Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My German History

My German teacher at school was Mr Buxton. A ruddy faced schoolmaster of the old fashioned tweedy variety that became extinct with wooden pencil boxes, inkwells and caning. Our nickname for this relic in tan Clarks shoes was Cabbage. The reason we called him Cabbage is far too cruel to go into here. But let’s remember children can be cruel. And anyway when it came to cruelty we had an extremely good teacher: Cabbage himself. If you’ll excuse my French, my German teacher was a right bastard. His favourite trick was to pull you out of your seat by your hair. If you failed to hand in your homework on time he would physically throw you around the classroom. (Back then bouncing 13-year-old boys off walls was regarded as a legitimate teaching method.) Cabbage also had an obsession with the colour of our socks. If he caught us wearing white socks, which in 1985 was very cool, Buxton would make us take them off and put them in the waste paper bin. We wouldn’t get them back at the end of the lesson either, so we had to spend the rest of the day with no socks on. This was not so cool. In fact it was a bit chilly. German then, wasn’t exactly my favourite subject and I dropped it as soon as I could. As a result my grasp of the language is pretty rudimentary. Though thanks to a youth spent watching Saturday afternoon war films, if ever I find myself in a WWII German prisoner of war camp I have gleaned enough German to scrounge important travel documents from gullible guards called Fritz. But now I have 37 minutes 7 seconds a day to dedicate to learning German once and for all. 37 minutes 7 seconds. That was the result of my experiment last Tuesday when I timed how long I spent on the toilet. That’s not bad, is it? Plenty of time to get to grips with a few verbs or whatever. And this time round I’ll be able to study German without having to worry about being yanked by my hair or having my socks confiscated. Compared to Cabbage’s lessons, it should be a breeze. Alles Gute!