At least in the jargon of Cubans, it seemed that the word decency is getting rusty in some forgotten basement. Nowadays is “uncool” to be decent?
If the party was not good, “it was uncool”, if the upstairs neighbor yells or protests over nothing, she is "uncool"; and if the new backpack you bought doesn’t do the trick, “it looks super uncool.”
Very few words can show off nowadays of having so many meanings and mentioned as the famous "fula." (uncool)
In this case, fula is not a reference to the Cuban Convertible Currency (CUC for its Spanish acronym), but its worth the daily speech of Cubans is equivalent to 25... to other 25 words, especially working as adjectives that sometimes contradict each other.
But this article will not deal with language, but how language expresses or not an important concept: decency.
It turns out that if your paternal uncle doesn't say indecencies every now and then or stealing or trying to bribe someone, he is "a really uncool guy". I heard a teenager speaking of his uncle and left me thinking.
For the many meanings it can include the word, it was not easy to decipher if then the teenager was using it as a praise or as a critic. But the intonation he used, together with the expression on his face seemed to indicate that his intentions were not in fact to flatter his uncle.
The boy's uncle was so "uncool" because he didn't do what others did. He was not in "fashion."
It seem, for the expression of weirdness - repulse? - of the nephew, as if nowadays it were unbelievable to behave properly, to abide laws, to try to be a law-abiding citizen, in short, decent.
However, for grandparents and those already great-great-grandfathers, being decent was an unwritten requirement, but unspoken, when assessing people. Each felt pride being classified as decent and if the matter was to recommend someone else, no better guarantee could be given than that of decent person.
Poor, but honest; poor, but decent Cubans of other generations used to say, mainly the generations prior to 1959, when the objective was to show someone’s must precious virtue rather than the few tangible assets he owned.
Now, it seemed as if poverty or shortage were the perfect justification to steal from the State or the neighbor, to misappropriate and falsify data - because what’s on the papers stays there.
On top of that, he who doesn’t do it he is "uncool", he is not in fashion, he lost his position within modernity, the right to walk proud as a member of "the pack."
Who doesn't bribe or doesn’t allow to be bribed he is not in fashion, he remained fixed in the time of his grandparents and their old habits, like saying thank you, please, or make way for women, children, and old men.
Nowadays, if one doesn't say a four-letter word in each sentence, the communication could be broken, the empathy with the speaker is broken.
It’s true that the nurse screams at the day-care center, the teacher yells at school and at home, families scream; in the bus, pregnant women or disabled people sometimes have to fight hard for their seat.
It’s true the wage is not enough, the stores have empty shelves, the prices of products are not low and sometimes multiply many times the monthly pay of workers.
In short we are not to celebrate, although there were better times. But, anyway, in honor to oneself, to the grandparents and also to grandsons to-be, there would be at all cost, to save a seat to decency as a word and attitude in fashion.
Therefore, those who are yet to be born won't have in the future reasons to be embarrassed of a bandit or wicked grandpa, "really uncool, uncool".
Amilkal Labañino Valdés /Cubasi Translation Staff
- Published in Specials