Francois Sardi ia a really nice guy. No one has ever called him a “Rocket scientist” it’s true, but he is always smiling and that, for us, is what counts. And also, along with Cyril, we love to tease him and play practical jokes. Nothing mean of course, just for laughs, we behave like silly children.
As for Francois, our childishness makes him laugh too. He knows very well that he is, how can I say it… a little slow and he is easily amused and able to laugh at himself. Something remarkable and rare; the ability to laugh at oneself.
And also, Francois adores to come fishing with us. The three of us; you have to hear us laughing, standing in the water. When the tourists see us during one of our crisis of hilarity they watch us in a jaw dropping stupor.
The other day in the bistro at the marketplace I cooked up a dumb joke to get Francois riled up.
“Tell me Francois, did you know that fish have political opinions?”
“Nah… you can’t be serious.”
“Ablolutely, my friend. They have a brain like you and me and a mouth and ears, a heart and they piss, they shit and they fuck just like human beings, no? So why wouldn’t they do politics? Like us, when they are raised in a family on the left, they have leftist ideas and likewise when their family is on the right! “
“Well now, I never heard of that… Yes, and after all, why not?”
“For example, Francois, you know Daniel R., the guy who has a fish farm on the plateau near Valgorges. Well, he’s a guy who is on the left, no?”
“Yes, sure, he’s known to be a liberal.”
“Well, his trout, normally, must be on the left. The same thing for Herve, the fish farmer on the other side of the mountain. He is politically right and his fish as well. It’s a sure thing. Listen Francois, lets go fishing together and you’ll see for yourself!”
A half hour later, Cyril, Francois and I were in the middle of the river, all armed with fly rods.
I got the first trout (with difficulty) and showed it to Francois. Cyril, formally a professional ventriloquist with the Circus Gavarnie, was standing behind us. I pretended to address the trout:
“OK tell us, are you politically on the left or the right?”
“The left” responded the trout (Cyril was still good at his former profession of ventriloquist and the illusion that the trout was talking to me was perfect).
“Well then, if you are a leftist, prove it to me!”
The trout (Cyril) started to sing to perfection: “C’est la lute finale…” (The phrase: “it’s the final battle” is part of the leftist’s International hymn.)
Francois stood there like a fried whiting, his eyes bulging wide open.
The second fish that I got I insisted was from the right and Cyril made the fish sing: “Marechal, nous voila…!” (A song known as a an anthem of the politically right during WW2.)
“Holy shit!” said Francois, “I would have never believed it!”
Yesterday Francois, Cyril and I gathered at the “Cafe du Commerce” to have an aperitif when I proposed that we go fishing later in the afternoon.
“Sorry Fleche, but I’ve decided to quit fishing.”
“What, are you crazy, the three of us have so much fun fishing together. Why would you quit fishing?”
“I’m going back to a real sport.”
“And what is your real sport?”
“Ping-pong. At least in ping-pong the balls don’t engage in politics. All that they say is “ping” and then “pong”. One can rest tranquil!!”
Francois, he’s not the brightest light on the shelf; but he just beat us at our proper game and he was laughing himself silly at the sight of our faces.
Hats off to you Francoise Sardi!