Buying German food products for the “yuks”…

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That’s right. “Yuks”. As in, laughing your ass off. I think we could all could use some more “yuks”, right?

Yesterday, while I was binge watching murder porn on Snapped, Bill came into our bedroom with a shelf stable container of oat milk. He likes to use animal free products sometimes because he’s a healthier person than I am on many levels. He said he bought the oat milk because of the label. Behold…

Bill and I have both noticed that while Germany has rules against “Beleidigung, that is, insulting people (especially people in authority like cops and politicians), they have no compunction about using English swear words in everyday language. For instance, one can be listening to an American pop song on the radio and if there are f bombs in it, you will hear them in all of their profane glory. Same thing with announcers on the radio, who regularly refer to “shitstorms”.

Personally, I’m alright with the profanity. I’m not a big believer in “bad words”, anyway. I really don’t think there is such a thing. Every word, in my opinion, is neutral. It’s the intent behind them that makes saying them good or bad. For instance, as a former English major at Longwood University, I took courses in African-American literature and Women’s literature. Both courses included slave narratives in which a certain taboo racist epithet was used repeatedly.

Was I offended? No, not really. That word was part of the lexicon at the time and the books would have lost their power without them. I was offended by the brutality of the way slaves were treated in those stories and the fact that their true stories are a shameful part of history. But the use of the n-word in those books is necessary. Same as it’s necessary in certain musical pieces, like Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City”, and even in certain 70s and 80s era sitcoms, in which racism was a topic that was tackled. The word is used to convey the extent of the contempt and racism of those times. Taking it out would lessen the impact of the pieces.

Because of that– and because I love language and all its quirks– I don’t believe in “bad words”. I don’t think they should be used as weapons. I think people should be judicious in how they use their language. But I’m not a fan of “banning” any specific words… and, as we can see from the above label, even “bad” words can mean different things to different people. I know many Americans who would blush seven shades of red at simply reading that label. They sure as hell wouldn’t have bought the product! But my husband bought it because of the words “fucking” and “bullshit”. He knew that I would get a big kick out of them.

The words “fucking” and “bullshit” don’t have the same impact in Germany as they do in America, just like the words “cunt” and “fag” don’t mean the same to Brits as they do to us Yanks. Hell, until very recently, there was an old village in Austria called Fucking. I should know, because Bill and I visited. We also visited Fuckersberg, Austria, because we’re nerds like that. Fucking recently changed its name after hundreds of years of being known as “Fucking”. Why? Because Americans kept stealing their road signs and doing things like having sex under the the signs. What a shame. Typical Americans ruining things for everybody.

Sigh… I really miss traveling. I look forward to the day when I can write a post on my travel blog that is actually about travel. But, for now, I will continue to get a big kick out of “fucking good Oatmilk” that makes “sexy Milchkaffee”. Except I don’t think I could bring myself to try oat milk… so maybe not. Bill is calling me to breakfast, so off I pop. Have a great Valentine’s Day!

While walking my dogs this morning…

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Zane and Arran having fun near where we live.

I ran into an elderly lady who, I have discovered on previous walks, speaks English fairly well.  She has two little pugs.  One is the usual fawn color and the other is dark brown.  They appear to be somewhat elderly, like their human companion.

This morning, I spotted the lady coming down one of the roads that lead to the nature trail in the park behind our house.  When we were close enough, she said good morning; then our dogs greeted each other.  The smaller dark brown pug wagged her tail as Arran sniffed her.  Zane stood off to the side with the other pug.

I looked up at the lady who said with a smile, “She is a very nice bitch.  Very friendly!  Like a child!” I stifled a giggle as the dogs finished socializing and we went our separate ways.

Of course, being a native English speaker, I know that it’s perfectly fine to refer to female dogs as bitches.  But as an American, I had to laugh when she said her bitch was “very nice”.  I may not see as many odd things in Germany as I do back home, but I have to admit that sometimes the cultural exchanges are pretty funny!

Scheiße!

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The vulgar German word for “shit” has the distinction of being among the very first words in German I ever learned.  It’s also among the only German words I ever learned, though my vocabulary expands on a daily basis.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Germans seem perfectly okay with saying the word Scheiße whenever it suits them.  I mean, in the United States, if you casually say the word “shit” in front of someone you don’t know, you run the risk of them not appreciating it very much.  But around here, it seems to be okay.

Not that I’m complaining.  I am a big fan of all words and use most of them at will.  I just think it’s interesting how people drop that word casually in conversations.  For example, last week, I met the German lady who cleans the apartments where we are.  She doesn’t speak English and I do not speak any German, though I can understand a little bit of what I hear.  I suspect her English skills are about the same as my German skills are.  As she was trying to talk to me, she said the word “Scheiße”, which I immediately recognized.

Another time several years ago, Bill and I were at a train station and a young woman was standing on the platform with a cell phone and a bottle of wine.  As she hung up, she said very loudly “Oh Scheiße!”  Apparently, she wasn’t worried at all about offending anyone.

The last time we lived in Germany, I asked our neighbor about this phenomenon.  I wondered if that word was considered “bad” here.  She said it was, but I guess culturally speaking, German people don’t get as upset about dirty language, just like they are a lot more liberal about nudity.

Hell, the other day, Bill and I were in the car listening to one of the few stations on which the music didn’t sound like a perpetual Mentos commercial.  A song came on; it was in English.  I don’t know who sang it or what the title of it was, but one of the lyrics included the word “motherfucker”.  As English swear words go, “motherfucker” is one of the biggies.  It’s a heavyweight insult one tends to bring out at the end of an argument.  And in the United States, you’d never hear that word uttered on the radio during broad daylight.  Maybe you’d hear it on a college radio station during safe harbor hours, but definitely not at 5:00pm when kids might be listening.

I think this shit is very interesting.  Maybe during this tour, I will make more of an effort to learn German… or at least German swear words.  I find them fucking fascinating.  But just to be safe, I’ll try to keep my language clean.

One of the less graphic pictures of Scheiße I found on Google…