All manner of fluidity

I sometimes like to imagine that bread is not a carbohydrate. ‘Oh, I’m low carb/paleo’, I say stuffing another triangle of egg soaked toast into my mouth and then chasing it down with bacon and breakfast tea (The full English is pretty much the best thing the English ever did for the world*… even when viewed on a list that contains luminaries like John Locke and William Shakespeare)

*this is also the pretty much the most heretical thing a German can say (and may be grounds for the cancellation of your citizenship… and in the old days cause for a dark grey Trabant to be parked outside your house)

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My friends look at me askance, a look that suggests they wouldn’t trust me to babysit their children. ‘Well these days men can be women, and women, men’, I say authoritatively, ‘I think I’m entitled to believe this bread is in fact carb-free’.

‘I don’t think it works like that’, comes a jaundiced retort . ‘Really?’ I say, taking the opportunity to catch my breath. Breakfast of this sort tends to appear, to the uninitiated, akin more to inhalation than ingestion and is usually only interrupted under dire circumstances, like duress… or asphyxiation. ‘Why not?’

I like to be proved wrong. Which happens quite often. But I don’t mind, my ego is (generally) not wrapped up in my assertions. And besides I’m still looking for a good argument as to why gender fluidity should be taken seriously by supposedly rational human beings.

Today is not my day. My fellows that have joined my early morning repast, while borderline progressives, are not ones for solid suppositions to back up their belief system. I don’t really mind. They make up for their deficiencies in discourse with good looks, white teeth and ample bosom. I like to be seen with them (proving how shallow I actually am), and I, in turn, occasionally make them laugh with my contrarian ideas and off beat humor. Although I also sometimes think I’m their charity case… a token of inclusion and that they’re laughing because it would be awkward not to. (I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t of course, I’m quite happy to laugh at my own jokes)

Still, we play nicely because we agree on eighty or ninety percent of everything else. Seems sad to have to harp on the 10% (or 20%) of things we disagree on. Also did I mention they are incredibly good looking?

Toddler wrangling for beginners

‘We have modest goals now. Like trying to get out of the house at 7am. Why are we so bad at this?’ – My wife, seventy-twenty-three.

…while I drag the almost three year old towards the car by her ankles. The old gods, Wotan and Freya raise their clipboards in unison, I’m in serious jeopardy of loosing my status as a bona fide German, punctuality is not an optional extra in this geographically bound subcategory of Homo Sapiens. I may have to haul out some cultural stereotypes to rack up some quick credit. Socks and sandals (apparently) is a surefire ten points to ease me back into the Teutonic bracket.

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Most days it feels like this though… maybe its the threat of violence and ironclad discipline that is lacking? Maybe we should enroll my daughter in assassin school instead of a more traditional kindergarten. (A lot of my favorite fantasy books start like this) But then we’d have to fear for our lives as well deal with the constant frustration of a toddler exerting her will. I’m not sure I’m ready for that level of constant vigilance. I already got eye-gouged once this morning (she gets her dirty fighting prowess from her dad, I’ve genuinely never been this proud)

On the plus side, I feel confident about being able to transition from early-stage parenting to hogtying livestock in Montana (should I ever need a change in vocation) … I look forward to being able to assert with confidence that this, ‘is not my first rodeo’, and for once, actually mean it.

Prussian Traits

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Preußische Tugenden (I thought that these to a degree approximated some of the Stoic values) refers to the ‘virtues’ associated with the Kingdom of Prussia (The historical driver of German unification… although… it wasn’t really a ‘Kingdom’… they just didn’t want to be left out). These traits or virtues were integrated into the militarism and the ethical code of the Prussian Army (there wasn’t a clear distinction between state and the military)

‘While most states have an army the Prussian army has a state’ – Voltaire

These ‘bourgeois’ values were heavily influenced by Lutheranism and Calvinism and as time has passed also significantly influenced wider German culture, in so far as they have become analogous to the contemporary German stereotypes of efficiency, austerity, and discipline.

  • Austerity or Thrift (Sparsamkeit)
  • Courage (Mut)
  • Determination (Zielstrebigkeit)
  • Discipline (Disziplin)
  • Fortitude without self-pity (Tapferkeit ohne Wehleidigkeit): Lerne leiden ohne zu klagen(“Learn to suffer without complaining”)
  • Frankness (Redlichkeit)
  • Godliness coupled with religious tolerance (Gottesfurcht bei religiöser Toleranz): Jeder soll nach seiner Façon selig werden(“Let everyone find salvation according to his own beliefs”)
  • Humility (Bescheidenheit)
  • Incorruptibility (Unbestechlichkeit)
  • Industriousness (Fleiß)
  • Loyalty (Treue)
  • Obedience (Gehorsam): Seid gehorsam, doch nicht ohne Freimut(“Be obedient, but not without frankness”)
  • Punctuality (Pünktlichkeit)
  • Reliability (Zuverlässigkeit)
  • Restraint (Zurückhaltung)
  • Self-denial(Selbstverleugnung)
  • Self-effacement (Zurückhaltung): Mehr sein als scheinen!(“More substance than semblance!”)
  • Sense of Duty or Conscientiousness (Pflichtbewusstsein)
  • Sense of Justice (Gerechtigkeitssinn): Jedem das Seine or Suum cuique (“May all get their due”)
  • Sense of order (Ordnungssinn)
  • Sincerity (Aufrichtigkeit)
  • Straightforwardness (Geradlinigkeit)
  • Toughness (Härte): Gegen sich mehr noch als gegen andere(“Be even harder on yourself than on others”)