Männertag or: Who’s Your Daddy?

There are a few little things in Germany that have been confusing me. I don’t understand why I can’t have waffles at Napoljonksa before 2pm, or why I can’t have asparagus at Café Anna Blume before 5pm. I also couldn’t figure out why the grocery store and all the print shops were closed today, and it was 3:30pm before I realized it was Father’s Day in Germany… and that’s only because I finally sat down and asked the Google machine.

On top of not being able to print my theatre ticket or find an empty seat at any of the sidewalk cafes on Kollwitzstrasse (which is a very hip street, I’ll have you know), St. George’s English-language bookshop was also closed, and I had made a special trip to find it. Ironically enough, Shakespeare and Sons (no relation to Shakespeare and Co.) was open, and happily took my money (pocket paperbacks of The Tiger’s Wife and Anna Funder’s novel All That I Am). While having coffee afterward, I made up a clever little mnemonic device about Shakespeare’s son’s name (damn it + Hamlet = Hamnet, sung to the tune of Dammit Janet) and him not letting Shakespeare have the day off on Männertag, but then I remembered that, sadly, Hamnet died very young.

Before I even understood what holiday it was, I had noticed a lot of fathers out with their children: an American father hustling his family across the tram tracks on Prenzlauer Allee while the green man was still glowing; a family playing ping pong in the park, when little brother with a broken left arm used his right to slam a cross-court shot directly into his sister’s forehead, she shouted something that sounded vaguely like “Don’t touch with me!” (which is nonsensical and also not German), and Dad’s instinct was to go after the rebound before he realized that he had to mediate; a young father who shared a laugh with me when his three- or four-year-old son found out the hard way what happens when you run through a puddle that is bigger than you are.

Then, after a long day, I got back to the flat and checked my email. Rob Thomas sent out update number 4,792 about the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter Project, and it’s just to confirm that, yes, Enrico Colantoni is back to reprise his role as possibly the best father in television history (seriously, I don’t think the movie could be made with out him). Keith Mars for Sheriff! (I’m still wondering about Wallace. We need Wallace. Veronica needs Wallace.)

So that sums up today’s adventures in Berlin. Happy Männertag to all the dads out there, especially mine. By the way… Daddy, if you open a private investigator’s office anytime soon, I will totally come answer the phones for you. And make coffee.

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