Sieg Heil!

I am waiting on a table of Europeans, Germans to be exact, and they’re busy trashing the good old US of A.

When you wait tables you might as well be wearing an invisibility cloak because customers talk like you’re not even there. These guys didn’t care I’m standing right next to them. What’s worse, they’re not trashing our political figures, who I think are fair game; they are dissing the American people. The more they talk the angrier I get.

“They are uneducated.”

“Culturally illiterate.”

“Lazy.”

“Addicted to TV.” (Well he has a point there)

“Selfish”

My blood is boiling. I wonder how this scene would play out if the situation was reversed. Imagine me telling a waiter in the Potzdammer Platz that Germans are nice people but don’t piss them off – they can’t stop once they get going. That would go over like the Hindenburg.

So I smile and try to be professional. You have to deal with all kinds in this business. I start thinking of a beautiful German girl I spent a July Fourth weekend with, my German friend at the cigar shop, Porsche 911’s, Wagner, and Dab Ale in order to remind myself these jerks were not representative of all the Deutsch.

Then they just had to fuck with me.

Uber patron asks me if I’ve ever traveled abroad. I suspect he is wearing lederhosen under his pants.

“No sir I have only been to Canada.” (Sad but true)

The man throws up his hands and laughs. He speaks in rapid fire German to the others. They laugh. I don’t understand the words but I can gauge the meaning.

Sometimes when you wait tables people can make you feel very small. When that happens I get angry. I lose my professional reserve.

“Well my uncles went to Germany once.” I say.

“Oh yes? Where did they go? he says still laughing.

“They took the grand tour of the country in 1944 and 1945.”

The laughing stopped. I played the ultimate American redneck card. We might be illiterate, lazy, and uneducated – but we put your country to the fucking torch and don’t you ever fucking forget it.

I shock myself. I’ve crossed the line. Unemployment is imminent. I brace myself for the blitzkrieg

Then they shock me.

“We are a little drunk. We are guests in your country. I apologize.” Uber patron says.

“No sir I am sorry I was way out of line.”

“Don’t worry about it.” he reassures me.

They finish dinner, tip well, and tell the owner I am a good waiter on the way out. My faith in humanity, for today at least, is restored.

Shaken up I tell Rizzo, the head waiter, about the whole incident.

His face breaking out into a broad smile he walks away humming “Deutschland über Alles”

I love Germans now more than ever.

Auf Wiedersehen baby!


Comments

Sieg Heil! — 36 Comments

  1. hey there Im sorry but the Germans where rigth! im from norway and have been to both USA and germany pluss many ohter contries. but never have I encounterd a more self rigthious and cocky kind, like you americans.un eduacated… did you know than more than 80% of america have not and never will leave the continent! you have one of the poorest health care amoungst the verstern sosioty..and THE worst eduaction system!

    and the nerve of you to give a german, guilt for Hitlers deads…..are you responsible for Bush`s actions? ore Vietnam? remeber that you are not as powerfull as you`d like to belive “old Liberty”…not that liberated neither… Perhaps you shold take a lock for youre self an leave youre contry sometime….

  2. Waiter, ive got undying love for you, but to think that i well educated man such as yourself believes the homespun drivel that USA was the glorious reason behind the takedown of the Germans, i gladly ask you to think again. Come talk to one of my fellow Canadians, who were there for three years and basically had the Germans cowering in the corner when the Americans stroll in 3 years late to take on an already crumbling Nazi regime, and claim victory.

  3. Hey, I have visited Russia, and they perceived me as a German, and put me down regularly. Once I pointed out I was “Amerikanitz”, I was welcomed into their homes and befriended. I am German by heritage, and Irish, but to be honest the Germans do have a reputation, not entirely their fault. Read up on the Prussians, Live, Learn. the world will be a better place.

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  5. I think the anonymous person who wants to talk about how we are not eduacated should take themselves back to school! they couldnt spell the simplest words!

  6. I think we all need to shut up and see each other as fellow human beings and just love each other.

    No, I’m not a total hippie but I certainly agree with them on that point. :)

  7. Generalizations are generalizations. There’s exceptions. I happen to know very many smart, cultured Americans. You cannot blame an average American for our political system. Popular vote doesn’t go very far, not nearly as far as it should. So for everyone who thinks one country is better than another, just remember idiots are universal. And despising an entire country from news reports, internet reports, etc, is about as ignorant as the dumbest people Ive seen in my life.

  8. to anonymous(3) we actually are to blamefor bush since swe are the ones that voted for him and we do not need to leave the country we have virtually everything we need here. yea our health insurance policies suck *cough* bush *cough* and our schools arent that horrible i know that for a fact since me being 16 and in school.

  9. sorry for all the spelling mistakes as i said are schools arent horrible but they aint(i know thats not a word) that good either =)

  10. I wonder if “an American” would have reacted the same way the Germans did once they realized they’d crossed the line…

  11. “me being 16 and in school”
    Brilliant way to represent.

    It’s true, a lot of people in the USA have their priorities fucked up. A lot of us also don’t.
    I can’t say for sure, because I don’t know other countries and cultures that well (having never lived within them for any decent period of time), but I’d be willing to bet it’s the same way all around the globe. We’re all humans. No culture is any better or worse than any other, they’re just all different.

    Also, I don’t understand what’s wrong with never leaving your country. As long as you’re not discriminating against others because of ignorance, what does it matter how much you’ve seen of the world?

    I’ll never understand how people can be so full of hate for each other.

  12. Regardless of what any of you people have said, this story is amazing…I am not saying that our country is the best in the world, or anything pompous like that, but if you are going to stay in our country, why are you bashing it the entire time? If it’s so miserable and we’re so ignorant and everything sucks here, THEN DON’T COME. And if for some reason you have to be here, and you don’t like it, then keep your mouth the fuck shut.

    I would never go to another country and talk bad about the people there or anything like that, ESPECIALLY in front of them. It’s rude and obnoxious.

  13. newbie:

    I’m sixteen years old. If you’re going to explain to the readers of this blog that the American educational system isn’t all that bad, please use something approaching proper grammar. I know that they teach it in high school, since I’m still there.

    The American educational system has its faults, yes, but there are plenty of educated, intelligent, curious, disciplined, hard-working Americans. And Germans. And members of pretty much every race and nation. I think the idea here is that generalizations and stereotypes are, shockingly, bad.

  14. You know, Europeans who say that Americans “never leave their country” are idiots. The United States is the size of continental Europe. On its own. Add Canada, and that’s twice the size. Going from London to Paris is 350 km, give or take. That’s slightly shorter than the distance between Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. To go from New York to Los Angeles is 4000 km. Los Angeles to Seattle is 1500 km.

    I wonder what percentage of Germans have travelled to Odessa in the Ukraine, or Sofia Bulgaria? Those are slightly shorter distances than the trip from L.A. to Seattle.

  15. I work at a restaurant that has a lot of foreign patrons. Most are quite polite, however I’ve had similar experiences like this one. I once refused a man alcohol because he didn’t have a passport(the only form of international ID we are allowed to accept) and he got pissed. He said unlike me, obviously, he traveled extensively and is never carded. (doubtful in the U.S. at least, because he looked 15) Anyway he asked, “Do you even own a passport?” I told him yes, and he just scoffed and said, “Well, good for you.” in a very insincere tone.

  16. First of all “Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles” is the beginning of the first (of three) stanza of the “Deutschlandlied”. The third still is the German hymn (interesting story about the origin about that song and Nazis abusing it, but I trust the interested reader already Google’d it, yada yada yada).

    Well, anyway, I trust that there are stereotypes and assholes equally distributed all over the world. Additionally, stories about “stoopid America” sell well in Europe plus media is likes to sell and brainwash everywhere in the world gives you idiots everywhere.

  17. I think in Europe they’re are a lot of ‘stupid american’ comments in the media and elsewhere because it’s a way of releasing the feeling of powerlessness in the face of the Bush administration’s foreign policies. It also makes people feel slightly better about their own country even though the government in England are equally as scary! I’m just saying that people don’t really believe that Americans are in any way all the same, and definately don’t believe that they’re stupid, they just say it to sound clever and superior. Saying it to someones face is inexcusable but I think it was big of them to apologise, not like English football hooligans!!

  18. i was in another county where several countries were representing themselves through chants…U-S-A U-S-A U-S-A… OLEY OLEY OLEY OLEY…OZZY, OY! OZZY, OY!, OZZIE OZZIE OZZIE, OY! OY! OY!…every group wanted to learn everyone elses…super fun and by the end of the week none could tell who was from where based on their chants in the crowd….

  19. To the norweigan guy, get over it! seriously! Everyone is proud of their country and many do not have the honor or priviledge to travel because its very expensive. I have been to panama, canada, china, cozumel and taiwan. Ive been very lucky and blessed, but most can not afford to do what I did. I will visit other countries as well in the future, but in order to get respect, you have to give it.

    He was only defending himself and they were being rude. After what he said, they realized how rude they were being. Kudos to him! Treat everyone with respect and maybe this world will be a better place.

  20. Hey, Anonymous. If we are so uneducated then why are we the most powerful country in the world. Go back to your hole and pull your head out of your a$$.

  21. Hey.I Lived in Germany from 82-86,yup I was a G.I.and I liked the country.They admitted they were drunk and apologized,to me that shows some class.Now for the Canadian who said we were late to participate in the war,ya we came in 1941.Canadian loses were 42,789 dead..American loses 405,399.don’t ever question our commitment.So drink up and remember the right side won..thank ya..thank ya very much

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  23. lma0 the moment i read: “They took the grand tour of the country in 1944 and 1945…We might be illiterate, lazy, and uneducated – but we put your country to the fucking torch and don’t you ever fucking forget it.” i felt like applauding…i’m in love with you waiter!♥

  24. My personal favorites are the french people who speak freely in their own language thinking i cannot understand. I have overheard people talking to friends about affairs, a gay gentleman talking about my ass, a couple talking about what they plan to do to each other after the meal…

    i like to wait till they have payed and are on their way out before i go for the reveal, and tell them i hope they enjoyed their meal, and to have a nice evening, in french of course :D

  25. I think it’s something about visiting other countries that make even the polite people treat the locals like a zoo exhibit. I spent a sumner in oxford taking classes and visitng other countries over the weekend ( it is much less expensive to travel to other countries there just because of distance) my classmates (also American transfer students) spent most ofthe time there commenting “oh the English do this or don’t do this yadayada” mostly it was complimentary but it was still weird. I finally lost patience when they we’re talking about how “the English are more polite but they don’t talk to each other like we do in the south” and went on with examples of not being talked to by total strangers on the bus at the store ect. We ride marta together it Atlanta, each of us wearing iPods ignoring everyone around us. I just got so sick of the English this the English that, we are all people, look at the pretty buildings instead

  26. sometimes, alcohol really brings out the worst in people, huh?

    well everybody has an opinion, everybody has strengths and flaws. no use in pointing out the flaws in others when you yourself are not perfect. lets just all try to be humble.

  27. There is a family down the street from me; the mom is German and the father is French. The kids speak both languages AND English AND Spanish AND a bit of Latin. They are some of the nicest and smartest people I have ever met.

  28. I had 2 business men one night come in 30 minutes before the doors closed.

    After being belittled for about 30 minutes, and a few doubles of pricy scotch, one of the men said “you know why we are giving you a hard time right?”

    To which I responded “Because you hate your job, and you love to take it out on people who cant defend themselves”.

    Needless to say, both apologized, and I got 30% (even tipped on the $75.00 glasses of overpriced, over aged scotch).

  29. No, it’s not right to put the acts of the Nazis on all Germans, but neither is it fair to call all Americans dumb and uncultured. People in Europe, I think, don’t realize how large all of North America is compared to Europe. It’s far more expensive for us to travel to another country period than it is in Europe, just because of distance. Visiting New York as an American is a luxury if you don’t live in that part of the country – nevermind Italy. It’s really only the richest or those who get lucky with school scholarships/exchange programs who can go overseas. (It also doesn’t help that the new mindset with many Americans is that anyone in any other country will hate you and treat you like dirt on sight just for being from the States regardless of how polite you are to them. When you want to go on about how lovely, tolerant, and educated your country is, think about that.)

    Also, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re going – it is simply rude to speak badly of someone (especially a complete stranger) in front of them, even more so when they’re not in a position to defend themselves. In my opinion, the way these two were carrying on was the real display of a lack of education or culture. Luckily, both parties apologized in the end.

  30. I’ve traveled quite a bit in Latin America, living in Mexico for a period of time, and a 3 month stretch just exploring Central America. Visited Germany on a foreign language trip when I was in high school. The German tourist were 100% in the wrong. They behaved like uncultured classless individuals. Kind of like the stereotype of the “ugly American” they were drunkenly railing against. I’ve never, in any of my travels, seen an American tourist behaving in such an openly disrespectful manner towards the country in which they were guests. Could the waiter have made the same point in a less offensive manner? Probably, but he was right to take a stand.

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