Category Archives: Denglish

Quotes from my wife featuring the accidental combination of German and English words.

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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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.”

 


 

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.”

 


 

My German Wife Kills Two Birds with One Stone

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“Wait, who’s getting stoned?” — Photo by Benny Mazur — Subject to copyright — Light contrast edits made — https://www.flickr.com/photos/benimoto/2977350640

Toward the end of 2012, my German wife and I were cleaning our former apartment in Hannover, Germany, before our dear friend Looney Tunes came for a visit from the States. We wanted the place to look really nice, you know? Not at all like it normally does. I mean, hosting a guest is not a time for honesty regarding your living space; it is a time for false representations and unmitigated lies.

So after we churched the place up real good, it was time to buy groceries. (One cannot hope to entertain cultured guests with a mere half bottle of Chablis and some old KY Jelly. We aren’t savages, for Christ’s sake.) That’s why I decided to head down to the local Netto discount supermarket and buy some eggs. On my way out the door, I called to my wife and announced I would also be purchasing bread, to which she replied:

THE WIFE: “That would be, of course, two flies with one slap.”

*Translated from the German expression, “Zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen,” — hitting two flies with one slap — which conveys the same figurative meaning as the English expression, “Killing two birds with one stone.” (One a side note, my wife argues it is, “better to kill flies than birds, you meanie.”)


 

My German Wife Politely Asks If I Have a Hearing Problem

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“Can you hear me MEOW?” — Photo by Travis Isaacs — Image subject to copyright — https://www.flickr.com/photos/tbisaacs/

So the other day, The Wife and I were watching my favorite movie, Memento. Have you seen it? It’s a psychological thriller starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano, and directed by Christopher Nolan. It has been my favorite movie ever since my good buddy, Shortround McSugarblood, called me up and said, “Check out Memento, dude. It’s totally you.” That was in the year 2000, and ever since then I have been proclaiming it (annoyingly) as my absolute favorite movie of all time.

Anyway, I recently got around to showing it to my wife, and she loved it too. She had a lot of questions about the plotline though, as one might imagine, but I proved myself fairly useless in explaining it. It’s not that I don’t understand Memento — I can talk about it for hours — it’s that I can’t watch my favorite movie and talk at the same time. I sit there with rapt attention, like a fat man in front of the microwave, and let its glowing brilliance seep into every empty chamber of my brain. I have no cognitive capacity for anything else, so when my wife got up in the middle of the movie to go to the bathroom, I did not hear her at all.

THE WIFE: “Pause the show, please.”

ME: “Hmmmmmm?”

THE WIFE: “PAUSE IT. Are you sitting on your ears?”*

*Translated from the German expression, “Sitzt du auf deinen Ohren?”

 


 

 

My German Wife Somehow Equates Past Grieviances with the Making of a Sandwich

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“German mayonnaise… you’ll never forget it.” — Photo by Renzelle Mae Abasolo – Subject to copyright — (https://www.flickr.com/photos/maehabasolo/)

My wife has an old friend named Killjoy McBittertits. That’s not really her name, but I think it does a great job of summarizing my overall impression of her. You see, Killjoy is the kind of person who keeps track of every little good or service exchanged over the course of a friendship: the number of gifts given, the gallons of gas used, and even the number of cups of coffee shared. All of this information goes into the great empty pit where her heart should be, and fuses together into a lump of bitterness which can be thrown like a projectile weapon whenever someone pisses her off.

My wife somehow managed to anger this woman many years ago, and she has recounted the tale to me several times since. They were in Killjoy’s apartment, Killjoy was in her normal emotional state (simmering fury), and my wife decided to have a second cup of coffee. Since helping yourself to a friend’s coffee pot is obviously reason enough to eviscerate them emotionally, Killjoy decided to list off every single thing she had purchased over the course of their friendship — like she’d been keeping track of each perceived offense on a list hidden beneath her pillowcase, written in pig blood.

If there’s one thing my wife is not, it’s a freeloader. The insinuation makes her very mad. So when she told me this story — describing each insult and retort in detail — she spoke as if she were snapping back at Killjoy herself:

THE WIFE: “Sorry you feel that way, but don’t smear this on my bread!”*

*Translated from the German expression, “Schmier mir das nicht aufs Brot,” which figuratively means, “Quit bringing up the past.”

 


 

 

My German Wife Complains About Getting Cramps While Jogging

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“Wait up, Honey! I just blew chunks all over this new shirt your mother bought me!” — Photo by rosmary — Subject to copyright — (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rvoegtli/)

As you may already know, I often jog around the Maschsee here in Hannover, Germany. It’s about 3.9 miles in circumference (6.3 km), which is a pretty good bit of exercise for someone who sits in front of the computer all day long making pretty things for money. The first time I successfully ran the Maschsee, I wanted to throw up as hard as possible. I wanted to vomit like a dog who’s been gorging on something nasty it found in the garbage — back all hunched over real tight, mouth open and drooling, making that awful, full-body dry heaving sound, like, AHYUK-KA YUK-KA YUK-KA — and then BAM! Paydirt.

Although jogging the Maschsee has become progressively easier each time I’ve done it, there is one thing which still challenges me: talking while running. It gives some people cramps or stitches in their sides, but personally, I just don’t have the cardiovascular fortitude for it. Not after the first minute into the run or so. After that, it’s a test of willpower and socially acceptable masochism, and wasting oxygen is like spitting in the eye of the exercise gods. I’m pretty sure every dude who ever dropped dead while jogging was trying to hold a conversation at the same time, like it was no big deal. But oh, it was a big deal, for Lord Cardio the Spiteful is a god who demands your full attention, lest he become jealous and smite thee with a cataclysmic aneurysm.

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“Welcome to your new home, big mouth.” — Photo by Martin Pettitt — Image subject to copyright — (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdpettitt/)

So back in the winter of 2012, my wife actually joined me for a jog around the Maschsee. (A rare occasion, as my wife is a teacher, and teachers work way more hours after class than you might think.) We managed to go most of the way around before we decided to walk. As we were walking, we were passed by another couple — a man and woman with superior thighs and exemplary calf muscles — who were running at a good clip while conducting an effortless conversation. I mentioned to my wife how impressive I found this, to which she replied:

THE WIFE: “If I try to talk while I run, I get these horrible side-bites.”*

*I think she was translating the German word, “Seitenstiche,” or “side stitches.”