Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Scheiße...

Avec nos excuses à Rumbear...
So, in German the title of this post is a "bad word". It's English equivalent is normally not spoken in polite company in the English speaking world. However, one of my German friends assures me that, while not exactly a polite term, it's not as rude in German as it's English equivalent is. Auf Deutsch it's more like the term in the opening picture. "Ah crap."

What "inspired" this post was an incident at work. Yes boys and girls, I had one of those "ah crap" moments. Nothing dire or catastrophic. Just one of those "I just wasted a day and a half because of someone else's mistake."

"Ah crap..."

Now I actually walked back to my cubicle, sat down, tossed my cap on the desk, stared at the ceiling and muttered, "Scheiße". (While I'm here, I'll mention that the "
ß" character in German is pronounced as a double-"s". It's known in German as the "eszett". Many Germans don't even use that "ß" character anymore. I do. I'm a purist. I'm also not German. Much to many people's surprise. I seem to be as Teutonic as they come. Huh. Go figure.)

So after muttering 
"scheiße", I also muttered "ah crap". Just to let the Fates know what I meant. (Do the Fates ever get confused? Probably not, they are, after all, mythological beings and therefore not real. To which, no doubt, they would answer "scheiße". Or it's Greek equivalent. Which may or may not be "σκατά".)


Google Translate has a much stronger meaning for "scheiße" than I have provided here. Apparently involves fire trucks, if you get my drift. Google Translate prefers "scheiß" without the trailing "e" for the way I use it. As in "ah crap". As I lived in Germany for over seven years, I'm comfortable with my translation of "scheiße", though either would be correct. Germans generally go with the "ah crap" translation in my experience.)

The Missus Herself knew what the word meant. Her German was very limited. I think it consisted of "scheiße", "ja" and "nein". I'm not criticizing here. My wife speaks two languages very capably. I speak one semi-capably and three or four others badly. Her fluency in two trumps my "okay in one" and "can order a beer" in three others, any day of the week.

But it would freak her out when she heard the little German kids yelling "
scheiße" all the time. (There was one kid in the neighborhood, Marcos, who was always saying that. I think it was the only word he knew.)

Feeling down? Say "scheiße".

Favorite team just lost
? Say "scheiße".

Didn't get that big promotion at work
? Say "scheiße".

Some oblivious idiot cut you off in traffic
? Say "scheiße".

What a marvelous and useful word "scheiße" is.

Of course, if you speak French, "merde" works too.

And people say I don't know 
scheiße...

10 comments:

  1. ... "can order a beer" in three others...

    But you DO have yer priorities right. ;-)

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    1. I also know the second-most necessary phrase in those languages. That I'll leave to your imagination.

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  2. It's one of the few words that I remember from undergrad German classes; that, and "Maschinengewehr". That one came in handy when we were playing some stupid game where, when called upon, we had to ask our fellow classmates if they had various items with them (in German, of course), until we finally got someone to admit that they did not have one, at which time, that person was now "it" and stuck asking everyone. Surprisingly, the first person I asked did not have one on their person, so I was quickly off the hook and they were on it. "Haben Sie ein Maschinengewehr?" Silly game.

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    1. My German instructor in high school was always amazed at how quickly I picked up German military terms. My German colleagues in NATO were also amazed at my knowledge of German military technical terms. Panzerkampfwagen is one of my favorites. Also Leichter Panzerspähwagen, I could go on and on. But I won't.

      Well played on that game though, well played.

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  3. No offense taken. (FYI, that's my cousin doing the Facepalm. He is the actor in the family) Languages.....I have noticed the French seem to have a different word for everything. Undaunted, I studied Canadian for a few years and can easily order a rum & coke throughout the Provinces. So, yannow, I have that going for me.

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    1. Your cousin? Same one who was shopping for a new truck a while back?

      Yeah, those French. Clever aren't they? (Some of my ancestors hail from La Belle France.)

      I hear that the nuances of Canadian can easily trip up the neophyte.

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  4. I like @$$#o!e more than scheisskopf, but find them interchangeable.

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    1. Yes, has more of an impact doesn't it?

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  5. I'm always glad to increase my limited knowledge of foreign languages, so I thank you. I'm mostly hopeless at them. I like to say I'm a specialist in English, but that's just a nice way of saying I have little to no grasp of any other tongues. I am always in awe of anyone who can speak more than one fluently.

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    1. Same here. I dabble in languages. Had a Dutch friend in Germany who spoke: Dutch, German, English, French and Swedish. All pretty much fluently. I was impressed to say the least!

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)