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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Mark Morford's columns

. . . helped me get through the time after 9/11 when I worked at an U.S. chip manufacturer near Munich. My German superior from the Neue Bundesländer treated my - ever talking to any of the Americans who worked there as some sort of insubordination. East Germans are prone to detect some form of insubordination in the most innocent of behaviours. But my East German superior was also younger (!) than me which meant I needed to *prove* in all possible ways that I was willing and able to work *under* someone younger without *any* problems whatsoever.

I know now how to work for some East German person who is younger than me and prove myself as a flexible, adaptive co-worker:

Shut-up, work, do not ask any questions, never talk to any one outside the department, or better - never talk to anyone but your superior, pretend to not be able to speak English whenever possible. And work hard at finding former East-Germans totally exciting, astonishing, hip and noteworthy. And endure petty hurtful personal stabs, irrational accusations and hysterical screeching with a smile.

The problem was that the shock of 9/11 and the mourning and the sadness and the not being able to talk to people near me, in whose country I had been living happily for over 10 years, and bearing the triumphant schadenfreude of my superior was such a difficult task - in addition to working, that I must have appeared somewhat c l u m s y . Which then again inspired intense disdain in my immediate surroundings consisting of German co-workers who strongly believed in giving the East German person a break - as long as I - not them - was paying the price. Indulging a former East German in this way hence was the expedient, the politically correct thing to do - the poor thing had been Coming in From the Cold after all.

Which is why the strange and tortured humour of UC Berkeley alumni and Hearst - SF Gate contributor Mark Morford arriving in my email box in the form of a column every day was medicine, no dope for me.

It's all about retail, just like Jesus would have wanted . . . read Mark's column here

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