Once upon a time I had a paralegal who had been born in Italy but had come to America when she was a nine- or ten-year-old child. She had an Italian last name but was a totally assimilated American who spoke English fluently and unaccented. The only time she spoke Italian was when she spoke to her mother.

Since I had grown up in a neighborhood that comprised first-generation Irish, Germans and Italians, I gained an early appreciation of other cultures and took a particular shine to the Italian culture, its cuisine and language.

One day, this paralegal was telling me a story about one of her mother’s neighbors who had done something that was, to put it most charitably, appallingly unneighborly. My reflexive and, to judge from my paralegal’s enthusiastic ratification, completely appropriate response to this tale was “What a gavone!

Now if you look up “cafone”, which Italians pronounce “gavone”, in an Italian-English dictionary, you’ll see it defined as a “boor” or a “lout”, but neither of those definitions even begin to convey the level of opprobrium that infuses the word in its normal usage among Italian-Americans. What it really describes is a person with absolutely no shame, the sort of person who would wear shorts and flip-flops to a funeral, for example.

Or this sort of person:

Hi Joe,

I’ve got a good one for ya…

I received a call from a past client of [my home inspection company]. He tells me that my home inspector who worked for me back in 2006 did not report that he had 5 layers of roof shingles on the home he purchased back in 2006. Now (keep in mind) this is now 5 years later when he decides to call.

I told him that we perform visible inspections only and that multiple layers can not be detected at times and that [my home inspector] no longer works for me and that he did not have insurance through my company as he carried his own insurance. He asked for his address and I told him that I have no information on [him]. He then stated that I was forcing him to go through this litigation the hard way and that he was going to have his attorney start with me in this case. I simply said “that is absolutely fine and Good Luck”.

Can you believe this freakin idiot? This is so comical that it must be at the top of the charts for past complaints. Homeowners are so broke that they’ll do anything for a dollar nowadays.

Can I believe it? Yes I can. We are becoming a nation of gavones.

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