Advice on Parenthood

Advice on Parenthood

Some people make their imprint on the world by constructing ideological or scientific systems, developing global business empires or making groundbreaking discoveries, while others create extraordinary objects of art, music and literature. The Great Dane, on the other hand, has chosen to follow the course of nature by giving his fertile semen to all women in need. In doing so, he bestows on the world many future generations of Great Danes. But whatever the means, whatever the goal, the difficult part is to follow through on one’s deeds.

It was an early morning like so many other early mornings. The Great Dane woke up with one single cloudy thought in his head, so he drank what there was to drink in the flat, and soon the sun was rising, shining bright and clear. He gave the girl slumbering naked in the corner a quick straight-up-bye-bye, remembered on his way out to wish her good luck and advise her not to eat smoked salami or fish or too many sweets while pregnant. Then he went down to his car and drove with great haste to Teufelberg, the former cold-war listening post at the outskirts of Berlin, to visit his friend the ex-vegan bicycle builder at his workshop. Since the Great Dane’s return to Berlin, there had been so much going on that they not yet had managed to fall into deep conversation about his friend’s forthcoming parenthood. So today was going to be the first day of redemption. The Great Dane already had thousands of happy children dancing, laughing, and singing in the world’s great wilderness, so who else could enlighten his friend about parenthood on behalf of all humanity – or at least all the novice readers – whom we are pleased to inform that the Great Dane plans to write a book about just that topic, sharing his divine wisdom about parenthood and telling fabulous stories about all his magnificent children with their great beauty, strength, health, courage and intellect. Yes true it is, and totally free of charge, he has decided to give the first universal advice concerning parenthood. So read carefully, here it comes:

Raising a strong and healthy child in a rough urban environment is not an easy task. But don’t despair! Even with the limited imagination which most of the world’s average parents possess, the task can be overcome. Follow the guidelines given by the Great Dane, and everything will be just fine.

1. It is expensive to feed a child, so remember to give it less and cheaper food than what you eat.
2. Too many children are weak and whining and have snotty noses. Therefore let your child stay out all day, the whole year in the fresh air. (This advice is not based on the experience of the Great Dane himself. He has only brought it up-to-date. Already in ancient Greece it was common knowledge that plenty of fresh air builds good character, spirit and stamina. And who other than the ancient Greeks would know?!?)
3. Adults may lie to survive, children may not!
4. Your child knows from birth that it’s not a finished product. It has to grow and evolve before it becomes fully human. That’s why every child wants to grow up fast. It can’t just wait and put up with being small, stupid and fragile. It wants to have more all the time. But time is money, and money doesn’t grow on trees like in the good old days of King Solomon. This is the harsh reality of nowadays, and something your child has to learn on its own. So the best thing would be to let it walk barefoot summer, autumn, winter and spring. This will also save you the cost of new shoes.
5. Inform your child of the many possibilities when playing with a wooden stick.
6. And most importantly: Save up to buy The Great Book Of Parenthood. Something that will help the Great Dane feed his many little Great Danes, who one day will inherit the world.

The Great Book Of Parenthood will among other things give advice on: Heavy Drinking and Sleeping Peacefully Through the Night; Various Cures for the Burning Pain of Migraine; There Is Never Such a Thing as No Sex; To Be or Not to Be Wife Battering; One Hundred and Seventy-Five Strategies Concerning Quarrels; The Enjoyment of Being Alone for More than a Second; It’s Like Peeing in Your Pants; Peeing on Command; The Philosophy of Laxatives; What Could There Be in the Little Potty; How Much Can You Squeeze a Pet; The Hot Cooker Effect; The Amusement of Inventing Household Traps; Cunning Places to Hide the Biscuit Tin; Farting for Novices; Farting by Heart; Farting in the Name of the Father; Advanced Notes in Classical Farting; Various Ways of Leaving Your Child; Lying About Lying; Why There Are No Monsters in the Closet; The Use of Rusty Nails in Pillow Fights; The Excitement of Playing Ball Next to a Street; Why Children Should Always Drive Without Bicycle Helmets; How to Avoid Paying Pocket Money; When the Hands are Under the Duvet; In Every Dark Corner of the School Yard; Teaching Teachers to Like Your Child; Why Your Child is Very Special, and the Children of Others Are Not; The True Meaning of the Bees and the Flowers; Hair All over and in Certain Places; What Period?; How to Get Rid of Her New Boyfriend; Drinking for Good Health and Fortune with Your Son; Wine, Weed and Growing Whiskers; Eighteen and Over (the book will unfortunately only contain a superior passage about this topic, commonly known as the Afterlife of Parenthood, due to its doubtful existence. The Great Dane is instead considering writing a book about an almost similar topic: Life Without Children).

(The Great Book of Parenthood can now be pre-ordered through this site. Postage will be added.)

Just Another Alter Ego is a series of articles about a bumpy road trip into an urban utopia: not one still to come, not one that someday may be, but one that already is the hard, thrilling and colourful hyperreality of life in our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde

The Great Berlin Citizenship Test

The Great Berlin Citizenship Test

There are readers who have questioned the accuracy of the Great Dane’s writings about Berlin. Some have even called it bad fiction and a disgrace to Berlin, suggesting that he should “move his great Danish ass back home to the welfare womb where he was born.” Obviously, the Great Dane doesn’t appreciate such unfriendly attitudes. He wondered whether his critics even know what it means to be a real Berliner. What better way, it occurred to him, to distinguish the real Berliners from the fake Berliners, than to have a citizenship test?

The Great Berlin Citizenship Test
Are you smart enough to be a real Berliner?

(Some questions have more than one answer. But if you are a real Berliner, you already know this!)

What is essential for a real Berliner when going for a walk?
1. A pair of shoes
2. A cheap beer
3. A car

Who said: “Berlin ist arm, aber sexy”?
1. Someone incredibly wealthy
2. David Bowie
3. Berlin’s former mayor David Bowie

Who sets the price for a döner kebab in Berlin?
1. The mother of the brothers running the döner kebab stand
2. Supply and demand
3. It depends who is the current president of Turkey

What does a real Berliner say when leaving a Späti?
1. Ciao
2. Auf Wiedersehen
3. Tschüssi

Where in Berlin is it allowed to drink in public?
1. In your car
2. Everywhere: Drinking in public is a national heritage
3. On public transportation

What is the Berlin Wall?
1. An expression for the low Berlin minimum wage
2. A place to pee when you really have to
3. A wall that divided East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989

What is the dress code for a real Berliner?
1. Black
2. Nothing too light
3. There is no dress code

What is the average number of dogs per person in Berlin?
1. Two: one large and one small
2. Unlimited
3. Too many

Which of the following is one of the largest sources of income for the city state of Berlin(?)
1. Creative industries
2. Tourism
3. Bavaria

Where does a real Berliner drive his bicycle?
1. On the sidewalk
2. On the bicycle path
3. In the middle of the road

How many bridges are there in Berlin?
1. Around 1.700
2. Around 1.100
3. Fewer than the number of lovers I have crossed

What is a “Kampfradler”?
1. A peace activist
2. An aggressive cyclist
3. A special division within the German transport police

Who was the governing mayor of Berlin in 2015?
1. Angela Merkel
2. Horst Seehofer
3. Michael Müller

What is a real Berliner’s attitude towards contemporary art?
1. A better question would be: What is art?
2. It’s bloody brilliant, that’s what it is
3. I want my money back

What can you find at Kantstrasse 101?
1. The monument of Herta Heuwer – the inventor of currywurst
2. The original copy of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason
3. Reality

What is a Great Dane?
1. A large German breed of domestic dog
2. Something almost impossible
3. A figure from your dreams

What is the number one Berlin tourist attraction?
1. A club
2. A bar
3. A Späti

What is a real Berliner’s greatest weapon when facing bureaucracy?
1. Patience
2. Anger
3. Black magic

How do you get an appointment at the Bürgeramt?
1. Pure luck
2. On the black market
3. Show up and waste your time

What is a real Berliner’s relationship to German schlager?
1. It’s flirt guarantee!
2. I love Hansi Hinterseer!
3. Have you seen my mommy?

What is Berlin’s greatest contribution to the world’s food culture?
1. The Döner Kebab sandwich
2. The Currywurst
3. The Berliner

Who is the greatest Berliner of all time?
1. Bushido
2. John F. Kennedy
3. Marlene Dietrich

What is the Third Reich?
1. A period of dictatorship in Germany from 1933 to 1945
2. The place where real Berliners go when they die
3. A precursor to the European Union

What is the official slogan for Sternburg Beer?
1. Merke dir – Sternburg Bier
2. Sternburg Bier – Trinke Eins, pisse Vier
3. Sternburg Bier – Gönne Dir

How does a real Berliner get into the club Berghain?
1. By being really drunk
2. By being very quiet
3. Real Berliners don’t go there

What does “Haste mal ne Kippe” mean?
1. Did you get a haircut?
2. Do you have a cigarette?
3. Please pass me the salt!

Where is the best place for a real Berliner?
1. In the stomach
2. In the cemetery
3. In front

Just Another Alter Ego is a series of articles about a bumpy road trip into an urban utopia: not one still to come, not one that someday may be, but one that already is the hard, thrilling and colourful hyperreality of life in our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde

The Great Crying Monkey

The Great Crying Monkey

What is happening to the world? Is there no way to get rid of all the sad, dreadful things that corrupt our everyday life, turning friends against friends, neighbours against neighbours, lovers against spouses, dog against dog? Will there not come someone one day that is pure and mighty enough to bring about justice for us all – if not for all of God’s wondrous creations, then at least for the innocent and naive followers of the Great Dane? Hear me, dear readers: I say, there will!

The Great Dane cried today. Turned his face into that of a crying monkey. Flushed out all the salty water in his mighty body, so that it flowed over the streets of Berlin. Never had the city been so clean and shiny before. Not even after the last economic crisis and the subsequent public thunder and righteous political rain had the sewers of Berlin been flooded so heavily with rubbish, stinky bollocks, itchy bitchy feelings, lice catching dogs with wet ears, nagging women, poor lonely devils, ever changing winds from government bottoms, Swedish furniture, aching feet, morning pimples, phantom backaches, selfish dog owners, reckless cyclists, angry drivers, spoiled children, stale beer, cheap cigarettes, substitutes for fat and sugar, old news, public repression, political scandals, tiresome commercials, thieves, thugs, rapists, bankers, insurance brokers, landlords, real estate developers, professional beggars, wannabe-artists, babbling bloggers, lying Catholics, radical Muslims, narrow–minded Jews, depressive Protestants and their work ethic, and sellers of too small shoes.

And it happened to the stunned surprise of all Berliners. The reliable and holy weathermen had an especially tough day, having blessed the poor but sexy people of Berlin with the promise of punctual German sunny weather and no sight of teasing clouds. Hiding under the same umbrella on the day of the flood, they formed a shrill choir, calling the phenomenon Every Prediction Goes Down The Drain, advising every fertile soul to find a suitable partner and spend this Day of Judgement in bed. Meanwhile the business channels, seeing the possibilities with a calculating eye, advised their viewers to invest in producers of boats, pumps, umbrellas, buckets, rain­wear, diving equipment, life­rafts, life jackets, hair dryers, triple layer toilet paper, cleaning services, rescue services, salvage services, and tour operators specializing in destinations with long dry seasons.

Also, the never ending soap opera, the New Berlin Airport, was eventually flooded. All those behind the stage saw now their chance to soap up for a good old coming-together washing of hands before they crawled to safety in their sink-proof bureaucratic limousine boats. Later, sailing cheerfully in champagne-soaked circles around Brandenburger Tor, they triumphally announced the forthcoming opening of the New Berlin Public Welfare-Bath with special blinking underwater-lighting, stewardess bikini water shows, plenty of tax-free shops, and exclusive diving trips to some forgotten utopia airport ruin – of course with a reasonable reduction in price for all good taxpayers. It rained so much that the hospitals reported instances of the rare Chinese Sponge-Effect – normally only experienced in the Year of the Jellyfish by Chinese men working in the rice-fields – in which testicles exposed to water for long periods of time swelled up to unbearable sizes, causing terrible pain and giving a new meaning to the expression He Got Balls. There were even rumours about an abnormal rise in birthrates of fishes, frogs, lobsters and snails born out of virgin wombs, attracting legions of hungry Catholic tourists in private water planes.

But the headline that made the day, and almost brought forth a smiling sun, was when Chancellor Angela Merkel showed up to her briefing with The World Press in a wonderful new deep-brown bathing suit, declaring: Welch schönes Wetter! and answering all questions concerning the political consequences of the flood with: Nur ruhig! Ich bin eine sehr gute Schwimmerin!

And then there was the question, that everyone tried to find an answer for: Why did the Great Dane cry? Had he been fatally hurt? Was he still boxing with bad love? Was it because of global warming and the insecure future of all beach owners, the threat to the Pacific Ocean atolls, the smell of sweaty Eskimos, the fate of all the innocent baby seals? Or was it something even more terrible and devastating? The truth is that the Great Dane did not know himself. It just felt good to cry, and for him, that was reason enough.

Just Another Alter Ego is a series of articles about a bumpy road trip into an urban utopia: not one still to come, not one that someday may be, but one that already is the hard, thrilling and colourful hyperreality of life in our cities.

Story © The Great Dane
Illustrations © Sally Wilde