Everyone has their default setting.  Some people are happy-go-lucky (happy people, by the way, are the only ones that can be described as “go-lucky”) and others are serious fellows (serious people, by the way, are the only ones that can be described as “fellows”).  I’m neither.  I’ve known for years what I am, but it’s always been difficult to explain.

Here’s a good example of who I am:


Somehow, this was a different experience than the last Florida Spring Break

The Family and I went to Florida for Spring Break this year.  We didn’t want to go to all the Disney stuff because the kids are just too young to really enjoy it.  Instead, The Wife bought some sort of non-disney city-wide tourist-trap pass for all four of us.  One of the items on that list was a Pirate Dinner Show.


We sat right up front.  The kids had a blast.  The Wife was part of the show (when asked, she refused to be a “zesty wench”, but for some reason eagerly volunteered for “beanbag tosser” in some sort of one-on-one pirate competition).  The entire audience was into it.  And I was squirming the entire time.


She was only gone for about 20 minutes, so it’s cool.

It’s not that it was a waste of money (it was practically free with that pass thing) or a waste of time (I’m on vacation with elementary-age kids; the entire experience is waiting for them to get ready and taking them to the bathroom), it’s that I was embarrassed for the performers.  I was embarrassed that these guys can’t hack it as actual actors or circus performers — they can’t even get a job at one of the Disney parks — they have to work in this obviously-converted warehouse and entertain people who are arguing with a five year old about how much Pepsi they can have.  I hated it.



Yes.  This is what the president looks like.

This is why I don’t like most things.  All I can ever think of is, “What must this guy’s life be like?”  It’s why I don’t argue when a cashier rings up red delicious (misnomer) apples instead of gala; I’d feel embarrassed if I was my age working in a grocery store and I wouldn’t want someone to point out a mistake.  It’s why I stopped going to comic conventions; I’d feel embarrassed if I was dressed up like a Hobbit arguing about which Thor was the best.  It’s why I’m never on Facebook; I’d be embarrassed if I shared a fake news article about Trump saving a cat during Katrina.


But how do you put that feeling into a quick “I’m just a happy guy” description?  Last week, I found out: “Fremdscham.”  It’s a German word that means something along the lines of “Why aren’t you embarrassed by this?  You should be.  You should be so embarrassed by this that I feel embarrassed for you.”

It’s my baseline emotion.

When you talk about how you plan dinner a week ahead of time so that the pork has time to marinate: fremdscham. When you explain that your kid is too hyper when she eats artificial ingredients: fremdscham.  When you ask for necessities for Christmas: fremdscham.



From now on, if someone says, “what’s the deal with Nick Jones?”, you say “fremdscham.”  That’ll sum it up.


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