|Guillermo Alvarez Guedes|
Heard the news earlier today, career that spanned eight decades of bringing laughter and joy has come to an end. Met Guillermo Alvarez Guedes on three occasions. He was gracious, honorable, and extremely funny each time we crossed paths and the world is a lesser place without him in it. The first and last time where in marches protesting the Cuban dictatorship in Little Havana on Calle Ocho, but it is the second occasion that will be shared here.
When I was a college student at Florida International University, in the early 1990s, a friend of mind from high school who was studying at Tulane University was taking a psychology of humor class at FIU during the summer and invited me to sit in on one his classes because Guillermo Alvarez Guedes would be presenting a lecture on humor.
The audience of students where nearly all non-hispanic and Alvarez Guedes made a presentation on the psychology of humor and used a bit about the basic Spanish vocabulary, Americans would have to adopt to survive in Miami. He also said in his introduction that he would speak Spanish with an American accent to assist them in this process. He then went on to do a bit of the following routine that begins at around 1 minute and 33 seconds in the video below:
He had the entire class taking part in an interactive experience repeating the Spanish words with an exaggerated American accent. We were laughing non-stop for the entire class but at the same time he managed to dissect the essence of humor and the necessity of observation and truth. The truth can be painful but it can also be very funny at times.
A prayer from Guillermo Alvarez Guedes (original Spanish)
Lord, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I can not change,
the courage to change the things I can not accept,
and wisdom to dodge
all those who try to ruin my day
Grant me the peace of mind to listen
to every idiot who comes to talk to me,
of each crappy suggestion that they come up with,
and every creative way to screw me over.
Also, help me to take care
of those who I had to send to hell today
as these can be well connected
to the ass that I have to kiss tomorrow
Help me to give 100% of my work:
12% Monday, 23% Tuesday, 40% on Wednesday,
20% on Thursday and 5% on Friday
And Lord, when having a bad day
and it appears that people have agreed to screw me over
help me to remember that it takes 42 muscles to smile,
and only four to extend my finger
and tell them to go to Hell.
|"God! Kill me before letting me become an old man in diapers." - Alvarez Guedes, twitter profile|
Alvarez Guedes did use strong and sometimes foul language in his routine but it is language that many Cubans are extremely familiar with and with the horrible experience of the past century of totalitarianism a few bad words were not out of order and extremely funny. Let us remember this giant figure of Cuba and Miami who although a family man who quietly helped many in need; was always willing to poke fun at himself.
Guillermo Alvarez Guedes is an icon of the Cuban exile quarter and is greatly missed.