This is isn't specifically for USA/Canada, but for anyone who's grown up Polish outside of Poland. How did your Polish parents and relatives embarrass you in those all-too-easy-to-embarrass teenage years? Perhaps your mother brought you pierogi at school (as mine did), or perhaps your dad would address your friends with that famous "Polish directness" when you brought them home (yep, had that too). I'd love to hear your stories.
Probably when the old dear insisted on taking photos of my friends and I eating. every meal. Years and years later, she still seems to think taking photographic evidence of someone shovelling food into their mouths will make a good photo ....
My embarrassing moments were when the neighborhood kids would walk in my mom's kitchen. Her simmering pot of kapusta would stink up the entire house. Frying pans full of sizzling kielbasa, resembling phallic symbols, were also quite an embarrassing sight, lol!
Merged: Polish stories: Oh, that famous jump from Kasprowy
A funny story is being told on the blog "Blog narciarski Krzysztofa Brunetki". The original source is the book "Sklep potrzeb kulturalnych", Kroh, Antoni, 1999 edition [I guess].
Here is my (long) English summary:
A legend has it that during the WWII, one of the local skiers from Zakopane area, Józef Uznański, jumped out of the gondola of the cable railway at the vicinity of the upper station at Kasprowy Mountain, with the skies on, and successfully ran down the rocky gully downhill, escaping SS bullets. Some local guides still tell this story to tourists, hailing him as a heroic Home Army courier.
Upper station of Kasprowy cable railway
Old gondola of the Kasprowy cable railway
In fact the story is not quite correct. During WWII Józek was quite a handsome boy and also an excellent skier. If it was not for the war he would probably become an Olympian. Girls were after him all the time. One of those was a daughter of a kindly Tyrollean, a German border guard, stationed near the Kasprowy's upper station. He has learned about the love affair of Józek and his daughter and they had a man-to-man talk. Papa adviced cooling down until the war is over - pointing out all sort of dangers facing all of them if Gestapo learned about it.
Well, since the two lovers continued meeting secretly, the papa decided to teach Józek a lesson and set a trap at the upper station, pretending to be away on some assignment. He and his two buddies simply decided to beat Józek up. When Józek saw them waiting for him at the upper station he did what was described before: he jumped down and run down the gully. No, nobody was shooting at him. German papa was not that angry.
Józef Uznański, a legendary skier and TOPR rescuer
(TOPR - Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue)
After the war Józek was still an excellent skier and even a better rescuer. Nobody denies that, but he has never been a Home Army courier.
But one day a French delegation of rescuers visited Zakopane and Józek was one of their hosts. They must have had few drinks and the French - being French - bragged about general and specific French superiority. Józek got angry and told them his story with all the embellishments he could think about: SS, bullets flying, couriering for Home Army and all of this. The French were really impressed, took plenty of photos, and then - after a big article with pictures of Józek appeared in some French magazine - some organization of Maquis veterans decided to pin some medal on him. And when the Polish newspapers learned about it, they started another avalanche of stories. What initially looked like an innocent bragging now became a real embarrassment. It was too late to admit the bragging. And this way Józek has become a national hero - with another medal for bravery (Polish this time) and interviews abound.
In the sixties a movie was being shot on site about Józek and since nobody was willing to repeat what Józek originally did a stuntman was given an easier task: jump down from the gondola near the lower station and slide down of the branches of a mighty spruce. This worked fine first time, but during the second shot the stuntman missed the spruce and landed in hospital. Till this day the passengers of the cable railway look for two places: one where the stuntman jumped, and the other where Józek jumped.
Locals in Zakopane knew the real story and Józek was quite sensitive about all of this. Many years ago, Antoni Kroh - the author of the book describing the events, a historian, became a volunteer rescuer in Tatra Search and Rescue Mission, Zakopane. As everywhere in the world, newcomers are usually tested and often become anti-heroes of practical jokes, such as snipe hunt, wild-goose chase or fool's errand. [A famous bucket of prop wash comes to mind]. Somebody pointed Józek to Antoni, described to him his heroic WWII deed and suggested that this would be a good material for some historical scientific paper. Antoni jumped into such opportunity, run after Józek, presented himself and asked for interview. Józek looked him up and down, thought a little bit, inhaled some air and then proposed: "A w mordę chcesz?" [Would you like to get punched in the face?]
[The Google translator just made me laugh: "In the face you want?".]