Through the Eyes of a Stranger: Stories From an American Party

I know people enjoy my party stories, so I will share a few experiences from today’s Halloween party at a colleague’s house.


The moment we arrive at the party people start uttering what to me sounds like a very cryptic phrase, “Go Cardinals!”

“This is strange,” I think. “I know these people, and I’m fairly certain nobody here is Catholic. So why are they all interested in cardinals all of  a sudden?”

I approach a group of people and say, “You know, a student submitted a paper to me this morning. The topic was supposed to be Latin American national identities, but instead of the title, he wrote what you are saying, “GO CARDINALS!” Could you tell me what this means?”

People looked at me with a compassion normally reserved for the terminally ill.

“The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last night,” a kind soul explained.

“Cool!” I said. “It was a series of what, exactly?”


After figuring out that the Cardinals were a baseball team, I approached the Chair’s husband.

“So,” I said, “are you a Cardinals fan?”

“Yes!” he replied. “The moment we discovered our team won last night we drove to St. Louis and partied until 3 am!”

“That’s so great,” I said. “Now I realize why my neighbors kept screaming all night long. I thought they were just excited about the midterms. I hear that baseball is a very intellectual game, is that true?”

The Chair’s husband plunged into a passionate discussion of baseball. I decided that now that I had him pegged as a baseball fan I had something to contribute to the discussion.

“Baseball rocks,” I said. “Unlike this totally weird American football. I mean, have you ever seen anything stranger than that weird game?”

“Erm. . .,” this ultra-polite man responded, “I’m not sure if you are aware that I’m a football player. I coach our high-school football team.”


N. got . . . erm, tipsy enough to share the following story (even though he is Russian, he is no drinker, so I never heard this before).

“I was talking to my former thesis adviser,” N. said, “and I mentioned that I had gotten married.”

“Oh, who is your wife?” the thesis adviser asked.

“She is the rising star of Hispanic Studies at X University!” N. proudly responded.

“Wow,” the adviser said. “I had no idea you were married to Professor C.R.!”

Professor C.R. was at the party and she cast a terrorized look in my direction when N. shared his story.

“Your thesis adviser knew what he was talking about,” I answered. “Professor C.R. is a star.”


The main difference between an American party and a Russian-speaking party is that everybody is so nice, kind and welcoming that even an autistic and an ultra-intravert feel comfortable and happy. It is unbelievable but during the entire party nobody made a single snide comment or a critical remark about me, N., or anybody else.

6 thoughts on “Through the Eyes of a Stranger: Stories From an American Party”

  1. Great story about the party, sounded like fun. It was funny, but don’t take this the wrong way, about the Cardinals, you’re in southern Illinois, right? If you need to know anything about baseball, just ask me, don’t mean to brag but I know more about baseball than many of the guys that I know, it’s a Cuban thing 😉 I was actually rooting for the Rangers because I’m an American League partisan and the Cardinals are in the National League, Game 6 was excruciating because the Rangers had the lead twice in the later part of the game and both times they coughed it up before the Cardinals finally won it. Did your students make a big deal out of, just out of curiosity? BTW, I’m from New Jersey and I’m a Yankees fan, but they didn’t make it past the first round this year 😦 , that’s why I was rooting for the Rangers.


    1. Sosa – I feel for ya. Cruz should have caught that liner in the 9th during game 6. No excuse for that getting over his head – especially if you watch the replay, you can see that his first 3-4 steps were lackadaisical, as if it were a routine fly ball. Just made me so sad – the Rangers were the better team.


      1. Oh yeah, I felt like I was about to throw up when Cruz didn’t reach that ball. Hell, even, McCarver and Buck were saying they were playing out of position, they were right. And then to blow it off in the 10th was too much, I had to lay down after that..


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