Awesome German Expressions: How to Say “You Can’t Take It with You” (When You Die)

"I want to be buried with this German flag lodged firmly betwixt my buns." -- Image Credit: momentcaptured1 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pat_ossa/) Subject to CC 2.0 License.
“I want to be buried with this German flag lodged firmly betwixt my butt cheeks.” — Image Credit: momentcaptured1 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pat_ossa/) Subject to CC 2.0 License.

This past summer, my parents came to visit us in Hannover, Germany. We had a fantastic time with them — truly one of our most fun and memorable reunions — and my wife and I talk about it even to this day. Like how we showed my folks the Hannover Zoo, visited Berlin and Dresden, and even ate pickles in Lübbenau, in the Spreewald region of Germany. (Pretty much the salty green heart of pickle country.)

After the trip, my wife and I talked about how expensive it must have been for my parents to travel all the way to Germany to see us, and all the expenses incurred during their stay. (It was not cheap. In fact, it was pucker-your-anus spendy.) And then I remembered how much my parents value love and life experiences — especially with good friends and family — over money. I said this to my wife, which prompted her to nod her head and reply:

“Yes. The last shirt has no pockets.”*

*From the German expression, “Das letzte Hemd hat keine Taschen,” which refers to the burial shroud you wear when you’re dead. This is exactly like the expression, “You can’t take it with you,” but with that good ol’ German morbidity I’ve come to know so well.

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9 thoughts

  1. As Robin Williams stated…. Germans are the only ones with a word that shows happiness for someone misfortune. Schadenfreude. So nothing surprises me anymore. Surprisingly wife never says anything bizarre. Or she hides it well (crafty German girls…..).

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