Enjoy the ride while you can, my little Marillen on the Austrian team. This could get a bit bumpier.

only using this photo for the red and white for Austria

This year’s UEFA European Championship, also referred to as Euro 2016, is already in full swing. I’ve been deliberating writing about this year’s hooligans, which I might still do, but at this point I’m spending so much time just watching as much of the football as I can manage.

Instead, I’m so inspired by how Austria has been doing, that I had to gush about it here. This is definitely a dark horse candidate of a team, if there ever was one. After a disappointing loss in their opening game against Hungary, I think the Austrian team could’ve easily folded under the pressure of playing what most would agree is a far superior Portuguese side.

Not only did they not crumble upon facing these world famous footballers, who I won’t bother mentioning by name, but the Austrians did it with class and panache. Scoreless through the first half, one easily got the feeling that the old world footballers were playing on borrowed time.

As the second half rolled on and the attack of the Portuguese came in successive waves, the lowly Austrian team just kept taking punch after counterpunch. Players were feigning injury and debilitating fouls left and right, which is one of those idiosyncrasies that non football fans love to ridicule. There was plenty of that here – plenty to malign and disparage.

Finally at one point, a penalty shot was awarded. The infamous peacock of a world footballer sauntered up to what the German’s refer to as an ‘Elfmeterschuss‘ (eleven metre shot or more commonly called a ‘penalty‘), and would you believe it? The birdman’s shot didn’t make it to the net, but instead hit the left post.

The style and panache with which the Austrians played this match was undeniably inspiring. There have been a handful of other instances of underdogs exceeding expectations already in this tournament. I’m thrilled I got to see this one as it happened.

Enjoy the ride while you can, my little Marillen. This could get a bit bumpier.

canine sphinx

Don’t ask me what I’m thinking…I won’t tell you.

Recently took a day trip to Austria.

Whenever I travel without my dogs Ella and Louis, I stop and admire other dogs. It’s not something I can control.

Have always liked dogs. Because mine aren’t with me, I live vicariously through other dog owners. It’s a weakness.

This dog breed is Japanese.

Great dogs.

Very stubborn.

Unlike my dogs, not that interested in other people.

His owner he loves.

Anyone else? Not so much.

I wish he’d tell me what he thought. Or what he’s thinking.

Oh well.

shy of working

no intention of sawing either of these feet off

Arbeitsunwillger Mann sägt sich Fuß ab (‘Man unwilling to work saws off his own foot‘)

I mentioned this earlier in the week, and thought it might be inappropriate for this blog. Then I remembered this is a blog where we talk about dogs vomiting in chocolate spewing forth and someone stuffing postboxes with excrement in you’ve got stool.

With topics like those, we can certainly manage one about self mutilation. When you hear the story, I think you’ll understand why I feel this was necessary to be covered.

Your obvious question is, ‘Why would someone saw off his own foot?’ He had a better reason than you might think. He didn’t want to go to work.

I can already hear your voice straining with incomprehension as you say, ‘But that’s no reason to do such permanent bodily harm, is it?

Well, we don’t have a lot of details here, but let’s at least cover the whole bloody stump of a story before we attempt to decipher what this fellow might’ve been thinking.

First of all, I don’t want to make too much of where this happened, because Austria has not had a very easy time of it over the last several years. I love our neighbours to the south, and over the years have spent a lot of time there.

Every time there’s shocking news that some Austrian has been caught holding people hostage in his cellar for years at a time, I worry for the emotional state of its people. Not just those held hostage, but the Austrians in general. I can’t be the only one who’s suggested that the Austrian authorities should just go door to door searching cellars. At some point, you have to wonder how many more subterranean dwellers could be rescued.

Back to the story.

The man is described in the article as arbeitsunwillg, which I’ve translated as ‘unwilling to work‘. There’s another German term for this that I think is a bit more sensitive. You could also call him arbeitsscheu, which means ‘shy to work‘ or ‘shy of working‘.

I can already hear a few of you saying, ‘Well, that’s me. I’m shy of working. Very shy. Every morning as I drag myself out of bed, a wave of shyness overcomes me.’

Somehow, I doubt you’re nearly as shy of working as this guy.

He had an impending appointment with his local job centre, and apparently he was dreading it so much that he came up with an ingenious solution. They’d been offering him jobs that I suppose were beneath him. He’d grown accustomed to the luxury of planning his day as a man of leisure.

Reminds me a bit of that scene in Office Space, where the guy decides he really doesn’t want to go to work anymore.

So the guy in the Austrian state of Styria, what they call ‘Steiermark’, comes to the conclusion that if he takes a table saw and separates himself from one of his less-than-necessary appendages, that it’ll be self-evident that he cannot return to work. To the sort of job which only someone with two functioning legs can undertake.

My question is: ‘What sort of job was so horrible that the option which includes sawing your leg off suddenly starts to look appealing?

I have a theory about what job they wanted him to do. The job centre must’ve recommended him to a job that insulted not just the proud little Austrian, but his sense of patriotism, as well. See, I believe they wanted him to be one of the people who goes door to door searching peoples’ cellars for long-term hostages. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

For the sake of Austria’s wounded identity, this guy is a hero. He’s taken one for the team.