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GERMANY - LATE 1970'S

THE TIMES
THE WORDS AND THE MUSIC


 

Some of the sayings we used:

  • "Back to the World": This denotes that someone is headed back to the United States.

  • "Back to the land of inside plumbing": Germany's plumbing was on the outside of the walls. Makes more sense to me that way but I don't run the world... yet.

  • "Back to the land of round doorknobs": German doorknobs are levers. American doorknobs are round, for the most part. I don't know what excuse German teenagers use when they show up with a hickey since "ran into a doorknob" probably wouldn't work.

  • "Wind Me UP!": Refers to the winding up of the toy soldiers. Based on a Disco song. "Wind Me Up" by Bootsy Collins.

  • "SHORT": Almost time to rotate back to the States. Usually said out loud when some stupid task is assigned to a person that is Short. I did when I was. (Anyone remember all the little do-dads we would put on our uniforms to show that we were Short?)

  • "2 Digit Midget": Someone with less than 100 days to go before he/she would rotate back to the States.

  • "F.T.A.": Forget The Army. Use your imagination for the "Forget" word.

  • "Field Problem": This is where we go play Army and practice our communications job. It was held in the sticks (Field) and almost never went right (Problem).

  • "Was ist los?": German for "What's happening?", more or less.

  • "Big Time!": Emphasize some statement as in: "I was doped up Big Time!" I, myself, never said that sentence. Nope, not me! Never once! I was too busy looking for women to give hickies to (See "Back to the land of round doorknobs").

  • "Beau coup": Big, lots. French or Swahili or Klingon or something. You got me. I just work here. By the way. The Klingon word for "Weak" is "Woche". The German word for "Week" is "Woche". Proves that the Klingons will meet the Germans first!

  • "Mache Nichts": German literal: "Make Nothing." Means "Doesn't matter," "Who cares." For example: "My girlfriend has a hickey and it didn't come from me or a doorknob... Mache nichts 'cause I'm Short!"

  • "P.D.S.": Pay day Stakes. Purchasing "party materials" on credit.

  • "Butter Bars (AKA) 90 Day Wonders": 2nd Lieutenants. The Privates of the Officer side of the Army. Not usually considered a compliment. You didn't want to get caught calling a "Butter Bar" a "90 Day Wonder" or vice-versa, unless you liked working nights for punishment.

  • "T.A. 50 Gear": Also know as "Field Gear". The massive amount of extra Army stuff issued to you when you arrived at a station. Consisted of things like a sleeping bag and liner, shelter half, poncho, mess kit, etc. I think it was issued to you in the hopes that you would lose some if it and have to pay for it.

  • "I'm Hip": Used to indicate that some one had told you something and you understood what they were saying.

  • "P-38": The itsy-bitsy little metal can opener nightmare. Just the thing needed to open those cans full of yummy C-Rations. It has a hole in it so you could put it on your key ring. I still have one on my key ring. About 10 years ago I was in the tire shop getting tires for my Big Bubba 4X4 truck. The owner of the shop saw my P-38 and gave me an instant 10% discount on the tires!

  • "Go For It!": This is the near-standard response you get if someone agrees with some crazy idea you've just dreamed up.

  • "I Heard That!": This is the near-standard response you get after you tell someone about some crazy stunt someone pulled after hearing "Go For It".

  • "DROS/DEROS": The official date of your return to the United States. Anyone remember what the initials stand for? (Thank goodness Randy Bisbee has a better memory than I do: "DEROS" is Date of Expected Return from Overseas and "DROS" is Date of Return from Overseas.)

  • "Getting Over", "Shamming": This means you've figured out a way to keep from having to work or do P.T. I had a hernia that kept me "shamming" for about 3 months.

  • "Order Wire", "Frequency Grease", "Prop Wash", "Muffler Stretcher": These were vital items needed to keep our equipment in order and ready to go at a moments notice. These items were very hard to find and required one to ask many, many people all over the Motor Pool if they had any of these items. New troops on their first day in the Motor Pool seemed to be the only people capable of performing this search. (Thanks go to Randy Bisbee for the muffler reference.)

  • "BAQ", "Separate Rats", "COLA ", "SHA ": These were additional pay added to a troops base pay when he/she lived off the kaserne and on the economy. Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) is the amount the Army paid to offset your rent. Separate Rations (Separate Rats) were paid to you since you were no longer eating in the Mess Hall. Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) was a variable amount paid to you to offset the added expense of living in Germany and paying more for items than they usually cost in the United States. Separate Housing Allowance (SHA) was some more money they gave you for some obscure reason.

  • "Wie geht’s mein Schatzi!": Roughly translates to "How are you, sweetie?" Kind of a pick-up line that G. I.'s used on the local German ladies. I find that saying it still brings a laugh and a smile, if you say it to the right girl!

(Thanks go to J.T. and Barry I. and Randy B. for reminding me of a bunch more of these old sayings.)

Want to help me put some more here?


 

Some of the music we listened to:


  • The electronic hypnotism of Jean Michael Jarre's "Equinox", (who's entourage actually visited me later in my life).

  • Who can forget the upbeat, rock jazz of Steely Dan? I choke up nowadays when I listen to the vocals in "Deacon Blues".

  • Then there's the whole Disco sensation that we learned to love, then learned to hate. To this day, I'm still trying to "Get the Funk out ma Face".

  • Let's not forget Parliament reminding us to be prepared when we need to travel after dark.

  • Early on, Brick invited us to shake our collective bootys while listening to "Dazz".

  • Firefall introduced us to the sadness a flute can evoke when they produced "Strange Way ".

  • Electric Light Orchestra.

  • Heart.

  • Fleetwood Mac.

  • Black Oak Arkansas.

  • The Doobie Brothers.


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