Saturday, February 17, 2007
I did a good thing this week. I taught a handful of Americans and Brits a very important German word: Absacker. It started out as a very civil evening with my former colleagues from The Hollywood Reporter, who were in Berlin for the film festival. And it remained civil, even through such complicated linguistic lessons as "doch" and "Fick dich ins knie" (hard to translate). Nothing seemed to phase them.Then I made the mistake of teaching them "Absacker." "Absacker" is one of those words that only German has, like, well, "doch" and "Fick dich ins Knie". It's a word word that only a language can have whose people know how to enjoy life. And these friends of mine, though not German, know how to enjoy life. Now they also have a word to go with it. "Absacker" means literally "the faller-over" and it refers to the last drink of the evening. But the beauty of "Absacker" is that "last drink" is a very relative term. You never know which of the Absackers of the evening will be the actual faller-over. Depends on the evening, and an Absacker-evening gets better as it goes along. That's the beauty of the Absacker.