My German Wife Tells the Worst Inside Joke of All-Time

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“Wait, is there a punchline here?” Photo Credit: Joseph Sardin (https://www.flickr.com/photos/14328577@N08/) — Subject to copyright (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Sometime in February of 2013, my German wife and I spent a weekend with her parents in their charming little house. My wife’s father — who shall henceforth be known as ‘Papa Thunderchops,’ due to his epic silver sideburns — was sitting at the kitchen table peeling carrots. Except for when he is outside tending to his garden, Papa Thunderchops is always in the kitchen peeling something: apples, carrots, potatoes… the man just loves to peel shit. So I sat down next to him and started helping, and that’s when my wife came into the room to find the two of us hunched over a rapidly filling bowl of carrot skins.

THE WIFE: “Want to hear a joke my family likes to tell each other?”

ME: “Absolutely.”

THE WIFE: “Carrots are good for your eyes. Do you know why?”

ME: “Why?”

THE WIFE: “Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?”

*The joke was so bad I actually started laughing. Hard. I was left to wonder, however, if it might be a common joke here in Germany. My wife insists only her family tells it, but that can’t be true. Have you ever heard it before?

 


 

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American Expat in Germany Nearly Killed by an Acorn, Vents His Shame upon the Biggest Spider in the Universe

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I just discovered something you have all long suspected — I am a huge pussy. An American pussy, to be precise, but one who enjoys each and every day spent living here in Hannover, Germany. I love it here! I can handle the cold, hard slap of culture shock, and I am slowly (though painfully) learning the German language, but the simple challenges presented by the changing of the seasons continue to test my mettle.

Today started with the usual routine: I got up, got dressed, and retrieved my bike from the garage so I could ride it to the gym. However, I failed to notice the staggering number of acorns covering the street and sidewalk in front of our house. It is Fall as I write this post, and there is a giant oak tree looming over our roof. Every time I go out the front door, I hear the crack of an acorn as it strikes the pavement, reminding me that every year, a certain number of people actually die because of falling coconuts hitting them on the brain.

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Though smaller and less threatening, acorns are not the adorable comedic fodder we’ve been led to believe by the Ice Age movie franchise and its clearly retarded squirrel character. No, these little sons of bitches are rock hard and impossibly smooth, so you can imagine how a thin bicycle tire might interact with one at high speed.

After getting on my bike and pushing off, I descended the slope of our driveway and began to make a right turn as I entered the street. My front tire bounced off an acorn and turned my handlebars even more to the right, nearly sending me over the top as I struggled to keep it from going perpendicular. Of course a car was passing by at that moment, but I wasn’t in any real danger of being hit; the car was simply there so the passengers inside could witness the expression of sheer terror on my face and mock me for it accordingly.

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I got my bike under control, pulled over to the curb and looked back over my shoulder. There were so many acorns in the street I felt like I’d just unwittingly navigated a minefield during wartime. “6th Division, Charlie Company, Landmine Detection Unit. We just run right through that shit with blindfolds on. 97% success rate. Best record in the Corps.”

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I’m joking right now, but at that moment, I was pissed off. I walked my bike back to the garage, opened the door and practically tossed it inside. Determined to clear the street of every last acorn, I reached for one of the brooms leaning against the wall and saw something move from the corner of my eye. Oh yes, it was the largest spider in Germany.

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As you can see, I managed to snap a few pictures of the spider after coaxing my scrotum back out of its hiding place. That other thing in the picture, my friends, is a €1 euro coin. When I tossed the coin on the ground, the spider started to shake really hard, as if scared. Then I realized it wasn’t scared at all; it was shaking its web in order to better snare whatever doomed creature had fallen into it. Isn’t that just awful? And isn’t that a perfectly legitimate reason to leave the coin there forever, spider or no, so it will never be touched by human fingers again? Christ, just telling this story makes me feel like I’m covered in bugs. I’ll need 2 milligrams of Xanax and 6 ounces of Jameson if I hope to stand a snowball’s chance in hell of falling asleep tonight.

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Since this spider was obviously too huge to live, I grabbed a garden hoe and — using the flat side downward like a piston — smashed that motherfucker with enough force to cause an earthquake on the other side of the planet. I did this repeatedly, and also while screaming like a little girl. Speaking of little girls, there’s a kindergarten right next to our house and the garage door was wide open, so the kids who were walking home from school that day heard, “AAAAAAAA*clang* *clang* *clang*AAAHHHGG!” while seeing a grown man employ a level of violence so profoundly unnecessary it was probably illegal.

I bet those little kids are scarred for life, crying themselves to sleep every night after begging their parents to explain why their new American neighbor hates living in Germany so badly he beats the very soil beneath his feet.

“Wait, the bad man was doing what now?” soothes the parent. “Screaming? And then he started crying, you say? Oh, go back to sleep, Klaus — you were just having another one of your silly little nightmares.”

 


 

TV and Movie Reviews: German-American Couple Watches “Californication”

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Photo Credit: Rex Roof (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rexroof/) — CC Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Title: Californication

Classification: TV Series

Genre: Comedy-Drama

Trailer: (Warning: Adult Content)

Summary: Fox Mulder walks into a room — any room — and at least one attractive female decides, I absolutely must nail that guy within the hour.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds.

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Conclusions:

ME: “Hey, it’s better than watching paint dry.”

THE WIFE: *Pretending to wake up from a sex-dream* “GUH!?–KISS THE TIP!”

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German Woman Explains ‘Disc Parking’ to Her American Husband

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“Parking discs are like little time machines fueled by guilt.” — Photo Credit: “Zeichen 291″ — Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zeichen_291.svg#mediaviewer/File:Zeichen_291.svg

Back in February of 2013, my German wife and I were driving through a small village in Niedersachsen when we decided to stop and take a look around (which obviously means she made us stop so she could do some window shopping.) And as usual, my wife was behind the wheel because, A: just looking at the Autobahn gives me a panic attack, and B: I haven’t driven a stick shift since I was 16 years old, so the clutch would probably detonate the moment my foot touched it.

As she parked the car, I noticed my wife reaching for something under the seat; a rectangular piece of paperboard with a rotating dial on the front indicating the time of day. She spun the dial and set it on the dashboard facing outward. I climbed out of the passenger seat, looked through the windshield and saw she’d set the dial to the exact time we’d arrived.

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“Honey, I know you’re a good person and all, but now is not the time for honesty.”

Now, there were absolutely no other cars to be seen. No people around either. In fact, the whole place seemed to be asleep. (Asleep or dead. It’s hard to tell with these village Germans.) I couldn’t understand why it would matter how long we parked there, or if some parking inspector would actually be dick enough to check our dial and ticket us for staying too long. Furthermore, I could not understand my wife’s reluctance to take full advantage of a rule system so naive it actually bases itself on trust. Holy shit, I wanted to spin that dial so hard it would say we got there tomorrow.

Anyway, I pointed to the dashboard and said to my wife, “Why not just crank that thing super late, so if you’re asked, you can say, ‘I’m just a silly little German. I made a mistake.’ “

Without even looking, she dropped her keys in her purse, stepped up onto the sidewalk and said, “Germans don’t make mistakes.”

 


 

German-American Couple Visits the Altwarmbüchener See, Accidentally Discovers a Complete Freak Show

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Photo Credit: Johan Hansson (https://www.flickr.com/photos/plastanka/) — Subject to copyright

The other day, my German wife and I rode our bikes to the Altwarmbüchener See, a small lake outside Hannover, Germany. We just sort of stumbled upon it by accident, and, as a result, experienced the weirdest bike ride of our lives.

At first glance, there appeared to be no one at the lake. This was to be expected, as the weather that day was menacing; the sky was overcast and the clouds were turning an angry shade of ‘turn back now.’ We rode past the little food stand and the paddle boat rental place, and approached the dock. Next to the dock was a small, asphalt ramp — no longer than 10 feet — which we used to walk our bikes down to the water. That’s when shit got weird.

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Photo Credit: FBellon (https://www.flickr.com/photos/55158656@N06/) — Subject to copyright

Out of nowhere came a fat kid with no shirt on, yelling at us in German not to use the ramp. This was no ordinary fat kid, however — this one had no hands. I’m not kidding. His right hand ended at the wrist, and his left hand was little more than half a palm and the root of a thumb. Had he lost them in some horrible farming accident? I thought to myself. While in the womb, was he subjected to a strict diet of nicotine and horse tranquilizers? Neither my wife nor I had a clue, and we could only watch, hypnotized, as he scrambled to block our way by stringing a metal chain across the path. The chain extended from a post on the right and attached to the trunk of a large tree on the left. Of course he dropped the chain like 5 times, and normally I would have felt really bad for him, but this kid was a dick. The ramp literally went nowhere, there were no boats in the water and no one else around. My wife asked if someone actually owned the ramp, and he breathlessly explained it did, in fact, belong to someone, and it would be very nice if we were to get off of it.

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Photo Credit: Rui Fernandes (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ruifernandes/) — Subject to copyright

We turned our bikes around and rode back the way we came, passing the sandy beach area and a large park. To our right was a wooden bench, and sitting on the bench was a surprisingly well-groomed homeless man. He wore spectacles, had a bike with a basket on the back full of garbage, and a half liter of beer by his side. He was reading a newspaper, but — and I shit you not — the newspaper was upside down. Maybe he was the world’s smartest homeless man, quietly honing his cryptographic skills in anticipation of the day his government calls upon him to crack a cipher intercepted from space aliens. Maybe that beer sitting next to him was not the first one of the day. I don’t know. But riding our bikes past him was like a slow-motion sequence straight out of a David Lynch movie.

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Photo Credit: Mike Lewis (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikelewis/) — Subject to copyright — Image cropped from original size.

Then it started to rain. Hard. My wife calls this sort of rain a monsoon (which she adorably pronounces “mohn-ZOON”), and the name fits; it was pounding so hard we were instantly soaked. My hands kept slipping off the handlebars of my bike, and I had to physically wipe the water out of my eye sockets in order to see. And as we neared the park exit, you know what we did see? A shirtless man, standing upright, rubbing his massive beer belly with both hands. He was just standing there, rubbing that shit like the god damn Pillsbury Doughboy. I asked my wife if this was a German thing: “I know your people are into saunas and health spas — is this some sort of water therapy? Does rainwater on the stomach help with digestion?” She just rolled her eyes and we continued to navigate our way through this paradigm shift.

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Photo Credit: Surian Soosay (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ssoosay/) — Subject to copyright

We steered our bikes through the park entrance and were almost home free when we encountered the final oddity of the day: three men in hazmat suits carrying laser guns. Okay, I’m exaggerating on this one a bit. It was actually just a trio of hardcore nerds with metal detectors wearing full rain gear, but still! At first glance, they looked like they stepped right off the cover of some horrible sci-fi pulp from the 50s — Attack of the Atomic German Metal Sniffers. And let’s not forget, these dorks were headed to an obviously haunted lake in the middle of a torrential downpour hoping to find precious things. Lost watches and earrings and shit. Can you imagine the conversation?

“Why are we out here in this weather, Horst? My wife has coffee and cake waiting for us back home…”

Shut your dirty hole, Gunther. Today is the day. I can feel it.”

“You don’t mean–“

“Oh yes… today we find the Buried Treasure of the Altwarmbüchener Carnival Freakshow.”

“But Horst, my wife says it’s cursed!”

“Your wife is a sow and a teller of lies! Now turn on your metal detector. You too, Norbert. A pack of twisted circus freaks left a fortune somewhere deep in the sand around this lake, and we will find it.”

“Okay, okay. Don’t get snippy. Hey, look at that young couple riding by…”

“Pay them no mind, Gunther. Only fools and philistines would be out riding bicycles in this kind of weather.”

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Photo Credit: daveiam (https://www.flickr.com/photos/daveiam/) — Subject to copyright

Anyway, my wife and I finally made it home safely and life seems to have returned to an acceptable state of normalcy — probably because the moment our bike tires left the park, the damaged membrane of reality we’d obviously slipped through managed to heal itself and close behind us like a giant, invisible vagina. Needless to say, I’m not in any hurry to return to this particular lake, but my wife keeps talking about it. She wants me to give it a second chance, you see, but I’ve seen Carnivàle on HBO. I watched Tod Browning’s Freaks in college. I know what happens to uppity city folk when morbid curiosity brings them out to see God’s little accidents. If we return to the Altwarmbüchener See, my wife will sprout a mermaid’s tail and magically learn to play the harp, and my skin will turn white as paint as I am overcome with the urge to bite the heads off chickens.

“That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, step right up! For just a few measly coins, you too can see the latest additions to our little lakeside family — Gertrude the Weeping Mermaid and her circus geek husband, Ulrich the Halfwit!”

Click Culture Shock to read more of my emotionally scarring adventures here in Germany.

American Expat Celebrates 2nd Year Living in Germany

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“Every party has its casualties.”

Holy monkey! It’s been 2 years since I packed up all my crap and flew to Germany. Honestly, I thought I’d been here for 3 years, but my German wife reminded me it only feels that way. Anyway, to celebrate last night, we made a pizza, uncorked a bottle of wine and watched a movie. (Which actually means we tossed some extra onions on a frozen pizza, unscrewed a €2 euro bottle of Merlot while the movie started playing and then passed right the fuck out.)

Early the next morning, my wife interrupted my precious Earl Grey time by attempting to show me how I would be cleaning the house after she starts teaching again next week. She pushed a broom around the living room, explaining how I would actually need to lift the furniture in order to sweep beneath it. That’s when she knocked the broom handle into one of our empty wine glasses from the night before. *DONG, smash!* The sound it made as it shattered was like music to my ears.

“HAW HAW!” I laughed, pointing. “Do you realize if I had done that, you would be all super pissed right now? But look at me! I don’t even care! Please learn from my example.” That earned a grudging smile and a quiet chuckle from my wife as she continued sweeping, albeit without the verbal instruction. (Gentlemen readers, I ask you to examine the picture above. Notice how perfectly the glass shattered, yet retained its overall shape? This is the most beautiful example of household justice you will ever see.)

The past 24 months here in Hannover, Germany, have been filled with moments like this; funny occurrences, jam-packed with adorable Denglish quotes and mortifying culture shock encounters. I can honestly say I have yet to experience even one dull moment in this fine country. Every day brought something new. There was that mandatory integration class to deal with, a terribly frustrating visit to the dentist, a surprise delivery from the mailman, the omnipresence of our evil old neighbors, and two memorable trips to the zoo. These are just a few of the adventures described here at Oh God, My Wife Is German, and you, my awesome readers, have been so gracious as to share them with us.

Thank you for reading and for always being so supportive. You’re just the best audience ever, and I look forward to (attempting) to make you laugh for years to come.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

– OGM

NOTE: If you have been reading this blog and commenting on our posts for a long time, please send me an email and let me know, because I would like to make sure I have a link to the blog or website of your choice in the sidebar section titled OUR FRIENDS.


 

My German Wife Offers a Simple Solution to the Problem of Clothing vs. Closet Space

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It’s like a forest. An impenetrable, haunted forest.

About a year ago, my German wife was in the middle of her teacher training (Referendariat) here in Hannover, Germany. It was a busy time for her, involving lots of classroom observations, seminars, lesson plans, tests and essays. (Her future career as a Gymnasium teacher depended entirely upon her performance during this period.) Needless to say, it was also a stressful time. The days were long, the nights were short, and patience was a commodity in high demand.

One day, as my wife came home from school, I greeted her with a smooch and helped take her hoodie off. As I carried the hoodie toward the closet, I noticed she was following me. Like, she was right on my ass, and I realized she did not trust me to hang up her clothing properly. She has good reason for this though: I am a terrible folder of clothes, I hangs things in random places and my attitude toward laundry in general lies somewhere between “good enough” and “fuck it, it’s just gonna get wrinkled anyway.”

Given my spectacular failures as a dry cleaner, I wasn’t at all irritated as I opened the closet door — even though my wife was hovering over me like an anxious mother whose son is about to stick his finger in hot coffee. I understood it, and I was cool with it. I was downright surprised, however, by the sheer volume of clothing in my wife’s possession. Her “side” of the closet — which comprises 90% of the whole — was so packed I could not hang the hoodie inside. Seriously, I was unable to separate the other items widely enough to fit even one more thing.

Now, I am the sort of man who follows the doctrine that one should own only so many articles of clothing as one’s closet can hold, so it was with no small amount of amazement that I remarked:

“Woah. You have way too many pieces of clothing. You gotta get rid of some of those.”

To which my wife replied with a heavy sigh:

“I know… I need a bigger closet.”