Tag Archives: Language

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.”)


 

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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 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.”

My German Wife Is Grateful for the Opportunity to Teach Older Students

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“Thank goodness I got that second master’s degree! Now, don’t poke your eyes out, Dieter.” — Photo by Gerry Thomasen (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gerrythomasen/)

My wife is a Gymnasium teacher here in Germany, which means she has the training and education to teach high school students — not the little smelly ones who stick raisins up their noses. And Gymnasium teachers don’t just teach 5th through 12th graders; they teach the ones who show real academic promise. Get this: if you aren’t smart enough to go to a Gymnasium, you aren’t allowed to attend a university after graduation. You have to go to a trade school and learn how to repair cars for all the uppity nerds who got better grades than you. Can you imagine? I like to think of a young German man — let’s call him Horst — slaving away beneath some fancy BMW. He’s fixing it the best he can, turning the cranks and tightening the screws, when a shot of oil hits him in the eye like the money shot in a porno. That’s the moment when Fancypants Schillinger, the former high school valedictorian, strolls into the auto shop:

FANCYPANTS: “Well hello there, Horst! I haven’t seen you since you flunked out of our Gymnasium! What have you been up to?”

HORST: “Fixing your car, obviously.”

FANCYPANTS: “Hah hah, good ol’ Horst. Remember how popular you were in school? How you went to all the parties and chased all the girls? I used to be so envious…”

HORST: *Jabbing his hand into the toolbox* “Yup..”

FANCYPANTS: “But then you flunked one too many classes and wound up in a Hauptschule with all the other knuckle draggers. I bet that was a real trip to the zoo, wasn’t it? Hah hah!

… and that’s how Horst wound up serving life in prison for beating a nerd to death with a monkeywrench.

Anyway, my point is the German educational system — while highly effective — can be a tad elitist. You can imagine why a smart, well-educated Gymnasium teacher might not relish the idea of teaching little kids, especially little American kids. But that’s exactly what my wife did back in 2012, when she spent a year in the United States at a primary school. She did this on a J1 work visa in order to give us the chance to live together as a couple. It was a sacrifice on her part, and I respect the hell out of her for making it. I had to laugh, however, when she was about to leave the States and begin her job as a full-blown Gymnasium teacher in Germany, explaining to me (with no small amount of relief ) how old her future students would be:

THE WIFE: “They are older. I will have 5th through 12th graders. They are not thigh-biters.”*

*3 seconds later: “… I mean ankle-biters.”

My German Wife Struggles with the Size of Our American Kitchen

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This would be our kitchen exactly, if you added a little caution tape and some biohazard signs. — Photo by Chalon Handmade (http://www.flickr.com/photos/chalonuk/)

I bought a house back in 2007, before I met the woman who would become my wife. It was a real bachelor pad, complete with carpet stains, spiders in the bathroom corners and an indoor swimming pool made entirely of beer cans. But once my wife and I began our relationship, I started referring to my house as our house. My car became our car. And my pile of dirty clothes under the bed became our little quarantine-worthy smallpox outbreak. What I’m saying here is, I stopped seeing things as mine vs. hers; an attitude my wife largely shares, unless she’s clumsily breaking things and then denying all responsibility.

So fast forward to the end of the summer of 2012, when my wife was about to fly back to Germany to find us an apartment and start her new job while I wrapped things up in the States. Shortly before she left, we planned a small goodbye BBQ with our friends and loved ones. We scrambled to clean the house mere hours before this social gathering took place, focusing most of our attention on the kitchen and making it look as clean as possible. (Displaying one’s kitchen honestly, the way it actually looks from day-to-day, is like prancing about in tighty whities and openly flaunting your skidmarks; nobody wants to see the truth.) So as my wife was taking some glasses out of the dishwasher and setting them in the cabinet above, she somehow managed to knock over her own beer with her elbow, shouting…

THE WIFE: “Ahhh! Dammit! Your kitchen isn’t big enough!”