Hailing from the land Down Under, I spend a great deal of my time debunking various myths regarding things that can kill you in Australia, and gleefully confirming horror stories regarding things that can kill you in Australia. Why yes the Box Jellyfish kills in mere moments, why yes its tentacles are over 60 metres long and a single brush with one is fatal. A shark could totally take down a croc! Spiders love hiding in your shoes, and snakes absolutely can get under doors! But don’t worry, they are more afraid of you than you are of them. The heat? Oh the heat! Suffocating, burning, the bowels of hell. But don’t cool off in water you can’t see through. There is probably a crocodile in there, or at least a highly venomous snake that can swim. Or a lost shark.
Occasionally, I toss the question back; is there anything in Germany that can kill me? Answer; not really (and I know all German readers are currently saying, ‘doch, Wildschweine!’). But if you really think about it, there are loads of things in Germany that can kill you.
We went to the bank recently, to open a new account. During our appointment, the Bankkauffrau went outside, cut down a tree, and set about systematically shaving off pieces of paper from the trunk. Thereupon three billion words were printed, with plenty of space left for multiple signatures, signatures that were so often demanded, I got a cramp in my hand. The entire lot was stapled altogether, and then we stood there as it rained paper until we could no longer breathe beneath the weight of Germany’s most beloved thing; paperwork.
It will kill you, or rob you of your sanity. Either or.
If barefeet don’t kill you, the stares and comments from people will.
Drafts // Open Windows // Irresponsible Durchlüfting
Many people make the mistake of thinking Germans don’t like open windows – it’s an easy mistake to make when you are sitting in a room of eight people with the windows fastened because someone wearing three pashminas is shivering and certain they’ll catch a cold. But in actual fact the Germans like open windows – just not permanently open ones. During the cooler months (so, you know, 80% of the year) the Germans practice Durchlüften, the process of allowing air to flow through the apartment/room/offices for a set amount of time, before the windows are duly shut once more. If you are truly serious about maintaining the balance of fresh air, and reducing the likelihood of mould, and increasing your own circulation, then you should Durchlüften multiple times a day for several minutes at a time. So, really, you will either die of stale air, of air that is too cold, or of the pure irritation of maintaining a responsible Durchlüften schedule.
Have you seen the portion sizes here? Schnitzels fall of plates, that Haxe is actually an entire baby cow, and in case you aren’t full from three kilograms of meat, here, have some potatoes smothered in cream and butter. Guten Appetit and Auf Wiedersehen pant button.
Technically speaking, a wild pig could totally kill you, especially if you happen to cross paths with a mother pig and her wild piglets and affect to want to steal a piglet. I assume, though, to try hard enough to cross paths with a mother pig and her piglets, you’d have to be rather desperate to get yourself maimed. That, or hunting, in which case … Team Wildschwein?
The Germans speak of wolves like the Winterfellians speak of winter. ‘The wolves are coming,’ they intone, as if just over the crest of that there mountain, a large pack of howling wolves are methodically, ominously approaching. I think one wolf, of the population of eighteen that apparently left Germany and took up residence in Eastern Europe, accidentally crossed the border one time and since then everyone has been certain the ‘wolves are coming back.’
Gigantic Seagulls After Your Pommes
Those things are not mere birds, they are the size of dragons, and they have no shame. They will kill for your pommes.
Supermarket Check-out Lines
One wrong move, one delayed grab, one wasted second, and you will die, with great indignity, and with no one offering assistance, beneath a pile of your own groceries.