Humor of Goddam in English

Humor of Goddam in English is a true story told by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in his book: ‘An Autobiography’, page 193.

A prospective client Hayashi had come to Wright’s home Taliesin in Wisconsin from Japan with “his gentle wife Takako-San”.

Wright tells the story:


Hayashi’s young (wife) Takako-San was a beautiful presence in Taliesin at this time, with her exquisite Japanese wardrobe.

Very quiet and reserved in manner, she was very frankly curious about everything, especially our foreign ways.

One evening at dinner she said,

“Wrieto-San, what means ‘goddam’?”

“Goddam?” I wondered where she got that.

“Oh, Takako-San, Goddam is a polite word for ‘very’.

You might say it is a goddam fine evening,

or it is goddam fresh butter.

Or after dinner you say to your hostess,

‘Thank you for your goddam good dinner’.”

“O, O!” she said (“O” was her invariable English exclamation.)

“O, I see. Please, Wrieto-San, pass me the goddam fresh butter.”

And she goddam’d her way through the dinner to a running accompaniment of laughter.

Afterward she turned to her host and with perfect naïveté thanked him for the

“goddam good dinner.”

Was she wiser than she seemed?

I was naive enough to wonder if she hadn’t known all the time what the laughter meant.

Hayashi (her husband), whose laughter had joined in, wouldn’t enlighten me.

I didn’t deserve it.



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