Bitchin’ and moaning’ never ends. One of the settings for my unfinished novel Engagement is Germany. Being in Germany means there’s no getting around the language. Although I don’t have much trouble speaking German, writing it is another story. I’ll let Mark Twain explain that one to you. Anywho. While working on my book the thought came to me to use endnotes to clarify or translate the German words I was using. But I did this with a little twist. I took the meaning of the words, as I understood them, and not the literal translations. After a while I realized that this was a pretty good idear. Or maybe not.
A few examples taken from my book:
Mittelstand – The heart of German culture and economics from which everything is derived; it could also mean to stand in the middle, in the way of everything.
Sprungbrett – Diving board or jump start in life; does not indicate there is water in the pool.
Gell – A Hessian idiom, sounds great when said while drunk, idiosyncratic interjection.
Fernweh – The want to travel far and see the world; get away from Germany just because you can; if you cant, tough shit.
Köln – The German name of the city of Cologne; a really big filthy village.
München – The German name of Munich; a really big clean village.
Ißjemandzugestiegen – ”Has anybody boarded?” This is what a conductor barks in a train cabin so he can check tickets.
Sperrmüll – The only great thing to ever come out of any socialized system of governance; state sponsored collection of old furniture or bulk trash; very useful after moving or renovating an apartment and coincides with this as a cultural past-time.
Abendbrot – Like the mythical dinner or supper that most American families would like to have but can’t due to the coercive, predetorial capitalism and the mortgage poor lifestyle that has been adopted, the German version has survived; no matter what region you go to in Germany four out of five families basically eat the same dam thing every night.
Langesamstag – One of the trivial reforms to the German system allowing stores to stay open on Saturdays beyond 4:00pm; still closed on Sundays.
Betriebverfassungsgesetz – A dysfunctional anti-capitalism German law protecting and wrongly empowering employees against employers; the laws and regulations behind this are so backwards it could end up being the downfall of the post-WWII German experiment; the you-go-girl of social market economics.
Studiengebuhren – Germans never paid for things like the cold war or financing development of poor countries; part of an estranged and perverted social welfare system to include free education; will only function if wirtschaftswunder economy can produce more value than sucking taxes out of hard working people can consume.
Kaufvertrag ̧ber ein gebrauchtes Kraftfahrzeug – A contract for selling a used car between private individu- als; perfect example of continental European socialism gone rotten. When a car is sold between private individuals (this is NOT a transaction among vested and liable organizations or companies) a full and detailed contract, where a simple ”bill of sale” would suffice, HAS to be used. Inherent in this contract is the notion that the private seller, selling a USED car at usually extreme discounted prices due to market conditions, is liable for not just the car being sold but for the action of the buyer. The motto here is: if the buyer screws up it’s the seller’s fault.