When I came to Germany over 40 years ago, I worked with a bunch of guys in Lufthansa’s logistics division who had the reputation of being a) all mad as snakes b) serious drinkers and c) the absolute elite.
We had them.
So did Cargo Ops.
If anything was deemed impossible, we’d fix it.
If anything surreptitious needed doing, we’d do it.
If there was a practical joke, we were involved.
I appear to have fit in rather well…
There aren’t many of us left.
Last week there were 5.
This week there are 4.
Waldemar dropped off the perch the other day and – although no-one’s had much contact with him over the years and he was the only one of us without a proper nickname (the rest of us went under: Hannibal, Porki, Schnucki, Trollo, Johnny Controletti ) – we’ll dig out a black tie and head off to his funeral on Friday.
I’ll be the youngest – closer to 70 than 60.
Hannibal’s the oldest – pushing 80.
Old stories will be recycled.
Especially this one.
Betamax (spell check has never heard of it…) video recorders came out in the late 1970s and Waldi was an early adopter.
They were as big as a small car and cost close to a month’s gross salary.
We had no idea why he bought it.
He was going to record football matches when he had night shift and watch the next day.
And he didn’t want to know the score.
He’d come into the office to a bunch of guys grinning from ear to ear.
“Sag’s mir bitte nicht” he’d wail as we sat there as if butter wouldn’t melt in our mouths.
Until someone we’d bribed would burst into the office and blurt out “Christ, what a GAME! 1:1 until the last minute and then Bayern gets a penalty and they….SCORED”
“Nein, nein, sag’s mir bitte nicht” wails Waldi facing the wall with his hands over his ears.
Then the tannoy crackles to life.
“For those who couldn’t watch the game, here’s the score….”
“Ihr seid alle so gemein” he wails still holding his hands over his ears with his back to the office and firmly facing the window.
Past which stream people holding up signs with the score…