Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Kid Charlemagne (Or, Krautastic Tuesday)

Even though I really wanted to study French, I took German in high school.

My sophomore year, our German class when to Ohio State to be a part of some German Day thing (hey, it was Ohio after all). There were various competitions held that day...and I was on our class's "German Culture Team".

Go figure.

Anyway, our team had to compete against other schools in various trivia challenges. The entire bus ride to Columbus, our overzealous, overbearing, overwrought German teacher berated us for not studying enough. He was convinced we would be knocked out of the first round - our German-laden heads to hang in deep, lederhosenisch shame.

He was German, after all.

In the first round of this odd "German Culture Bowl", our team realized our lack of studying really wasn't going to be much of an issue.

Case in point: the great conqueror Charlemagne is known in German as "Karl der Grosse" (Or "Karl der Große" if you're down with that...or "Charles the Great" if you need subtitles). The first team we had to compete against was blindly obsessed with Herr Karl as such:

MODERATOR: Who was the founder of Protestantism?

DUMKOPF TEAM ANSWER: Karl der Grosse.

MODERATOR: Whose diary was published in 1947?

DUMKOPF TEAM ANSWER: Karl der Grosse.

MODERATOR: Where was the movie The Sound of Music filmed?

DUMKOPF TEAM ANSWER: Karl der Grosse.

Needlesstosay, the next few teams we had to duke it out against weren't much snappier. We went home with the coveted German Bowl prize...much to the chagrin of our teacher.

On the way home that day, he could barely acknowledge his happiness that we had won.

"You were just lucky. I still think you didn't study enough."

And that's probably the highest compliment he ever paid us.

6 comments:

Tarek said...

I LOVE "Krautastic Tuesdays." It gets me through Tuesdays, which is arguably the shittiest day of the week for me.

Once "Berlin in Lights" starts up again, I will link Krautastic Tuesdays.

Trust.

Anonymous said...

But Charlemagne wasn't German.

T$ said...

anonymous...

Reread what I wrote ("Charlemagne is known in German as 'Karl der Grosse'"). He wasn't German per se - but he played a huge part of German history:

Today he [Charlemagne] is not only regarded as the founding father of both French and German monarchies, but as the father of Europe: his empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Romans, and the Carolingian renaissance encouraged the formation of a common European identity.

Tarek said...

anonymous:

Charlemagne's capital was also in Aachen (what the French call "Aix-la-Chapelle.)

Aachen is in Germany, not France.

joe said...

German Culture Bowl sounds right up my alley, baby. Too bad I never had that opportunity. The only thing our German Club ever did was make Apfelstrudel in the home-ec kitchen and go to cheesy old German musical films at the local theater that had screenings for the old ladies in the area, followed by Sauerbraten lunch at the local German restau.

If you really wanted to study French, why'd you end up studying German? As for me, I Could.Not.Wait to start German classes in 8th grade. Such Krautastic nerdiness, I tell ya.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to intrude on your conversation, boys. Grandma has traced our line back to Carolus Magnus (this could be a genealogist's delusion of grandeur; our reddish hair and height probably come from successive Viking invasions of the Jutland peninsula and Brittany coast) and I was a little shocked to learn that my family is remotely grosse or krautastic. Thank you for enlightening me.