Dummies and Idiots...Definitely *not* referring to Jordanians
I think you can tell a lot about a person by the kind of books they read...especially if they tend to have a few from the "for Dummies" series or the "Complete Idiot's Guide" series. These popular self-help books are all over the place and they cover *thousands* of topics ranging from how to play golf, how to type, what is catholicism, how to reinvent yourself, how to get published, and the list goes on and on.
Anyway, I looked around my room today to find that I have checked out a bunch of these books from the library over the past few weeks. So, what do these books say about me?
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Interview: I'm looking for my first full-time career job and, yes, I'm reading this book to get tips on how to nail my interviews ;) This book was helpful although I've been reading a lot on this topic so much of the information is the same. The presentation of the materials and information in this book, however, is much better than others.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Microsoft Excel 2000: One of my interviews required me to take a simple Excel test so I checked this one out to remind me of what I took in highschool because I apparently haven't used Excel during college. I didn't have the patience to read through most of this book, so I just called a friend and he gave me the lo down on Excel.
- Office XP for Dummies: The same interviewer also wanted to test my Microsoft Word skills, and although this program has been my best buddy throughout college, I still felt the need to browse through this one to see if I was missing anything. Of course, I was not aware of every useful icon and avenue in XP, but I'm still working on it.
- Scrapbooking for Dummies: My somewhat new hobby I guess. A friend introduced me to this "universe" of scrapbooking (using decorative material to make a book of memorable photos pages), and I really have to admit that I had no idea this even existed on such a large scale. It's a freakin' industry and it's definitely booming! But I think that this hobby of many (women) has been overly commercialized like everything else in America. Anyway, it's fun so you should check out this book to get a start if you're interested!
I think it's great that we have these resources here. Although for some subjects these books address tend to be shallow (ie: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict), for more practical things like golfing or buying a house, they can be very helpful.
It's funny that when I first came across these series a few years back I was kind of shocked to see them calling the readers "idiots" and "dummies" but then again that's definitely eye-catching. I wondered what would happen if I bought a book like this for a friend or relative in Jordan. An awkward moment might ensue that would sound a little like this:
me (handing over the book): hey, i got you this book cuz i thought you would like it.
jordanian (looking at the front cover, eyes slowly getting bigger and jaw dropping)
me: it's about how to...
jordanian (interrupting): excuse me?! shu shayfeetnee 7mar ana? mfakreetni idiot willa dummy? la shukran...
me: but wait, that's just the name of the series, there are lot of books like this, don't take it personally, i have them too...
jordanian (shoving the book back in my hand): ma3lesh ma3lesh, ma biddi. wa7deh amreekeieh shayfe 7alha 3alayna, gal idiot gal... wallahi 3al!
Mind you, this isn't a diss on my fellow Jordanians. I think most Arabs would have the same reaction. Not because they're rude and don't accept gifts, not at all. But because the term "idiot" or "dummy" would really be offending, even if it is meant as a joke. It's hard to take jokes when they are on you, especially when it's something you haven't seen before. Jordanians just need to stop taking everything so seriously :)
[technorati tags: books, personal, career, culture, Jordan]