Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kung Fu Bowling

At times in Deutschland, normally mundane activities are given a sparkling new cache by virtue of their very "Otherness". I guess it's just a function of being a stranger in a strange land. Even seeing a crappy film can be imbued with a sense of adventure, whereas at home I would be shaking my fists in righteous indignation. Zum Beispiel, this week I accompanied my roommate to a showing of Kung Fu Panda. Now, I had never seen a Pixar film, and had no intention of ever seeing one -- my idea of escapism is psychological realism on the order of say, Fassbinder. But for some reason I decided to go, as "research".

Normalerweise, we see films in the original tongue, but the English version was sold out, so on we soldiered to the Deutsch version, which was fine with me. It's good for me to flex the Deutsch muscles. Plus, no Jack Black! No Dustin Hoffman! Thank Fortuna for sparing me these hammy American irritants. (Of course, even without the voice, who else could the titular porcine panda be patterned after but Black the Crack?) Besides, the German cast did just fine in their respective roles, thank you very much. I hadn't known it, but I guess in foreign versions of big budget Hollywood animated films there are two sets of credits at film's end, the first featuring the actors dubbing the second language, which means the credits roll on forever. These were actual name actors out of Germany, including one Cosma Shiva Hagen, daughter of my favorite German punk singer, Nina Hagen (a household name in Deutschland, this goddess is now a spokesperson for some kind of German yoghurt pops)! I can still hear Nina shrilly ululating the refrain of "Cosma Shiva" from the classic album "Nunsexmonkrock": "Cos-ma Shivaaaa! Galax-inaaaa!". If only my mother had celebrated my birth in such an artful way. But then, I wasn't conceived in a California earthquake during an alien invasion.

Anyway, on Donnerstag my friend Berndt invited me to gay Bowling. This plebian sport is not something I would endeavor to undertake on a Thursday night back home, but I found the idea of doing it with a bunch of schwules German boys too delightful to resist. What comprises gay bowling, you might ask? It's nothing so salacious or felch-tastic as all that, although it sounds it. At first it seemed completely harmless --the only difference between homo and hetero bowling was that every time you scored a strike, you got a free shot of really bad schnapps. Oh, and the blaring of the likes of Kylie and Nikki French, among the other usual suspects, over the sound system (It reminded me of the old Quentin Crisp quote about disco music being a high price to pay for one's sexual orientation, but fortunately I don't not like it).

Well, the joke was on me. First of all, I failed to answer some trivia question correctly (I hardly think it was fair, since it was all in German) so I was forced to lie on my stomach in the bowling lane and bowl that way. Oh, the humiliation. What next? Being forced at gunpoint to shoot ping pong balls out my ass? The announcer handed me a shot of the rancid-but-effective schnapps as a token, he told the crowd, of the "Deutsch-Amerikanisch Freundschaft." How prescient, what with Barack Obama's upcoming visit and all. Then I won a bottle of Sekt (think really cheap champagne) for being the schlechtest player. Actually, there was one guy who played worse than I, by a margin of two points. The top and bottom (no pun intended) three players received Flasches of sekt. My team also won a bottle of the same for worst team, and I'm pretty sure it was down to me. Guess I'll have to come back next week to work on my technique.

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