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It had been a long, boring bus ride. Beloved Tour Director Wolfgang’s monotone voice had been expounding upon this and that for the several hours it had taken to travel by bus from Vienna, Austria into Budapest, Hungary, bringing to mind a classic line from Run DMC: “You talk too much, homeboy you never shut up.” As a matter of fact, I had drowned him out successfully by listening to music on my iPad while weaving my travel experiences into the novel I was writing.

I don’t know what made me take out my earphones and listen, but I’m glad I did because I heard one of the funniest things in my entire life.

“When we get to Budapest, be careful because ze gypsies travel in packs,” Wolfgang droned in his Austrian accent.

Wait, you mean like real Gypsies? And they travel in packs? Like wolves?

Finger Cymbals

“Zey teach zer children to steal from ze tourists, ja? Zey will take your jewelry and valuables. Zey do not consider it stealing. Zey call it harvesting.”

Say what? Harvesting? So . . . they’ll pick me clean like a chicken bone?

“If ze children attack, do like zis.” Wolfgang held up his hand as if he were about to backhand the shizzel out of somebody. “If zey continue to attack, just slap zem. You will not get into any trouble. In America you call it child abuse. Here, we call it an education.”

I fell out laughing; so much so that tears ran down my face.

Let me get this straight. You want me to b*tch slap a bunch of kids because they’re trying to steal from me? What would I look like as an officer of the court (an attorney) who is a mandated reporter of child abuse, to slap a child for being delinquent?  Or, what would any adult look like just hauling off and slapping a kid with tremendous force?

I was the only one on the bus laughing, and I just couldn’t understand why no one else found his absurd advice funny. The Boogie Down Bronx Twins (BDBT), my Ride or Die tour companions who were quite hilarious, were asleep. I couldn’t wait for them to wake up so I could share Wolfgang’s outlandish advice.

When they awoke, I told them the story about slapping ze children. They found it hysterically funny, and I can’t tell you how many times we laughed about that during the rest of the tour.

If zey continue to attack, just slap zem. You will not get into any trouble. In America you call it child abuse. Here, we call it an education.

The BDBT and I were later jokingly accused by our Australian tour companion Paul of allowing dollar bills to hang out of our pockets in an effort to lure Gypsy children so we could slap zem. Have you ever heard of anything so preposterous? Those dollar bills were hanging out of each of our pockets for a legitimate reason.

Glad to say that we vacationed in Budapest without being harvested or having to give Gypsy children an education.