The Help/La Ayuda

Douglas Wood
Submitted by Douglas Wood August 16th, 2011
Certifikitsch Winner

For affluent white people who prefer zero contact with the hired help, Linda Wolf, a teacher at Beverly Hills High School (where else?) created this invaluable handy pamphlet, “Tell the Gardener.”  (Apparently decent illustrators are in short supply in Beverly Hills– see cover drawing below.)

The pamphlet contains 28 pages of English phrases and their Spanish equivalents, such as “Mow the lawn,” “Pick up the newspapers,” “Weed the garden,” “Prune the trees,” “Prune the bushes,” “Prune the rose bushes,” “Don’t prune anything,” and so on.

If your needs extend beyond the garden, there are commands such as  “Take out the trash,”  “Put the trash in plastic bags,” “Sweep the patio,” “Wash down the patio/driveway/walkways/tennis court.”   Apparently space on the page was limited so you won’t find even one, “por favor.”

Then there are  orange pages, titled “A Message To The Employer,” that give gardeners a chance to fill-in-the-blanks, check boxes and “Write down the color after the name of the flower that you want.”

Thank god there are also  pages that list the names of flowers, plants, produce, and trees, so the really thickheaded homeowner doesn’t have to contend with the following tricky translations:   begonias/“begonias”, rhododendron/“rododendro” and azaleas/“azaleas.”

When this memo pad was first published, State Assemblywoman Gloria Molina complained that the memos were “just like snapping at somebody.”  Wolf  defended her efforts by flatly stating, “I’m not offended if someone leaves me a note.”  My guess is she’s received plenty of  two word notes from her gardeners through the years that aren’t found on her handy checklist.  And they didn’t say, “muchas gracias.”

If you love TELL A GARDENER, there’s also Wolf’s earlier attempt at creating disharmony among the races with her TELL-A-MAID memo pad.  Wonder if it has the translation for “stay away from my Austrian husband.”

2 Responses to “The Help/La Ayuda”

  1. Allee Willis

    Allee Willis

    Incredible. I could see having this idea but then her going ahead and actually writing it is moronic. Then again, I’m sure that the author is one of those westsiders who never drives east of La Cienega and will do anything to avoid coming to the Valley.

    What year was this published? Can’t be too old if Gloria Molina complained about it.

    I trust Wolf won’t stop here and does other books like Tell A Parking Valet, Tell A Car Wash Guy, etc.
    In my fantasy, Wolf did the artwork too.

  2. Douglas Wood

    Douglas Wood

    This is from 1982, way too late on the political correctness time-line to be explained away as naive. I just noticed, though, that “por favor” IS included at the top of some of the pages, so I at least give the author credit for that. And Allee, I want to believe that Wolf did the “artwork” too.