Last year I proposed the establishment of a national Cuddle-a-German Day (Deutscher Kuscheltag). Once every twelve months, in every city and town in this land, from Bremen to Munich, Aurich to Zwickau, I suggested that Germans should be permitted to approach strangers, catch their eye, smile and then share a brief and disarming embrace.
The motivation for my proposal was the impression that many Germans suppress their innocent, individual impulses, imposing collective discipline on others, sapping joy out of life. To back me up I quoted Goethe who once wrote, ‘Germany is nothing, but every individual German is much, and yet the Germans imagine the reverse to be true’.
My campaign started after a visit to my local Lidl to buy a jar of gherkins. As I planned to be in and out of the supermarket in a minute, I didn’t take a shopping cart. But when I reached the till the teller admonished me. ‘You don’t have a cart,’ she observed.
‘I only need these pickles, and I have a bag,’ I replied, showing her my eco-friendly Oxford Book Festival canvas shopping bag. ‘This bag works in England.’
‘Next time you must have a trolley,’ said the teller, taking my money, moving on. But then the woman behind me in the queue started clicking her tongue. In complete earnestness she ticked me off, saying, ‘Young man, you have no trolley.’
‘Perhaps you should call the police,’ I suggested, trying to stir a modicum of humour into her soul.
‘We are simply informing you of the correct procedure,’ chipped in the teller, the two of them ganging up on me.
I left it at that but what worried me was the Lidl ladies never questioned that collective rules – however dotty – should take precedence over individual spontaneity. I had to use a trolley and no concession was to be made for not having one.
The incident made me ask why many Germans embrace conformity – or rather run scared of independent thought and action? Why create antagonism – either within ourselves or through conflict with another – and squash our sense of fun through the suppression of simple, spontaneous decisions? The answer seemed to be obvious: the Germans weren’t get enough cuddles. Hence my call for a Hug-a-German Day.
This being Germany the rules for the Deutscher Kuscheltag needed to be clear. First, the person embraced must be a stranger; second, the embrace must be spontaneous; third, participants must be sincere and sober (i.e. this isn't a drunken I'm-not-responsible-for-my-actions Karneval); fourth, there’s no going back to his/her place afterwards. These cuddles are not to be premeditated or used to further either ones love life or career. They exist solely for themselves, for the moment, to put a smile on someone’s face. For example: A likes the look of B, A embraces B, B’s sense of self-esteem increases on learning that he/she is liked; B now feels confident enough to embrace C, and so on. And best of all, on Deutscher Kuscheltag if you don’t agree with the rules you are permitted – nay, encouraged -- to change them.
Today I’d like to report that – although an official announcement of the Kuscheltag has been delayed (Frau Merkel has been preoccupied with saving the Euro, and avoiding the grateful embrace of Greek Prime Minister Papandreou) – the campaign has been a resounding success. Up and down the land German strangers have been embracing each other ... at least they were until Spain knocked die Mannschaft national team into third position at the World Cup.
So let’s keep up the good work and all embrace a German today. I’m playing my part by going back to Lidl – with a smile on my lips and without a shopping trolley. Together we can make the world a happier place, all because of a pickle.
Donnerstag, 22. Juli 2010
(Seite 1 von 1, insgesamt 1 Einträge)