More Summer 2012 Thoughts

Steve Fisher 24. srpna 2012 • 06:00


The Summer Olympics were terrific. I was rooting for the Greeks, who managed to end the games only six gold medals in debt.


The bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey" will soon be available in Czech bookstores. However, in the Czech version, it's not an erotic novel. It's a summer weather forecast.


Today, being a "straw widower" means having all the wi-fi bandwidth at home to yourself.


Some American friends of mine invited some Czech friends of theirs over for a summer barbecue.
"We wanted the party to have an American theme," they told me.
"What did you do?" I asked. "Shoot them?"
Then we all laughed about that.


After the shooting in that movie theatre in Colorado, I thought I should talk to my kids about gun violence in the U.S. 
"Do you know one of the reasons why I'm glad I live here in the Czech Republic?" I asked them.
My older son said, "Because you couldn't get a job in America?"
"Well, that's not totally true,'" I said.
"Because you like goulash and beer?" my younger son asked.
"Okay," I said, "That is true, but…"
"Because you love Mommy and us…and we live here?" they both asked.
"Yes," I said. "That's exactly why."
I'll talk to them about gun violence some other day.


I love the way Czech people always pause before answering whenever I ask them, "How are you?"


In America, when someone asks us how we are, we immediately answer, "Fine, thanks, and you?" But, here, I can almost see the wheels spinning inside people's heads as they think about all their problems before accepting that things could be worse. So, basically, they're doing fine.


But should they say they're doing "fine"? What if the person asking the question isn't doing so well. Will they sound unfairly happy? Will they make the other person envious of their happiness? What can you say that sounds good, but not too good, not downbeat, but not too positive either?


"Well…okay," they usually reply at last. 


I have timed that entire Czech "How are you?" answer process as taking an average of 1-2 seconds, which is pretty quick given the complexity of thought involved.


Once again, this nation impresses me.


Some guy commented about one of my articles on that it was "not remotely funny." My Czech isn't perfect, so I wasn't totally sure what he meant. I wrote back to him that perhaps he should sit closer to his computer monitor.


The fact that Jan Fischer and now also Táňa Fišerová (who sometimes also spells her name "Fischerová") are both running for president reminded me of the fact that all my life in America I always had to spell my last name fore people. "Fisher" not "Fischer". Of course, I then had the brilliant idea to move to a country where there's even a third way to spell it. And my first name's not "Steven", it's "Stephen". Shit.


It must be hard for Czechs living in the west, because they have to give up the háček ("hook") in their names.  Dominik Hašek is just plain "Hasek" in America, and Petr Čech is known in England as "Petr Cech" (which I would probably pronounce "setch" or "ketch", if I didn't know better).


If Jan Švejnar gets elected president (and he'd be only the second Czech president with a háček in his last name, after Edvard Beneš), he'll always be "Jan Svejnar" in The New York Times. The last Czech president with a háček in his first name was the very first one, "Tomas Masaryk" as the Times surely called him back then. But soon, it could be reporting on your new president "Milos" or "Premysl" or "Jiri". 

I work as a freelancer with a business license, and I love the fact that when I pay taxes in this country I'm allowed to deduct 50% of my income as "expenses", even though, as a writer, I don't really have many expenses. The same is true for lawyers here, who make millions of crowns per year and also don't have many expenses. Coincidentally, Czech tax laws are written by lawyers.



- A tongue licking ice cream.

- Camera pulls back to reveal a tourist on Charles Bridge holding an ice cream cone.

- A tongue licking the overflowing beer on the side of a mug.

- Camera pulls back to reveal a man holding the mug in a beer garden.

- A tongue licking a letter.

- Camera pulls back to reveal an old woman dropping the letter in a post box on a picturesque street.

- Two pierced tongues licking each other.

- Camera pulls back to reveal a couple of teenagers on a park bench.

- A man finishes a plate of goulash, then picks up the plate and licks it. 

- The man’s dog licks his face.

- Scene from "Basic School" where the boys' tongues are stuck to the frozen railing.


SLOGAN: Czech Republick. You'll lick it. A lot.

Klíčová slova: rxrx, stevefisher

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