Friday, August 13, 2004

Yet More Crumbs

It's the Power of the Blog striking again: yesterday's tabloids blared that politicians were seeking to put an end to the Hitzefrei. Of course, it should be emphasized that these tabloids also frequently report discoveries of Neanderthals living in caves in the Philippines and provoke divorce scandals in the world of German "celebrities," but they also report actual real news. Astonishing that this should be an issue in a year when it's barely gotten above 80° F., but this is also a country where construction workers are sometimes not allowed to work in the rain.


It never fails to amuse me the way English words get inserted into German. The Germans are far less uptight about this than the French, who, last time I checked, were still calling a computer a "numérator digitale," at least officially. The first English I saw in wide use here is a term I still wish would catch on in America: cell phones here are called Handys. I think this was a brand name of an early portable phone which, like kleenex and xerox in English, wound up as a common noun. The next one I noticed was "trendy," which is almost always used with at least a touch of irony in America and Britain, but not here: one often sees ads reassuring potential customers that something is "vollig im Trend" (literally "fully in trend"), and there's a store not far from me which calls itself Trendy-Shop.

But the cake was completely taken this morning as I fished the garbage out of my mailbox. Call-A-Pizza has a short but distinguished history here. They were the first pizza delivery company -- the first food delivery company, for that matter -- in Berlin. On my first visit here, to hang out with my new German girlfriend, her boyfriend (listen, it's a long story) was amazed at a Call-A-Pizza menu that had appeared in his mailbox. "I ordered one right away. It was wonderful: they brought it right to the door and it was hot. It was a terrible pizza, but just think, you can have it brought to your house." In 1988, this was hardly an innovation for Americans, but then, I didn't get touch-tone dialling here until 1997. What made Call-A-Pizza's reputation, though, was that another company with a very similar name appeared almost immediately. It disappeared after it was discovered, after several months, that the "Pizza Colombiana" they were selling for 50 Deutche Marks wasn't really a pizza at all! It was a gram of cocaine.

But back to this menu before I toss it. I won't even go into the disgusting combinations available here, although the "Pizza Papparazzi" with tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil sounds remarkably like what I made from scratch the other night. But for a limited time only, Call-A-Pizza is offering the Pizza Yuppie! Now, what do you suppose might be on this? Is it Atkins Diet compatible? Can you put designer water on a pizza? Heirloom tomatores, right?

No, no. Sorry. German yuppies are different than the ones back in the land that invented the word and gave it pejorative status. Our Pizza Yuppie has "special tomato sauce, cheese, sweet-sour pickles, fresh onions and baked sausage."

Like German yuppies themselves, something of a disappointment.

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