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Don't mention the war

Entry 1036 posted in: 6. Self-Made Monsters

Franz Ferdinand German radio- and television-administration, die Gebühreneinzugszentrale (GEZ), send several letters to a Mr. Friedrich Schiller with the urgent question to pay his radio- and television-tax. These arrived at a local primary school in Weigsdorf-Köblitz (Saksen) and its principal replied that the German poet, philosopher, historian and dramatist the administration was looking for had been dead for over 200 years. Schiller is world renowned for his Ode an die Freude that was put to music by a certain Mr. Ludwig van Beethoven in his Ninth symphony and that became the official European anthem in 1972.

But of course one does not mess with administration, especially not the German one. Believing that this was the biggest scam in German television-tax history the GEZ now wanted solid proof that Mr. Friedrich Schiller was indeed dead and not merely acting dead to avoid taxes. The German newspapers do not reveal how this was achieved but finally a spokeswoman from the tax-administration accepted that a database error had been made and that Mr. Friedrich Schiller had died before television and radio had been invented.

At the current annual fee of 200 Euros Friedrich Schiller already owed the German state 40.600 euros.

Nur der Irrtum ist das Leben, und das Wissen ist der Tod.
Only mistakes are alive, and knowledge is dead.
(Friedrich Schiller, Kassandra).

In everyday life I am an IT monkey for a service company and because I used to be the only one around who spoke German I was always the first to be chosen as a volunteer to deal with our neighbours from the East.

One day one of my colleagues had a small problem with a manager of a German Kooperation we had recently joined. She had send the German administrative unit a small note saying that the Belgian partner would not be able to render any service on the 21st of July, because that date happens to be the Belgian national day. It is that day, we Belgians snicker, that working people have a day off and the king has to do something to earn his pay for a change.

The message was not well received by the Head Administrator of the German cooperation. They send a page long official letter, signed, sealed and delivered, that according to the rules of their Arian brotherhood no member could close its offices on any other day than those confirmed by German law, number such and so, paragraph whatever.

The girl was nearly in tears from anger when I came in. She had already tried to explain, by phone, fax and mail to the representative of the Herrenvolk that this was our National day and that there would be no need whatsoever for us to stay vigilant to render service to companies that were closed anyway. Can you do something, she sighted.

I took the phone. Called the bloke. Explained him that since he had already lost two wars against Belgium we were considering ourselves as an independent country and not a mere province belonging to the German federal republic. It was quiet for a while. For a moment I feared I had done a Franz Ferdinand that would lead to World-War III. But he understood. Sometimes you just have to shout a little bit harder as they do.

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