Sunday 15 August 2010

I thought every German was you



My dad, a man without one redeeming defect, is conning people out of money again. No, correction: he’s been caught conning people out of money again. To say that he’s merely doing these things again makes it sound like he may have taken a breather at some point, but it’s all he knows.

I thought of sending him a note - it’s not at all kool to steal money, dad - but then realised that I don’t know his address in France and that spelling inkorrectly with K's is hardly kool, although there seems to be a lot of it about. Why would that be, do you reckon? I’ve asked myself this a fair few times and have yet to come up with an answer. I don’t exactly cry with despair when I see someone doing it, although I don’t exactly discount the prospect of doing so at some point in the future, either.

It’s like when you see someone using the @ symbol inappropriately. They may be writing something perfectly mundane, something along the lines of “I was at a concert last night, Tarquinella” – which is fine - but they choose to jazz it up with “I was @ a concert last night”, instead. What are we to make of such people? Well, to be fair, I make about this much of them – you’ll need to imagine my thumb and forefinger being held up and squeezed together at this juncture.

Did you like the use of “to be fair” in that sentence? I always appreciate the sly misuse of this ubiquitous inanity and try to employ it quite often, to be honest. And if alarm bells don’t ring when you hear someone using the words “to be honest”, then you’re probably not paying attention, to be fair. Kool.

It’s not @ all kool to steal money, dad, to be both honest and fair.

Talking of France, but whilst looking through a French phrase book the other day – in times of extreme mental disarray my normal reading material is forbidden because it envelopes me with an agitated despair as black as loss – I came across the following: Quelle est la plus haute montagne d’Europe? (What is the highest mountain in Europe?)

I’m calm, but does this seem like a useful phrase to you? I mean, unless you were extremely forgetful or simply didn’t pay attention to the answer, how many times could you actually use it? And why would you trust a French to give you the correct answer? These people are notoriously philosophical and it seems uncertain that the passing of such mundane knowledge would be their thing.

Quelle est la plus haute montagne d’Europe?
À mon avis? Ben Nevis. Pourquoi?
Pourquoi? Tu sais tres bien pourquoi.

Well, if they’re going to lie to your face and discombobulate you with a question of their own (so typically French), you need to hit back hard and fast. Even when I make them up, the French seem to annoy me. I’ll try again with someone else:

Bonjour, Monsieur, excusez-moi de vous deranger, mais…

Jesus. So sullen and unhelpful. What is it with these people? I don’t know why I bother with the imaginary French, I really don’t. For the imaginary record, I was talking to a tiny wee pump-attendant, three apples tall, in a petrol station just outside Rennes-le-Château (for all the good it did me).

Hmm. I seem to have strayed from the point, somewhat, and now the session’s over. As therapy goes, however, this was probably worth every penny. C'est une question de point de vue, mes amis, pour être tout à fait honnête.

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