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Germans and Me

German Cockroach: Mine didn't have the pin in it. Does that mean it was going to explode? I don't know what's more disturbing, finding a German cockroach in my sink, or the fact that they're called "German." I mean, it's … Read More

By / September 25, 2007

German Cockroach: Mine didn't have the pin in it. Does that mean it was going to explode?German Cockroach: Mine didn't have the pin in it. Does that mean it was going to explode?

I don't know what's more disturbing, finding a German cockroach in my sink, or the fact that they're called "German." I mean, it's a little disconcerting right? The French have kissing, toast, doors and even a kind of broom. All of it either very pleasant or just extremely useful in tight spaces. (French doors, what were you thinking?)

But Germans, what do they have? World Wars, that's what. And cake. And cockroaches.

Now I say this as a German myself. I mean a real German because they gave me citizenship. Sure I had to go over to the consulate on 50th street and show them the papers that proved my mother and her mother had been born in Landau in Der Pfalz. And by show them, I mean go into an enclosed bullet proof glass cubicle with doors that locked on the outside and deposit my mother's papers into a bomb proof receptacle that was passed between myself and the German consular official, who then removed, with either dispassion or thinly disguised passion, all of the non-essential documents that showed how my mother had been rounded up with the other Jews of the Palatinate and taken to a concentration camp in France. (And this is not the good "kissing" and "broom" kind of France.)

So now I'm a German, and I note that my documents say that I will be until I die, but that my children, should I have any, will not be allowed to inherit this condition. On the other hand, my mother, who avoided telling me she was from Germany until I was in high school, and pretended not to have much knowledge of the years 1940 to1945, would have been unhappy to hear that her son had become one.

And maybe that's why I'm not so happy with the cockroach. Because I can go from an article I was going to write about German as an adjective and end up in the holocaust. And perhaps I should, as my girlfriend suggests, seek some therapy.

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