Subject: Oompah

Date: 12 Oct 1998 00:00:00 GMT

From: dads@new.slacks (Dads)

Organization: EarthLink Network, Inc.




This may not interest you at all. Perhaps it means nothing. Tell the

truth, it's already faded from my mind, but at the time it seemed loaded

with import.


It was this German thing. It got overwhelming, just completely took over

my brain for a couple of days. It actually started several weeks ago, when

we landed a big new client: the North American stepchild of a huge German

manufacturing company. Before long, people were joking around with German

accents all the time, reminding each other never to mention the war. There

was one particularly good crack about this client's "Special Service"

program - it seems all the mechanics had "SS" embroidered on their



Cute stuff, right? Well this past week, it reached some sort of peak.

Perhaps not the Matterhorn, but noticeable nonetheless. We had a dozen or

more new projects underway for the client, who was literally issuing

ORDERS at this point. And my German awareness was heightened

commensurately. Every mention of things Germanic on the tube was picked up

by my pointy ears. One morning on the bus, out of the blue the other Dad -

who loves to spout his opinions about politics and world affairs - started

talking about the new German chancellor, how the only difference between

him and Clinton was that he MARRIES his mistresses. I nodded silently,

thinking to myself "ach du leiber."


Then someone at work decided to have an Oktoberfest party Friday

afternoon. This was after we went out the night before to sample the debut

pouring of another client's new microbrew...a LAGER. Authentic German

recipe. Yum yum. Well, the first one tasted pretty damn good, but the

second one made me sick.


For the O-fest party, they brought in a case of Beck's and a pile of wurst

(the wurst thing in the vorld for you), soft pretzels and mustard, pickles

and muenster cheese and rye bread. Naturally, I brought the tapes: dubbed

my "ALL TIME GERMAN HITS" record that I had picked up a few years ago in

the free bin at the used vinyl store - lots of accordians and

polka-your-eyes-out numbers and oompah ditties and everybody's favorite,

"How Much Is Dat Dachshund In Der Window?" I also brought along a 3rd

level German language instruction tape just for good measure.


So there we were at 4 o'clock on Friday, drinking the Beck's and listening

to the tapes, someone wearing a Sgt. Schultz-style steel helmet. Does it

sound absurd to you? Or just the pink antics of a bunch of bored business

people? No matter, it was definitely absurd to me. I looked around the

room and tried to imagine what was going through people's minds. Were they

amused? Offended? Uncomfortable? Or just couldn't care less?


I suppose it was just a way to get it out of our system. By the end of the

afternoon, the German jokes were certainly played out. That is, until

somebody flipped on the TV and "Hogan's Heroes" was airing on TBS. Love

that Colonel Burkehalter!


There's no more to tell, really, but you insisted on a story, and this -

believe it or not - is the most interesting thing to happen to me over the

past week. Well, there was one more thing. That night was the weekly Dad's

New Slacks obligation, and although you might think I would've gone for

the obvious German theme for my show, semi-consciously I made sure there

wasn't an iota of German content in my bag. However, the Teutonic gods got

in one last lick anyway - I pulled an ID cart at random and popped it on

between sides of the Hour of Slack, and wouldn't you know, it was in

GERMAN (followed by English translation)!


And now as I write this, listening to the radio as I put on the finishing

touches, Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" has just come on. The long version. My

god, it's not over yet!!



dad's new slacks

po box 4722 portland me 04112-4722