"A lot of things aren't worth doing, but almost anything is worth telling."
Ursula K. LeGuin, "Shroedinger's Cat"

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mind Your Endings

"Im Himmel gibt kein Bier und so trinken wir es hier."
Between my sophomore and junior year of college, I spent a fabulous, unforgettable summer in Europe with my best friend Marty.  As wonderful as it all was, the summer had its fair share of misadventures.  We spent most of our time living and working in London as part of a work exchange program, and then took a whirlwind tour through other countries at the end of the summer.  The three weeks touring the continent (while again, fabulous) were a testament to poor planning.  We lost our guide book before we even left Great Britain, and I was perpetually broke and changed countries more often than my socks.
One of our stops was the resort town of Interlaken, Switzerland, which is in the German-speaking portion of the country.
I had been taking German in college; however, I had also been putting in my basic "C minus" effort, so I wasn't exactly what you'd call fluent.  Anyway, I stopped in a local bar while Marty was making his valiant (if ill-advised and unsuccessful) attempt to climb Jungfrau mountain.  I tried to order a small light beer by saying, "Eine kleine hell Bier, bitte."  The matronly typisch Deutsche Frau fixed me with her steely gaze and said, "Ein kleines hell Bier, bitte!"  I wanted to say, "Yeah, yeah, just gimme a fucking beer!"  But I just smiled sheepishly and shrank off into a corner of the bar.

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