18 May, 2006

intoxicating, in any language...

In much the same way as a Japanese cat says "nyaa nyaa" and a French dog says "ouah ouah", people all around the world have a myriad different ways of saying "Let's get boozy!"

Here in Australia, as in most other sensible English-speaking places, we go for a humble, hearty "CHEERS!".

The Irish prefer to get back to their celtic roots with a nice bit of "Sláinte!", as they're knocking back a pint of deadly black sludge.

"À votre santé," say the French. How wimpy and pretentious does that sound?! À votre santé, my arse.

The Italians and Spanish are a bit more chirpy, crying "Cin cin!" with gay abandon.

I've always been fond of "L'Chaim!" which I learned while appearin
g in Fiddler On The Roof, although apparently the toast spoken by the Russians in that play - "Na zdorovje" - is completely mythical. How crushing!

The Germans are predictably brutal and to the point: "Prost!". Meanwhile most Scandinavians stick with some derivation of the timeless favourite: "Skål!" ...from which - one assumes - we derive the command "Skull!" which means, approximately, "Chug that entire beverage as fast as you possibly can, even if it means projectile vomiting tortellini carbonara all over your lady-friend's cleavage!"

However - as my beloved Snazzles and I wandered the world together many years ago - we found all of these somehow lacking. There was just an oomph we needed when clashing glasses (or jugs, or buckets) of grog, that was lacking from all these phrases. So we invented our own:


Say it with me. Schlägen
! Doesn't it just scream "I want to drink till I puke in a Slovakian gutter and pass out in a louse-infested hostel room"? However, as we trundled through Europe, we noticed our boistrous new term received strange glances and raised eye-brows. It didn't seem our new drinking catch-phrase was as contagiously fun as we had hoped. It just wasn't catching on.

Undeterred, Snaz and I still say "Schlägen
!" to this day. However, long after we returned home, it occurred to me to investigate this word of our invention. Inspired by the Google Image Quiz, here are just a few of the frankly disturbing pictures that turn up when you type schlägen into the world's favourite (and only slightly evil) search engine...

Hmmm. I'm beginning to understand why we got strange looks. How could this innocently-invented expression of youthful exuberance and intoxication conjure such an awkwardly abject array of images?

It turns out, schlägen
is the German word (plural, I think) for strike, hit or impact. Yeowch. So it turns out every time we guzzled an ale, we've been crying out the equivalent of "Punches!" or "Whacks!" or perhaps "Hit me baby, one more time!" No wonder nice ladies in Dusseldorf ushered their aryan angel children away from us, and that nice black-leather-clad man in Berlin smiled and waggled his riding-crop so saucily.

(Oh and pee.ess: Did you know that if you clink glasses with someone without maintaining eye-contact, you get seven years' bad sex? It's a scientifically proven fact. You've been warned.)

Labels: ,


Blogger canoe said...

One of my favourites is the Greek 'exo tavasana' which means 'leave your worries outside' or somehting along those lines. I was told this by a drunk Greek man though, so it could mean anything. Also, not too sure on the spelling.

With the bad sex thing, what happens if you're saying cheers with an entire table of poeple?

May 18, 2006 12:09 pm  
Blogger Goo said...

very informative. google image searches are very entertaining aren't they.

May 18, 2006 12:25 pm  
Blogger mindlessmunkey said...

Canoe - That is a point that troubles me also, with regards the communal-clinking conundrum. My guess is that if you do not maintain eye-contact with each and every one of your clinking buddies, you will have bad group sex for seven years. But as long as you're not intending to partake in group sex, you'll be fine.

Goo - Oh I do love a good Google Image search. Safe Search must be OFF though. Only Puritans and the Amish use Safe Search.

May 18, 2006 1:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schlaegen would be the verb, "to hit or punch"

So, you'd be encouraging a brawl with each new drink. Which can add some valuable colour to an otherwise dreary night, it must be said.

May 19, 2006 6:02 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home