What do you call a German electrician?

I was taken aback the other day when a critic reckoned I’d used “silly pseudonymic names” for some of the characters in Planet Germany.

The thing is… all of the names in the book were given for a very specific reason. So our local beer-delivery man, known as Dr. Bier in the book, I can actually reveal as really being called Mr. Beier. In fact he’s one of two Mr. Beiers… because he runs the business with his brother. Appropriately their van sports the slogan Keine Feier ohne Beier (no party without Beier) – which is absolutely correct. We wouldn’t even attempt one!

Another apparently silly name was Frau Grimm the headmistress. I admit – the real lady on whom the character was based does not have that name. But her school does…. and pretty much everything they do is labelled as Grimm. So why ever not?

Zirkus Grimm on the school playground

Zirkus Grimm on the school playground

Anyway… more importantly, the truth of the matter is that Germans very often have funny names. No really they do.

On the main street of Meerbusch there is a provider of fine grave stones who always makes me laugh because his name is Fucken – I hope not too many of his clients are forced to complain: The Fucken inscription’s wrong on Gran’s grave.

Our local garden centre is called Bogies… which I feel fits admirably with their slogan exhorting us to “experience the greenness.”

And of course, imagine my delight when the local electrician called the other day. His name is Mr. Dose – and appropriately Dose is the German word for an electric socket.

The German word Dose means electric socket

The German word Dose means electric socket

Of course, I now know that in any future writing I really ought to anonymise these people by calling them Herr. Schmidt or something. But wouldn’t that make life just that little bit less weird?

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7 Comments

Filed under books, German language, Life in Germany

7 responses to “What do you call a German electrician?

  1. That is priceless! I’m still snickering and probably will be for the rest of the day.

  2. Very funny. I agree.

    There was a doctor that came to tell stories at my sons school last week, Dr M Read McDonald. I kid you not. (Even though she wasn’t German it was at a school in Germany 🙂

  3. Hee hee. We used to have some neighbours, andumarried couple, whose last names were Lang and Klein. Frau Lang was very short and very, very round, and Herr Klein must have been about 6’5″ and skinny as a rake. They must have wondered why I laughed every time they walked by.

  4. Isn’t the guy who does the weather on ZDF named Bernd Wettervogel? Correct me if I’ve got that wrong. 🙂

  5. Hiya, I’ve just stumbled upon the blog. Excellent.

    I also have millions of nicknames. We visit the Bescheuert family from time to time, I also know The Weirds. the Problems, The Boss, among other characters.

    In our house we have a Welsh dresser called a “Buffet” which I hate to say so I have named it “The Thing To Look At”.

  6. nk

    hahaha. loved the one about the gravestone sellers.

  7. Will

    As the person who wrote that phrase, I can now see the error of my ways! Maybe, as a teacher, I was a bit fed up with or over-sensitive to the profession being labelled ‘Grimm’. Whatever, I’ll have to go back and change now. Serve me right.

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