One of my favorite pastimes is making fun of Lars. I mean, the guy is eminently teasable. He wears socks n' Birkenstocks three seasons of the year. He's sitting in front of some football game or other wearing them as we speak, while pretending to do some work on his laptop. And I am about to laugh at him.
What?? Laughing is good for you. Didn't you see that Robin Williams movie about the clown-doctor? If red noses and big shoes can cure childhood diseases, then a pair of white socks and Birkenstocks, or a T-shirt worn inside out -- in public -- because Lars is not feeling kindly disposed toward the logo on said T-shirt, can probably heal leprosy.
I'm all for it, Larsie.
Anyway, tonight Lars returned from dropping Benjy back at the hospital -- yes, he had a four-hour home pass, and we got to eat dinner together!! -- feeling very smug. Very smug indeed. Saskia was trying to show me the trailer for the new Les Miz movie (and swooning over some actor dude she's in love with) and Lars just lifted his finger in the air with great pompousness and said:
"Turn that off. I have an important announcement to make."
"Oh, Geez," said Saskia. "What do YOU have to say?"
"Turn if off."
I nudged her. "Do what your father says," I told her, sounding very much like a 1950s housewife, and not liking it much.
She stopped the video. We looked at Lars expectantly and waited.
After a dramatic pause he said, "Anna, I just heard something VERY IMPORTANT on On Point [the NPR radio show]. And I think you need to hear about it."
"The World's Wisest Man is talking about Old Wives' Tales. Remember, this is the smartest man in the world."
This sounded suspicious to me but I pretended to believe him.
"Apart from you," I said.
"BETTER than me."
"And this guy said that there is TRUTH to what I always tell you. That getting wet feet gives you a cold." He said this with such self-satisfaction I was reluctant -- at first -- to laugh at him. I got over that reluctance fast. I hooted.
"And can wet feet also give you a bladder infection? Y' know, like you always say? And a cool breeze over your lower back, can that give you a kidney infection? Because, you know, you gotta protect those kidneys."
I laughed some more. Because if there is one thing you need to know about me it's that I do not think highly of German ideas about illness.
My skepticism dates from the time we were in Germany with ten-month-old Saskia and she got tonsillitis. The family doctor we took her to told me in all seriousness that he was not surprised she'd come down with it because "red-haired children are more prone to tonsillitis." (Actually, they use the same word for tonsils and almonds in German so he may have been telling me that redheads are prone to sick almonds.)
Look, I LOVE Germans. I'm married to one. My bestie is German. My mother's family were German Jews, but that is something else. They were NORMAL. The German Germans I know are all lovely people but BARKING MAD.
So Lars is all proud of himself because his nutty ideas about wet feet have been confirmed by the Smartest Guy on Earth.
When I finished laughing I told him I still don't believe it.
"My cousins are doctors. My father's a dentist. I asked them. They said no."
"Then they are WRONG!" Lars crowed. He was feelin' good.
He totally cracks me up. He is simply too cute for words.
I love being married to a German. All that laughter is keeping me super healthy.
**Note to my German friends and Readers:
I really DO love you guys. And I will take any Ugly American comments you hurl back at me with good humor. I know I deserve it. Kuss u. Gruss, A--