Tom, Dick, and Harry

There was a fun question in my daily Spanish Quora:

¿Existe en inglés el equivalente a “fulano, mengano y zutano”?

The consensus in the answer thread was that “Tom, Dick and Harry” was the closest equivalent.

I’m reminded of my college French teacher’s phrase “machin, truc et chose.” I’ve forgotten the context, but I intuited that it meant something like “fulano,mengano y zutano”“so-and-so, what’s-his-name, and who’s-it.”

My summer school classmate in Mexico City, an American lady, complimented the instructor of French effusively on his fluency. The dapper Mexican man flicked ash from his cigarette and shrugged: “Que voulez-vous, madame? C’est mon métier” “What did you expect, madame? It’s my profession.”

With some exceptions Americans distrust polyglots, especially in their politicians. Former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John Kerry have to hide their French or be tarred as quislings.

Tut tut. Sancho Panza said it: “No se hizo la miel para la boca del asno”— “Honey is not for the mouths of asses.”

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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