My high school German professor smoked cigarettes in the classroom. Ashes from his dying butts dropped onto his black cassock, as we read Kafta’s DAS URTEIL from a blue book.
“Du sprechet wie Arschloch.”
Bruder Karl’s cigarette ravaged voice grated the cinderblock wall.
Boston accents have no R and our class defiled the Teutonic language.
My 1st semester grade was an D-.
I was on academic scholarship.
The Principal and Vice-Principal suggested a change of language to Spanish.
I refused their offer.
My 2nd semester earned an F in German troubled by another F in religion.
I no longer believed in god.
The school withdrew my scholarship. My uncle was a lawyer. He persuaded them to reinstate half the scholarship and I remained at Xaverian to learn German.
My accent barely improved despite Bruder Karl’s tutorship and I graduated without any honors other than the annual delivery of Bruder Karl’s Christmas card.
“You were my star student.”
“Wahrheitsgemäß.” I doubted him.
“You were the only one who could speak Deutsch.”
“But you failed me.”
“Because you couldn’t read it.” He stubbed out his cigarette and clapped a hand on my shoulder. “One day you will speak German in Deutschland and maybe other countries too, for once you can speak one language you can speak them all, especially one as hard as German”
His prediction came true, when I took a job in Hamburg at the door of a pimp’s nightclub, BSIR.
“Es tut mir lied.”
I said that whenever I didn’t let in a nightclubber.
I said it in French more than once in Paris, but there I said, “Je m’excuse.” or ‘I excuse myself’.
I learned this phrase in Italian, Indonesian, Indian, and Chinese, because I have sinned around the world and I have been sorry for my transgressions, however I have never heard a Thai person say that they were sorry.
The words do exist in Thai.
Your girlfriend can burn your house down with a burn-the-house-down smile.
Leave you for another man.
Say you don’t love them enough.
Their lack of contrition was a parody of the famous adage from the movie LOVE STORY.
“Being in love is never having to say sorry.”
Thais love everyone and we all know that Beauty never says sorry to the Beast.