Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

Things I Always Meant to Do: "Where's My Pants?" World Phrase Book

If you're ever traveling in Japan, remember this sentence: "Zubon wa doko ni arimasuka?" If you're lucky, someone close by will know.

Six or seven years ago I started to collect -- meaning I spent an afternoon collecting, and have been intending to get back to it ever since -- how to say "Where's my pants?" in every human language. I figured, hey, you wake up disoriented and confused in some foreign land, the first thing you're going to want to know is where your pants are. How you got there, if you have any money and who this person handcuffed to you is can all wait until you're back in your trousers. Priorities, people, priorities.

I ended up with a dozen or so languages -- English, Spanish, Japanese, French, German, Swedish, Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin), American Sign Language -- all from just pestering my co-workers. I could have gotten one more, but the woman who knew Vietnamese was too shy to tell me.

I've since lost the file I was saving the phrases in, so the Japanese is the only one I remember well (beyond English and Spanish, which were my two contributions). But it has come in handy, despite the fact that my pants-losing days are hopefully behind me:

I was at a Dodger game once, high up in the cheap seats, and I spent the forth inning standing up and shouting the phrase as loud as I could. Because, dammit, I felt like it. Nobody paid me any attention except a slender Asian man, fifteen or twenty rows down, who kept turning around suddenly, looking very, very confused.

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is I'd love to hear from you!

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