Two Scowls

At an overnight, off-site workshop this week several things annoyed me.

Scowl #1 — don’t blow my cover, jerk.

I get along well with most of my work peeps, but at dinner I got trapped sitting across from someone I already know too well, but in the spirit of cooperation and not reconciliation, I decided to hope for the best. And there was also a loner guy from…Berlin, I think…someone who arrived late and had to sit next to…you guessed it…me. “Swell,” I thought to myself. “Let’s see how long I can ‘pass’ among a fellow non-Bavarian.” As it does among people who don’t really want to talk to each other, the conversation quickly turned to travel. It seemed the jelly donut was lamenting an upcoming business trip to the U.S.A.

Jerkydude across from me:

Oh, hey, make sure you have enough U.S. cash on you so they’ll let you into the country! How much is he going to need, Cliff?

I could tell the jig was up — no chance at going unnoticed now. I decided to bite and draw him out.

Why the heck are you asking me?

And he came back with

Well, you’re the American among us, you should kn…

And I cut him off with

Hallo! I get in for free. You should ask someone they charge!

I am pretty sure he felt like he needed to inform my mark of my nation of origin, thereby blowing my cover. He does stuff like that — calling attention to things that others prefer not to highlight, and not just around me (but we share an office, so I’m a frequent target).

Scowl #2 — don’t belittle me for not knowing your names for imported entertainment

Some Germans at our table decided they wanted to teach our resident Mexican and visting Romanians how to play Watten, a card game. The game requires an old German deck (click this link to see the four suits) and I didn’t know what an Eichel was in German, and they didn’t know in English.


It’s the small fruit of an oak tree, you know, what Ahörnchen and Behörnchen are always trying to collect.




You mean you don’t know Ahörnchen and Behörnchen!? They’re American! Dissnay trick film!

Me, figuring it out:

Oh, OK. I get it. The chipmunks. Right. Their names in English are Chip and Dale.

Jerkydude, pantomiming dance moves:

Woo-hoo! Chippendales! Oh yeah, baby! Can you believe that’s what they’re called in America?


You seem like a big fan. How much have you spent on tickets over the years?

Jerkydude, just realizing he’s stepped in it:

What? I’ve never seen them. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like that.

Jelly Donut to me, perhaps inspired by Herky Jerky:

There was a movie about regular guys who did that, have you seen that one?

Me, unsure where this is going:

Uh, maybe?

Jelly Donut:

Yeah, you know — the miners who needed the money after getting laid off.

Me, relieved:

Oh wait, yeah. That sounds familiar. What was that called? It was set in…uh…[voice-over voice]Sheffield — City on the Move! I thought it was cute. But what was it called? Oh, “The Full Monty.” Yes.

Jelly Donut:

I don’t think so.

OK, never mind.