Sunday, November 29, 2009

Are the British too funny?

Do the Germans take life too seriously or are we, the Brits in the wrong for making a joke of everything?

Personally I think that life's too short to make a drama out of it, if there's humour to be had or irony then I'm there (I don't do the laughing at other's misfortunes and I loathe and detest slapstick - Mr Bean and Laurel&Hardy leave me cold).

I think it's a very British thing or maybe it's part and parcel of the English language (I'll have to check with the Aussies, Yanks & Canadians in my English Bookgroup) to see the funny side of something, to twist words around and just generally not to take life seriously.

A while ago now I fell out with a German friend (well, actually, she fell out with me...but she's like that - read 'with friends like these' - same friend...) We were happily walking with Logan along the river, chatting away (she speaks very good English, although clearly some things get lost in translation - as happened here) when she said she'd been at college that week, learning some new skills, including 'blind typing'. Quick as a flash I responded 'why? when are you planning to go blind?'


I was supposed to know that her Gandmother had gone blind.

I tried to explain that the English term would be 'touch typing' anyway and not 'blind typing' but she wasn't happy. Really, really, not happy. Barely spoke for the rest of the walk and then there was no contact for several weeks - I can't remember now who made the first move...I don't think it was me as I was determined that I hadn't been in the wrong...

See, we love to make a little joke, twist a meaning, to laugh - more often than not at ourselves!

Even cards here are humourless, 10 out of 10 to the Germans for not jumping on the Hallmark bandwagon and producing cards for every occasion possible, but the cards that one can buy here are DULL, DULL, DULL - I have resorted to bulk buying in advance on odd trips to the UK and even (for a couple of special birthdays coming up) asking friends in England to buy something appropriate and post it over - desperate measures eh?!!
Anyway, last year Simon got to spend almost 2 weeks before Christmas in hospital and received lots of 'get well soon' cards from UK friends and rellies - they were almost all, when not rude certainly on the blacker side of humour, the staff in the hospital who paused to read and translate these cards were quite shocked by the (as they saw it) unfeeling sentiment of the cards although they were impressed by the number of cards - as I said, Germans don't do cards...

This Thursday there was a break out at the local high security prison 2 dangerous guys are now on the loose in the area. The first we were aware of it was helicopters flying repeatedly overhead Friday night and Saturday morning.
My friend Rebecca and her husband Sam were at (German) friends nearby on Friday evening for dinner, the helicopters were overhead and Sam and his eldest child thought it was a great hoot to stand out in the garden, waving up at the helicopters, while the friend was inside begging them to come in.
Meanwhile last night (the baddies are still 'at large') Jasmine had a friend to dinner (& to sleep over), Luisa told us how the police had been in their road earlier, to which Simon jokingly told her that it wouldn't matter if the baddies were in her garden that night as she was sleeping at our house...and then to emphasize the point asked where her mother was sleeping
- I kicked him hard under the table.
English humour is often not grasped by Germans, let alone 8 year old Germans...

See, we can't even take the escape of murderous criminals seriously!

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