I try not to be an old fuddy duddy. I can listen to 18 whole seconds of rap or R&B before rolling my eyes and weeping for the human race. Though I can’t believe how promiscuous girl’s clothing is these days, I enjoy it to a pathological level. And when my students mock me for using outdated slang, I resist the urge to tell those beeotches that they can eat my shorts, whilst reminding myself that I am, in fact, the bomb.
Nothing makes me feel more like a fuddy duddy than grumbling about a PDA, (or using the term ‘fuddy duddy’). A PDA, if you are not privy to this outdated term, stands for a public display of affection. In layman’s terms: making out in public.
And the Czech Republic is the global capital of the PDA.
We’ve just watched James Tiberius Kirk, rebellious and adventurous Captain of the Starship Enterprise, kick some butt. He kicked Klingon butt, he kicked Star Trek villain butt, and he even kicked a little human butt. He was joined in these adventures, of course, by Spock, Bones, Scotty, Sulu, a few very attractive ladies, and a bunch of doomed guys in red shirts.
The cinema is full of the exact people you expect will see Star Trek at an IMAX cinema. The room is a testament to the chubby white male. And Collin. Though there are only ten women in the room, there are well over 200 breasts. I mock these people, and yet I resemble them so much so that I could be on a poster for the movie called: Chubby White Trekkie.
I realize this as I poke my fun: I somehow set myself apart from these people. Even more alarming is the realization that this isn’t the first time I have mocked a group that I belong to.
I am in the fortunate position to both love my parents and live 4,166 miles away from them. I only lived in their basement for 6 months after graduating before getting in a car and driving away with a CD rack and a pocket full of psychological issues.
Like many people who live far away from their parents, and George Costanza, I enjoy a Sunday afternoon call. The call comes either before or after I meet a friend for my Sunday evening Czech lesson with beer. And this is perfect since I either need the soothing effects of beer during the conversation or directly after.
My Sunday calls are phenomenal. They are comforting, enjoyable and fun. I catch up on the goings on of my Hobbit like clan and hear the neighborly gossip that can only be enjoyable after spending a decade in another country. I hear about baseball, football and the bowel habits of my niece and nephew, who are both of an age that this is not wildly inappropriate.
The Sunday call puts front and center the quirks that I have come to know and love about my parents.
I wonder if anyone really notices a plague on its first day. I am guessing that people might just say things like: “Gosh, I can’t remember the last time I saw a locust,” or “Jiminy, there sure is a lot of pestilence afoot today.”
On the first day of our biblical Plagues here in Prague, I say, “Geez, it’s been raining like crazy.” Still, I don’t think about the Bible or plagues. I think that I live in central Europe, which means bad restaurant service, legal prostitution, and rainy springs. And then I go back to my television show, which is about an apocalypse. I should see the premonition.
Rain and Hail
On the third day of almost literally unrelenting rain and a constant veil of darkness, I feel as though Prague is the setting for a horror or thriller movie of some sort. The dark skies are a perfect backdrop to a Hitchcock flick, and the continual rain is straight out of Se7en.
Still, in the back of my mind some little guy is standing on a hill asking the skies, “And what exactly is a cubit?”
Working with young people forces an old fogie to accept lots of things in the world. I am very aware that almost everything about me is outdated. I dress like a pensioner, I don’t understand Twitter, and I only have a passing knowledge of Justin Bieber. I am certainly not hip to any new vernacular which arises these days, and as a result live in a world of confusion and sweat.
Confused though I can be, there are times the younger generation just has to be mocked. Bieber love is up there on the mockotron, as is the current fascination with soy products. But most of all, the younger generation has some very strange ideas about what constitutes a workout activity. And I don’t care if it makes me sound like Archie Bunker, let the mockery begin!
First on this list is something called ‘trampolining.’ And if you were born before 1990 you know this activity as ‘jumping.’ The basics of this workout routine are to get on a trampoline and jump up and down. Now, there are lots of neat things you can do, like jumping up and down and doing a flip and jumping up and down and doing a twirl and other things that involve jumping up and down.
Like most zombie enthusiasts, I do fully expect the apocalypse to come. I have done some mild preparation. There is a stash of coconut chocolate bars behind my bathroom mirror, a box of golf pencils in my front drawer, and a shoehorn that could cut through a skull.
Still, unlike my paranoid zombie friends, I am not worried about the imminent apocalypse, and that’s because I live in the Czech Republic.
The Czechs excel in various areas: making pilsners, frying things that are already unhealthy, eating bread, and dressing in daily life the way others dress for ironic theme parties.
And then there’s getting in the way.
The police car speeds into the courtyard as though the people inside of it have just witnessed a shooting. The police leap out of the car and sprint into the building. There are about 25 people watching this happen. The police come out a moment later with a Vietnamese woman who is roughly the build, height, and perceived threat of a turkey sandwich on rye.
Now, we all know how dangerous and harmful tiny Vietnamese women can be, but this arrest seems a bit unusual. This is mainly because we are at a university building taking a Czech language test, as was the woman they just hauled away. The rest of us wonder if we will be arrested if we fail, or maybe she’s made some enormous #2 pencil faux pas.
All of us are foreigners, as in not Czech. To calm myself I put them into animal groups based on one of the member’s resemblance to an animal. Even after the arrest, there remains a Venue of Vietnamese; there is a Dray of Ukrainians, and a Knab of Russians. There are two Americans, we are a Raft.
I am uncool. And let’s just be clear, I am not saying that I am a nerd. So don’t think I’m one of those ass cadets ostensibly mocking their nerdy lifestyle knowing full well that being a nerd is so cool right now that if Orville Redenbacher were alive he’d be getting more play than Tommy Lee pre-dreadlocks. We’re not talking about liking science or reading books.
I am uncool and it’s a totally different thing.
There are symptoms of being uncool: weekly Facebook posts about cats and bodily functions, there are sweater vests, a true like of broccoli, and (at 38 years old) a weekly call to my mom. My homepage alternates between Wikipedia’s Recent Deaths page, Prague’s public transport time schedule, and a dating website on which I have not met another human being in two years (their robot emails me once a month, I guess just to check on me).
The kids in the book NOS4A2 (by Joe Hill) are bad. Not bad like they don’t want to do the dishes bad, or bad like they hit their little sister bad, but bad as in that they are demonic and have three rows of sharp, hook-like teeth. Bad as in they play games called ‘Scissor the Drifter’ the goal of which can be easily understood by deducing that the word scissor is a verb and the word drifter is a person. The kids in this book live at a place called Christmasland, where they sing Christmas carols for eternity, crucify old people, and make disturbing late night calls to adults.
Now, like most single men, I employ a healthy terror of children. They are small, honest and fragile. You have to feed them all the time and they often require help cleaning themselves after excreting some astoundingly disruptive element. They seem to have the ability to read minds and eat all of your money.
But what is it about kids in the horror genre?
OK, so on the off-chance you ever move to the Czech Republic or end up with a Czech boss, should you ever hear this out of their mouth, just cancels any plans you had for that evening. Also, prepare to do something you don’t want to do.
It is a formal phrase meaning: I need a favor.
And it comes with its very own sister phrase: “Mám malý problém.” I have a little problem. Oh, and ‘little’ is usually as much an understatement as ‘favor’ is a misnomer when it comes from your boss’ taco grinder.
I put my head on my desk. Here it comes.
blah blah -ovat
f*cking bad timing
Who is free?
blah blah -ičku
At the end of this angry list, I am eating an apple standing over a course book preparing to teach a last minute substitution lesson that starts in nine minutes. Also, I hate the world.