Bezirk [1] in Berlin© – 33:  August 9, 2012


The US has Fathers’ Day, a day in which men gratefully receive yet another tie, or a delightful handmade gift from the kids, and spend the day with their families.  And, in the US some families celebrate Ascension Day, although this is a religious day that doesn’t come with all the trappings as other holidays, such as Christmas and Easter.

Germany, on the other hand, has something known as Men’s Day, which differs quite a bit from Fathers’ Day in that this is a day that men – fathers or not – spend with other men, getting drunk and generally making fools of themselves.  For example, early in the afternoon of Men’s Day, we encountered a group of men on the S-bahn who have apparently celebrated Men’s Day as a group for several years.  They first made their presence known to us as our train pulled into the station, where they were waiting to get aboard.  One of them hit the side of the train with his first just as we were pulling in.  Personally, I don’t find a loud thud while you’re aboard a moving vehicle to be a particularly comforting sound.  We shortly realized that we weren’t fixing to die, but rather were in the presence of some highly inebriated Germans.  What clued us into the fact that they were together was that they were all wearing matching purple T-shirts.  On the front, the shirts showed that these guys had been getting together for about 10 years – 2000 – 2012.  There were also some sayings on the backs of the shirts, but these weren’t all the same.  I don’t know whether these were randomly selected or whether each man got to choose his own saying.  You see a lot of T-shirts here with things in English printed on them, and you hope to God that if they really knew what these things said, and how offensive they are, they wouldn’t have selected them.  The one that really caught my eye was, “Show Me Your Genitals!”  I had to wonder what they would have done if this if I had dropped my drawers and shown them my 67-year-old genitals.   Even if they knew what the phrase said, I’m pretty sure that this was NOT what they may have had in mind.  And to really set off the purple shirts, these guys were also wearing purple sequined cowboy hats.  Kinda made me think of the Village People (not that there’s anything wrong with the Village People).

One of the more gregarious guys sat down near us and began a conversation.  I decided to try to reply in German.  Well, it’s abundantly clear to even the most inebriated German that I am not a native speaker.  And, as if often the case, this guy asked me if I came from the Netherlands (which, in German, is pronounced pretty much as ‘Nederland’).  This always amused me because I went to high school in a small town in Texas founded by a bunch of Cutch folks, so I actually DO come from Nederland.  In the course of the conversation, an American friend who was visiting with us asked the guy if they always celebrated the Ascension of Christ by going out and drunk, to which the guy replied, “Hey, it’s GERMANY, dude!”  Well, I guess that pretty much explains it!


I bought some new eye shadow today – a nice pink.  I wasn’t really paying attention to the brand – I knew it wasn’t something I knew, like L’Oreal or Maybelline, but nothing beyond that really registered.  Until I got it home.  Think of the absolutely most absurd concept to associate with a 67-year-old, tremendously over-weight grandma.  Whatever you’re thinking doesn’t ever come close.  How about this – Miami Roller Girl!  I’m probably not the target audience for this company’s products.


To quote my former boss whenever something occurred that was absolutely expected – SHOCKER!  I got a letter from the police today informing me that, oddly enough, they have not apprehended the slime-ball who stole my wallet and that they are discontinuing the investigation.  Go figure!


You know, even I understand that different countries don’t necessarily celebrate the same holidays.  For example, it’s no mystery why they don’t celebrate George Washington’s Birthday here – they don’t have a George Washington.  (Or, maybe they do, but it’s not the same one whose birthday we celebrate in the States.)  But, really, they DO have a July 4th here, right?  I can see it right there on the calendar.  It doesn’t go July 1, July 2, July 3, July 5, does it?  No!  They have July the 4th here – so why don’t they celebrate it?  Furthermore, the traditional menu includes two items named after German cities – frankfurters and hamburgers – accompanied by another German staple – potato salad.  The celebration also involves drinking beer and shooting fireworks – which are all very German things to do!!  Besides, there was a ‘July 4th’ in Germany long before there was one in the States.  I’m pretty sure that the folks living in America before Columbus didn’t use a calendar that had “July 4th” on it.   (Undoubtedly, those same folks are at best ambivalent about celebrating July 4th today, much as they aren’t too keen on celebrating Columbus Day, either, for similar reasons.)






[1] ‘Bezirk’ is German for ‘neighborhood.’