Friday, August 24, 2012

the best life

As many young people return to campus and college classes, I am reminded that student life is indeed the best life.

In German that notion is summed up in a famous old saying, Studentenleben ist das beste Leben, which probably dates all the way back to Heidelberg University itself where, I was once told, some lucky student gets to live in an apartment inside the tower gate on the Old Bridge, seen in this Web photo.

I myself was first introduced to the German adage during my own student days at Hamburg University, which was also a very long time ago. I figured the idea was true enough but never sincerely appreciated its significance until many years later. I suppose that lag is typical for a slow learner and erstwhile exemplar of that other well worn aphorism, namely, "Youth is wasted on the young."

The other day some guy on the bus was talking to a woman about the German language. He said, Was ist los and explained how he had learned it while in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany. Then he pronounced another word he remembered from his Army days in Deutschland: Arschloch. If he puts it all together he can say "What’s up, asshole?" in German. I guess that’s about all the German language you really need to know.

It reminds me of the custodian I knew who tried to teach me the only two phrases he could remember from his native Welsh. Kaira droos meant close the door and there was a second phrase which I can't recall, but spoken together it was something like, "Give me a beer and close the door."

Now what more do you really need to say ... Arschloch?

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