A Suburban Dad's Guest Blog: German Practical Jokes

By Rick Kaempfer

Yesterday was my mom's 70th birthday, and we bought her a computer. This will be her first one, and she's a little scared about jumping into the 1980s so quickly, without cautiously getting a feel for the landscape. Who knows if this computer thingee will catch on?

I should tell you a little bit about Mom. Mom is German. Not just "of German heritage". She came to this country in the 1950s as a German immigrant, and lived in Germany again in the 1970s. She's very German; an incurable Kraut.

How does someone get tested for their Kraut-ness? It's really a simple test. Show a German an inkblot and ask her what she sees. If she answers “inkblot”...she's an incurable Kraut.

There’s nothing wrong with people like this; they keep our trains running on schedule and our sidewalks clean. But they aren’t exactly known for their wacky senses of humor. And I'm a little worried now that Mom's going to start reading some of my stuff. It looks like I may have to cool it with the German bits.

So, as one last German hurrah before the crackdown begins, I've prepared a special list of practical jokes to play on Germans. These jokes are by their very definition "practical." What could be more German than that?


1) Tell your German mother that you’re leaving your good job to pursue a career in the theater. When she asks about your health insurance coverage, simply reply that you, your wife and 3 kids feel great so “what could possibly happen”?

2) Start writing mushy cards to your German uncles. Better yet, tell them in person and touch them as much as possible.

3) Volunteer to mow your German father’s lawn, and then mow it counter-clockwise.

4) Sneak in your German Aunt’s house and rearrange her Hummel collection. Put the little boy fishing where the little milk jug girl should be.

5) Take your German grandmother shopping and go through the 10 items or less aisle with 11 items.

6) Take your German grandfather to a soccer game, and then don’t sit in your assigned seats. Say “follow my lead if the people who really have these seats ever show up.”

7) When the food gets passed around, serve yourself only vegetables. When your German mother asks why say, “I’ve decided to become a vegetarian.”

8) Casually give your German mother a bottle of some cleaning product with a note saying that this brand will work better than what she’s using.

That's it. I've now officially emptied my German comedy closet.

If my mom asks you about any of this--you don't know what's she's talking about.



Leave a comment