One of the most legendary pronunciations of this word – of all time – is by Lieutenant Aldo Raine of the US Army, introducing himself as a native Italian to Colonel Hans Landa, a terrifying German SS officer. Imagine the most confident American, pronouncing buongiorno with a thick, dragged, American accent – acting as if he was, indeed, a native Italian. I love this scene.
Now, this is not a recount of the events in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (which is a great movie; if you haven’t seen it, go see it – now!), but a few thoughts based on a recent trip to Milan to visit my friend Paolo. Paolo (he’s in the photo below with me) is an old friend from way back, when we were both room mates while studying at NYU.
The movie became quite a theme for our trip (if you can call it that — a pro-longed weekend, rather, with the guys – Christoffer and Simon), and I think our trip and the movie had some common characteristics (and many, which were not in common). Below are some of the small lessons from the movie, which, I think, applied equally well to our trip in Milan (for both business meetings and the nights out).
- Can-do-attitude and mentality. Leave realism and door-closing to someone else. You should be the one who sees the opportunities; no brick walls are thick enough to stop you. Aldo Raine saw absolutely no problem in speaking Italian. And, as you know, this is the way Obama won the Presidency. Yes we can.
- Self-confidence. When you have finally decided to act, do so with confidence. No need to be fuzzy about your course – better to show real resolve and stick yourself out there. Yes, it may be wrong from time to time, but that’s how we learn. I’d rather like to know where I have you this way, than not. And you can, self-confidently, re-make a decision, if needed.
- When you fall, pick yourself up. It’s too easy to stay in the slow lane, once you’ve crashed. But it’s also boring, and it takes you close to nowhere. Pick yourself up, and realize that falling is a fact of life. I’m amazed by how Aldo Raine keeps going and going in the movie – especially towards the end, against heavy odds – but it helps him succeed.
- Escapism – being on a roll. We all now what it feels like to be in a flow – you’re immensely productive and swallowed into what you’re doing. This is a great feeling, but not quite what I mean here. The step after being in a flow is really escaping reality – you almost feel like Superman. It can also be dangerous; sometimes you lead yourself to think that you can do much more, than you really can. So while it can be productive, it can also be dangerous. Think rock stars; the best ones balance this immensely great.
- Loyalty and friends. The importance of this theme needs no introduction. It’s also clear in the movie – and on our trip. Thanks Christoffer and Simon for a great trip.
All of these lessons apply equally well in business (and on nights out in the city) – I’m trying to get better at all of them. And I’m sure there are many more, but I had to fit our trip with the movie :-).
Finally, the real reason you want to learn how to pronounce buongiorno the Aldo Raine way, is that it’s seriously fun to use it for real, in Italy.