My cousin, Rachel, is not the funniest person I know, but she has her moments of comedic genius.
As our leader, Rachel had the task of keeping us all in line, making sure we knew what we were doing and where we were supposed to go, and keeping our morale high. I can honestly say that she succeeded on all counts. She did this mostly be being her amazing self and by using her greatest skill: the backhanded compliment.
Rachel is a backhanded compliment ninja.
I can say this because I’m generally the target of her backhanded compliments.
However, I can never be angry with her for them, because she doesn’t realize how backhanded her compliments are. And they generally make other people laugh, so I build a bridge, get over it, and join in the mirth.
The reason I’m telling you this is because Rachel managed in producing two of the greatest backhanded compliments known to man while we were Kenya. In order for me to tell you the story of the Kenyan backhanded compliments, I had to give you some background on the BHC ninja that is Rachel.
Now onto the story:
I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t look that great in Kenya. Hygiene went out the window by day two because a cold shower in 40 degree weather will buy you a one way ticket to head cold junction. I brushed my teeth everyday and used a Wet One to keep away the smell, but showers were few and far between for me. Shaving became a thing of the past and the only reason I ended up shaving was because Kelly saw my armpit hair and gasped.
And yes, I have absolutely no shame in telling you that.
Add bad hygiene to the fact that I was wearing knee-length shorts that were a size too big and t-shirts that were size large to 2x and you can probably figure that I looked homeless. You may also add the fact that I have curly hair that did not enjoy the elevation and decided that it would stick up like the bride of Frankenstein rather than laying flat.
So really, I probably looked like one of the witches from Macbeth.
One day, while we were walking back to the bungalow after working, Rachel says to me, “Gyasi, you’re in dumpy clothes.”
This caused Meredith and Ariel to explode from laughter.
Rachel tried to make the situation better by adding, “But you still look like corporate America.”
See how the backhanded compliment works?
On another occasion, we were riding in the bus and discussing flatulence. In case you weren’t aware, women are 1000x more disgusting than men. When we’re together, we don’t discuss ponies, rainbows, and boys. We talk about our bowels and our ovaries. This is what women do. At least this is what the women I know do.
I don’t remember how the conversation led up to this or what remark prefaced this, but Rachel said, “Meredith, I’ve never heard you fart, but I feel like when you fart it sounds like Coldplay.”
I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Coldplay has never headlined in Meredith’s lower intestines.