Sunday, March 16, 2008

Europe '08

My minion, Professor Chaos (see blog entry October 24, 2007), left for a short tour of Europe the other day with the stated purpose of tormenting the French, harassing the Germans, and totally ignoring the Swiss (if he has a spare moment). Before he left we spoke at length regarding how he should comport himself whilst checking out the sights of old Europe (as my good buddy Don Rumsfeld used to call it) and he said that my greater experience, acting-like-a-knob-wise (if that’s a word), was something he would be totally, if not entirely, depending on.

“Take France, for example,” he said. “I’ll be in Paris for a couple of days, then I intend to roam around the country-side and make sure that they’re not getting up to anything out there. Is there anything special I should know?”

“Ah yes, France,” I answered, “the only country in the world where the common yard-snail is considered a culinary delicacy. Actually that pretty much tells you everything you will ever need to know about the French right there. Imagine, mighty French hunters combing the vegetable gardens of France, tracking the wily snail. Then ‘oh, ho, ho’ the hunter whispers as he sights his quarry, ‘les snail!’ Slowly he sneaks up on the unsuspecting critter, then the hunter leaps and with a squeal of ‘oo-la-la’ he raises the snail in one limp-wristed fist. Mission accomplished.”

“Right,” commented Professor Chaos. “Snail hunters.”

“That’s right, and it doesn’t end there, my long-haired minion,” I continued. “The captured snails are packed up in old boxes and shipped all over the French landscape, to little bistros and wine-shops and whatnot where the shells are muscled off and then they’re drowned in boiling garlic butter and served to some Frenchmen along with cheap red wine, a deck of smokes and a doughnut. This is what the French call civilization.”

“Okay. What else do I need to know?”

“French chicks don’t shave their armpits. That and snails and you’re good to go. Oh, and they don’t call them snails either. They call them ‘escar-something’, so don’t be fooled.”

“Right, and that’s it?”

“Pretty much. There’s a lot to see there, all of it designed and/or built by other people of course. The French spend too much time on strike and on days off to actually accomplish anything. Like there’s that Triumph thing, built by the Romans, and that tower, the Eiffel or whatever. Designed and built by some Egyptian dude. The pyramid shape is a dead giveaway. Then there’s that painting of Mona there, painted by some Italian. It’s kind of famous. They made a movie about it, I think. Here.” I handed him a twonie (a Canadian two dollar coin). “I want you to throw that off that Eiffel tower thing.”

The Professor looked a little worried. “Aren’t you worried I might his someone?”

“Not really. I figure if you do it’ll be a Frenchman and I’m okay with that. Besides, the worst you can do is knock the cigarette out of his hand. What I want you to do though is try to hit one of those crappy French cars. I think they’re called Roulettes or something. Try to put it through the roof.”

“Right,” he said, jotting down a quick note, “crappy French car. Now what do I need to know about the Germans?”

“Germany is a whole different pail of eels from France. Remember, the French surrendered during the last World War (although to be fair, the French understand that the War started in 1939 and not in 1941 like some people seem to think), while the Germans had to have their butts kicked for them. That gave them two losses with no wins and I think they’re still kind of bitter about it.”

“Alright. So I should be ready for them to be rude?”

“Actually the Germans, or ‘Square-heads’ as they like to be called, are always rude. I’d be more concerned about them trying to make you listen to some horrible opera or ‘techno’ music and then trying to make you eat bratwurst, which is just sausage with a weird name. You probably won’t be able to get a decent stick of pepperoni while you’re there but they’ll be jamming “schnitzels” and “wurst” at you daily so be ready.”

“Right, schnitzels and wurst. Anything else?”

“Well it’s like General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett said during the trench warfare of World War One, ‘I wouldn’t lick a German if he was glazed in honey!’”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” asked my ever-curious minion.

“Nothing in particular,” I reassured him. “Let’s just call it a heads up. The Germans can be a strange people.”

“And what about the Swiss?”

“Forget about them. Nobody likes the Swiss. Get me a picture of a mountain and of one of those Swiss-guard guys. Enjoy your trip.”

So he’s gone now and I can only hope and pray that he listened to what I had to say. One of the best parts of travelling is knowing that you are superior in every way to the people you are visiting.

Anyway… Humouroceros

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