Tag Archives: Denglish

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?”

 


 

 

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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

funny jogging picture of a woman running alone

“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.”

 

 


 

My German Wife Is Impressed by a Bagpipe-Playing Lawyer

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“Stop playing that thing or I’ll shove it down your Scotch-hole.” — Photo by Jonathan Stonehouse (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gizmo_bunny/)

Back in 2012, just a few months after we moved to Germany, my wife made me watch all 5 seasons of Ally McBeal. That’s 112 episodes, each one lasting 45 minutes, which adds up 84 hours of total viewing time. (Coincidentally, 84 hours is exactly how long a man can have his testicles squeezed together in a woodworker’s vise before he begs for death’s sweet, everlasting embrace.)

As you probably know, Ally McBeal was a popular television series which ran from 1997 to 2002. It was a surreal comedy-drama, following a young, self-obsessed lawyer named Ally McBeal as she hallucinates her way through a series of romantic misadventures and magically relevant court trials, which hammer the moral of each episode into your skull with all the subtlety of a howitzer.

Ally works for a fictional law firm called Cage and Fish. One of the firm’s eccentric co-founders, John Cage, has a pet frog named Steffan (pronounced Steh-fahn.) After a series of unfortunate hijinks — involving a lot of girlish screaming, frog-tossing and the poorly timed flushing of toilets — Steffan is killed. A funeral is organized around the toilet in which Steffan met his demise, and the entire cast of the show listens as John memorializes his friend by playing the bagpipes. (The actor, Peter MacNicol, actually plays them in real life.)

I watched this scene with the predictable amount of stone-faced apathy until my German wife raised her eyebrows, nodded her head and announced:

THE WIFE: “It’s pretty impressive he can play the doodle-sack.”*

*The word “Bagpipes” in German is “der Dudelsack.”

 


 

 

My Wife Suggests Long John Underwear to Help Fight Winter Chills in Germany

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“Keeps my junk so warm I gotta smile.” — Photo by Anthony Easton (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkmoose/)

We’ve all heard winters in northern Germany can be pretty harsh, right? They’re long, dark, scary and depressing, like a prolonged nightmare or just about any movie starring Jeremy Irons. Winters pass so slowly here, the Germans have constructed a series of traditions and paid holidays systematically designed to keep you from playing chicken with the next subway train you see and screwing up the U-Bahn schedule for everybody.

I don’t mind winter, but even I have to admit the winter of 2012 was a real penis shrinker. In Hannover, winter lasted from October until May. Seriously, it was May when my wife and I were finally able to turn off the heat in our apartment and not freeze to death like a couple of white chocolate popsicles. Luckily, my wife is German and she knows how to deal with these long winters. She’s always telling me to wrap myself in a blanket, drink hot chamomile tea (because Germans think chamomile is a panacea), place a hot water bottle on my lap and wear thermal underwear beneath my pants (known more creepily as “long johns”).

I generally follow her advice, but the truth is I am a profoundly lazy man. Sometimes I cannot be bothered with all 4 aspects of her winter defensive strategy, which is why, back in November of 2012, I wore thin pajama pants while working at my computer and then complained about the fact that my legs were cold. My wife came into the office, put her teacher’s bag on the floor and announced:

THE WIFE: “It is getting very cold. Your pee-jammy pants are not warm enough. Tomorrow we buy you Johnny Long Bottoms.”

My German Wife Apologizes After Overcooking Our American Style Steaks

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“It tastes just like bald eagle!” — Photo by Ralph Daily (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphandjenny/)

I’ve discussed the antidepressant effects of eating pizza on Sunday night — how it soothes the soul before Monday morning comes along and rips it right out of your hairy chest — but my German wife and I don’t always have pizza. Sometimes we get crazy and warm up frozen baguettes. Or throw a rack full of hors d’oeuvres in the oven. We’ve even made some of Dr. Oetker’s pizza burgers. And one time? We didn’t eat anything from the frozen food aisle; we cooked American style steaks. (And no one even burned themselves on the grill.)

It was back in September of 2012, around 9:00pm. Sunday night had us both in the palm of its dirty hand, just like a huge, invisible sex offender. The clatter of the plates was too loud. The slicing of the vegetables took too long. But the sizzle of the steak? Oh, that was perfect. I brought those two slabs of meat to a perfect, medium rare pink (with a hot porno center). I took the steaks off the grill and slid them onto our plates knowing I had successfully represented America and defended its freedom for another day. And that’s when my wife demanded I put the steaks back on the grill because she wasn’t done cutting the green onions and she didn’t want the meat to get cold.

She was being a little pissy that night, you see, so we argued and of course she won. The steaks went right back on the grill. I felt I’d achieved a respectable compromise, however, by keeping the heat on “low.” Five minutes later, I turned around to find the grill had not only been turned back up, but was now set to “hot as the devil’s red nutsack.” The meat was disgracefully overcooked and my wife and I bickered a little more. But later, as we brought our plates into the living room so we could eat while watching a movie, she apologized for her negative attitude:

THE WIFE: “I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry I pooped around.”

My German Wife Explains the Biology of Bad Breath

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“Oh God. Please, just close your mouth and never open it again.” — Photo by Alisha Vargas (https://www.flickr.com/photos/alishav/)

As you may already know, my German wife and I have lots of inside jokes, idioms and nicknames for the unpleasant things occurring in everyday life. Here are just a few examples we use regularly:

  • The hot, silent gas expelled from one’s anus immediately following a meal of spicy soup, pizza or chili, which smells of poison, horror and all things sullied: “Death Farts
  • Negligent or annoying people — especially teenagers — who are unnecessarily loud and/or obnoxious in public places: “Fuckees
  • The red and inflamed state of my eyelids after I’ve worn a sleeping mask all night long, resulting in the aggravation of my eczema skin condition: “Pig Eyes
  • Frozen food items, generally mini-pizzas and fried hors d’oeuvres, consumed specifically while drinking red wine and watching A Game of Thrones: “Stoner Food
  • A genetically inherited double-chin, which only elongates with age and cannot be destroyed with anything short of heroic plastic surgery: “Yoddler
  • Semi-excited genitalia of the male gender, especially as it is being spun like a pinwheel immediately following a shower: “Half-Schmack

So back in late September of 2012, as my wife was leaving our apartment in order to buy a few groceries from Netto, she raised one finger and invented an entirely new name for bad breath, complete with pseudo-scientific explanation:

THE WIFE: “Unfortunately, I have the Stink Mouth because the bacterials are sitting on the tongue.”

My German Wife Invents a Heroic New Nickname for Senior Citizens

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“I know you are wise, old ones, but my GOD you move slowly.” — Photo by Ruth Ellison (https://www.flickr.com/photos/laruth/)

Remember back in the summer of 2013 when The Wife and I went to Herrenhäuser Gärten here in Hannover, Germany, to see the International Firework Competition? It’s where different European countries orchestrate pyrotechnic displays set to music. Anyway, as we were waiting to enter the garden, we noticed the vast majority of the people in line were old. Like, old as balls. We soon found ourselves lost in a sea of gray hair — adrift upon wave after wave of receding, platinum-rimmed pates. It was really quite breathtaking.

So after thoroughly appraising the short-timers around us, my wife leaned close to me, whispering…

THE WIFE: “They all have such silver hair. They are silver surfers.”

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This has since become our household name for anyone over the age of 65. — Photo by Xin Mei (https://www.flickr.com/photos/metaxin/)

My German Wife Orders the Execution of an (Apparently) Female Pest

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¡Viva la Revolución!

Our apartment here in Hannover, Germany, has a little south-facing balcony in back. It gets full sun with almost no wind, thanks to the adjoining buildings on either side. During the summer months, our balcony gets so hot we are forced to enjoy Saturday morning brunch in our underpants. Seriously, we eat sliced meats, cheeses and bread rolls wearing little more than the shame God gave us.

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I cropped this photo so you couldn’t see my junk.

I don’t know if it’s the heat, lack of wind, or the musk of our traditional German breakfasts, but we are constantly hassled by wasps. They only come one at a time — never in a swarm — but they are relentless. Destroying these wasps is a task which falls squarely upon my American shoulders; I use my baseball cap to swat them right out of the sky, and then separate their heads from their bodies with the brim of my hat, like a big, dull knife. Once a wasp has been decapitated, I set its head upon the ledge of the balcony — eventually gathering 4 or 5 of them and lining them up in a row — as a warning to the rest of the wasp community: “Your kind is not welcome here. All stinging insects will be assassinated without hesitation. (Except honey bees. You guys are cool.)”

During my time as a naturally gifted wasp slayer, (dare I say, artist?), I have learned exactly 2 things:

  1. Wasps give exactly zero fucks about the sight of their decapitated family members.
  2. My wife hates wasps more than I do

So back in September, as we were eating brunch on our balcony, one particularly ballsy fellow landed on a piece of meat on my wife’s plate. I gently brushed the wasp upward, into the air, and smacked it right back down with my baseball cap. It hit the ground, stunned but very much alive, and buzzed its little wings with such fury the dust swirled around it like a pissed-off tornado. That’s when my wife announced:

THE WIFE: “Okay. She can die now.”

ME: *Laughing* “She? Why is it a ‘she‘ and not an ‘it‘? Can you see her little wasp titties or something?”

THE WIFE: “Just kill her!“*

*Apparently, the German noun for “wasp,” (die Wespe), is neither masculine nor neutral; it is feminine. Click here to learn more about the German language in our blog post: An Initial Impression of the German Language: Gender-Based Nouns Are Just Awful.

My German Wife Buys A New Shower Caddy for Our Bathroom

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Those bottles look like tiny prison inmates leaning over Cell Block D. “When we gonna shank the naked guy, Boss?”

So, moving into a new apartment is always a monumental pain in the ass, especially when you’re moving from America to Germany literally weeks after getting married. It also doesn’t help when you know nothing about furniture, kitchen appliances or any of the bathing accessories women can’t seem to live without. (Loofahs? Poufs? Bath Sponges? These all sound like playful forms of birth control which might come to life and start singing around some lovesick princess in a Disney movie: “Why say ‘maybe’ to that baby gravy? Wash your womb and add perfume; no one wants a baby!”)

Fortunately, my wife knows all about bath products and how to store them in an orderly fashion. So back in August of 2012, just before we moved, she informed me we would need to hang some kind of apparatus in our shower stall to hold all of our toiletries:

THE WIFE: “We don’t want to drill holes in the tile, so we will get a basket with vacuum sponges.”*

*I believe she meant a “shower caddy” with “suction cups.”