A very short post now, for once…
As we just finished speaking about ‘Gesundheit!’, a funny German word, let me tell you right away also my Best German Joke – actually the only German joke I know, but I’m sure it is the one I like best anyway for I still remember it from when I was a little girl:
It’s in Berlin, after the end of World War II.
A lot of work is going on, for Berlin has been heavily destroyed by the bombs, and needs to be rebuilt.
Many volunteers, women as well as men, are employed on numerous constructions sites here and there all over the place.
A Very Important Visitor from abroad, a diplomat, is being shown around by someone who knows good English and is aware of whatever in the German culture will seem peculiar to non-Germans.
They arrive at a big construction site, so big that the whole compound has been walled in, for the work inside not to be disturbed. The guide brings the VIP near the wall and explains to him that on the other side of that wall, hundreds and hundreds of workers are working day and night .
The VIP smiles obligingly, and remarks:
‘Well, the work seems to be advancing quite fast actually, you already have trains going in there!…’
Perplexed, the guide answers:
‘Sorry, sir, you are mistaken, we haven’t got any train in there at all, far from it, it’s still a big construction site only.’
The visitor frowns, wondering what the guide is trying to hide by lying:
– Please don’t take me for a fool… Anyone could hear the sound of a train going on the other side…’
– But there is no train whatsoever, sir, I can assure you!
– Come on, why are you denying it! Don’t you hear it yourself?!
– I’m sorry, sir, I don’t know what you are talking about!
– So, can you tell me what that sound is, then?!?
And the visitor pulls angrily his guide closer to the wall, so that both of them can put their ears on the enclosure.
The guide listens for a minute, and then faces again the VIP, shaking his head with an apologetic expression:
– Oh no, sir, it is not a train… You know, the German people are always very disciplined in their work, and they are very polite too. So on the other side of this wall you have these hundreds of people passing bricks to each other constantly, and so all the time while they are passing the bricks they are saying to each other, ‘Danke schön, Bitte schön, Danke schön, Bitte schön, Danke schön, Bitte schön, Danke schön, Bitte schön, Danke schön, Bitte Schön…’