Today I came from the car. Before that I came from the office. Before the office I came from home. Before that home I came from the city, but before that I came from the Valley and before that I came from the city. But before that I like you came from monkeys but we shouldn't discuss evolution because your president believes in intelligent design.

Dude: (Shaking his head) No, I mean what country do you come from?
Me: What does it matter?

Dude: What?
Me: Why do you care?

Dude: Because.
Me: I always find that to be so profound.

Dude: What?
Me: No, because.

Dude: Because what.
Me: Because, because, because, because, of all the wonderful things he does.

Dude: (Gives me a funny look, must not have seen the Wizard of Oz) What country?
Me: What country? We are in the U.S.

Dude: No, what country are you from?
Me: What country am I from?

Dude: (Face scrunched up in frustration) Why don't you just tell me?
Me: What do you want me to tell you? A story, a joke, a song?

Dude: I want to know what country you originally came from.
Me: The U.S.

Dude: No way, I don't believe it.
Me: Why? You are the one with the funny accent.

Dude: You think that I have an accent?
Me: I know that you have one.

Dude: How did you get rid of yours?
Me: I never had one.

Dude: You are one of them Jewralies.
Me: What is that?

Dude: You are a Jewish Israeli, a Jewralie
Me: I am Jewish, but not Israeli.

Dude: You are.
Me: I am what.

Dude: You are one of them.
Me: Nope, just your average American.

Dude: Are you kidding me?
Me: No.

Dude: I don't believe you.
Me: Ok, you are right. I am actually Jamaican.

Dude: Really? I knew that I recognized your accent.
Me: Yep, you got me. I don't like telling people because they always ask me for tourist advice.

Dude: I bet that they do. Well, I have got to run now, love your accent.
Me: Ya, sure mon.


B2 said...

Notice how many conversations that start that way end up with them asking us if we're Jewish? And then, most of the time, if we've accepted Jesus as our personal savior?

ifyouwillit... said...

Jewraeli? I guess not everyone differenciates between Jew and Israeli? What to tri-national people with a religious identity call themselves? What sort of accent do you have?!

TRW said...

I was in London with my sister and she was getting a portrait done by one of those people on the sidewalk. Another one of them (Asian) turned to me and said "Are you Israeli?" by which I assumed he meant "are you Jewish"?

Dunno. I said, "no, I'm from the States" and left it at that. He then apologized, which was inerestin. It was just...funny.

Stacey said...

At least people don't come up to you speaking Spanish and wondering why you don't answer.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

As you can surely tell by now, there is no such think as the average American, especially in California. This is just my humble opinion!

Anonymous said...

No way!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're making this up!!!!!!!!!!! I promise you no one would ask you that in Israel ... but of course they'll say - you American?

treppenwitz said...

See... the point at which he said 'Jewraeli'... that's pretty much where I would have lured him into the locker room and given him some sensitivity training. The great thing about never having taken any sort of course in providing sensitivity training is you can pretty much make it up as you go along. For instance, if he refuses to acknowledge that calling someone a Jewraeli was somewhat insensitive... you can bounce him off every hard surface in the place until he does. In 4 years on board my ship I only had to offer sensitivity training to two 'good ol boys'... but I bet they still remember the lessons.

Jack Steiner said...


He and I had a brief meeting of the minds. It is amazing what you can teach someone on the basketball court.


Ignorance is everywhere.


Agreed, there is no average American.


Actually they do come up to me. I am routinely asked if I am Mexican, Israeli, Persian or some variant thereof.


You never know what people will do.


I don't have any accent, unless you hear me speaking Hebrew and then it is obvious that I am American.


This time there was no missionary work involved.

Bill said...

Being a country of immigrants much like the US, Canadians also have this preoccupation with origins.

Many spend hundreds of hours researching their roots and flying off to the "old country" to re-establish a sense of what it is to be German/English/French.

They do this even if they have been here decades or centuries.

If you have been to my Blog you know what I am CANADIAN and no that does not mean I am an Souix, Huron, Cree, Algonquin or any other first nation member.

So I can sympathize with the irritation that arises when some Anglo-German-Canadian poses the same lame question.

The connection to faith however is something else. I guess it would be legitimate to ask a Lutheran if he is German or a Anglican if he is English, at least by this guys way of thinking?

What is wrong with being Canadian or American, as the case may be? It is far nobler to be who you are, when and where you are, then what your great great great Granddad was.

Irina Tsukerman said...

People come up and ask me "what I am" all the time. Generally they ask me whether I'm Russian, or Polish or "something of that sort". I do have a Russian accent. People ask me where I'm from, I generally say "from Breuklyn", and they are not satisfied. I've lived here for ten years; and yet it's not enough for some people!

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

ARE you serious...this conversation really happen? Like your previous stories, I expected you to write that this was fiction.

It's funny...when I lived in Israel, people thought I was British, when I lived in Boston, people thought I was from Ireland or had Irish blood, and when my husband and I were traveling through Europe, everyone thought we were German. Only when we visited Morroco, did we tell people that we were Canadian (which we are not...just good ole Jewish Americans.)

"s0n|c'C@libr3,, said...

funny conversation.

i won't know how to respond if it happens to me -_-

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Bill,

I appreciate genealogy, but this is a little different. I think that you are right to ask what is wrong with being Canadian or American. Maybe I am a cynic or a pessimist, but I expect that they are going to give me some rot about foreign policy or some other reason why we should be embarrassed to be American/Canadian.


People seem to think that any sort of accent means that the person must be from somewhere else.

Hi Mirty,

How many freckles do you have. ;)

Hi Jaime,

Yep, it really happened that way.

Hey Sonic.

Hi Callie.

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

That was so funny, but funnier when you ask WHY? !!! (smiling) instead of what? !!

I love conversing, apparently you were put on the spot or backed in a corner! (LOL)

P.S. Excuse me two Why(s)! (smiling) or perhaps better said is too wise!!

Tamara said...

OMG< thanks for the laugh!! JEWMAICAN me crazy ;)

Linda said...

Jewraeli? That's hysterical!

I have the opposite happen too. I have blonde hair and blue eyes and no matter how many people hear my last name, which is very Jewish, I still get the "You don't look Jewish" statement or look. One woman in Baltimore looked at me and said, "I thought you were a shiksa." My response was not all that positive.

Jack Steiner said...


People never cease to amaze me.

Pallywood Posts

 I think a bunch of the posts about Pallywood that have been written and or linked here have to be updated. Probably a bunch of bad links, k...