Señor Wences VI

Chapter 9

Wenceslao’s right fist grabbed the flare gun and fired into the air. They heard a toot from the ship and within an hour they were rescued. As it turned out, they had drifted all the way to just shy of the coast of New York. I know that sounds incredible in the most literally sense of the word, but there we are. Safely onshore, and after 16 years of waiting in line to enter the country, the immigration authorities asked Wenceslao for his passport (which was some stupid new thing introduced during the War that he’d never really heard or understood the point of) and he explained that he neither had one nor any intention of being there. When asked how, then, he came to be there, Wenceslao told them the whole story of his life up until that point, finishing with the tale of the sinking cruise ship and how he was lost at sea for so long.

The official charged with taking notes angrily set his pen and glasses down and rubbed his face. He asked Wenceslao what on earth he was talking about. There was no record of a sinking cruise ship in the Atlantic, nor did it make any sense that he could talk to inanimate objects, or throw his voice, or defy gravity with plates on sticks. Wenceslao sipped on the cup of coffee that had been given him and leaned back in his chair. With a smug smile, he replied, «Would you rather I tell you a boring story that you’d believe?» The official replied, «Yes. That’s exactly what I’m asking for. You understand this is my job, right? Our resources are limited.» Wenceslao just shook his head. «Typical fools.»

The adventure Wenceslao regaled the officials with may or may not have happened. But in the end, isn’t the story that makes life easier the better one?

The answer, of course, is no. No, it isn’t.


The rest of Wences’ life is common knowledge. He did vaudeville, was a regular on variety and late night shows, and became such a household name that his act has been lovingly parodied numerous times, from Pee-Wee:


To the infamous South Park episode ridiculing madrileño fashion and lack of rhythm:

South Park roasts MadridTo famous blockbusters like Se7en:


What I like about Señor Wences

Honestly, not that much. He seemed like a nice guy and all, and surprisingly for an entertainer in the 20th Century there are, by my count, zero known scandals about him. That’s definitely something. But when I watch videos like this one…


…the most positive feedback I can give is that he’s:

a) Giving it 100%; and

b) For the most part I can’t see his mouth moving

I…guess…that’s impressive?

What I dislike about him

Pretty much everything else. Where do I begin?

What I like about Señor Wences

Come on…

What I dislike about him

Don’t interrupt me. I’ve watched 20 clips of him and the insults write themselves. I even took notes.

What I like about Señor Wences

Just let it be. Those were different times. People found that sort of thing entertaining back then. It takes a lot of courage to get up on stage in front of an audience, you know.

What I dislike about him

Sure, but if you put something out there for people to consume you have to expect some of them to tear it apart. That’s how this works. It’s really quite simple.

What I like about Señor Wences

Simple for you, perhaps. But for some of us it’s very difficult. The guy is dead and as far as we know he wasn’t a terrible human being. Can’t you just let this one go?

What I dislike about him

You mean make life easier by telling a prettier story? Where have I heard that before?

And what’s him being dead got to do with it? Do you believe in the afterlife? No. Then how’s he ever going to hear this? You think any of his friends or family will ever read this? No. Then what does it matter what I say about him? I could write, «I piss on Señor Wences’ grave» and it wouldn’t matter.  I piss on Señor Wences’ grave.

What I like about Señor Wences


How he could have been improved

  •  Never give anything you do more than 70%


Next time on Spainsplainer: “Extremadura” sounds like a brand of industrial-strength condoms made from old tractor tires.