i’ve been thinking, what could i do in this world to survive, what kind of job do i want, what kind don’t i want, where can i find a gun, and so on. Well, i need money, and lots of it; but i also need to feel i’m being useful, doing some good, however brief & limited that good. In Kassel most of my students were quite low level, and i saw an improvement; in Munich it’s another story – students who are already pretty good, over 30, with ingrained errors and no real interest in correction. When i try to correct or teach grammar i get the now familiar “don’t hassle me, man” looks, and so rarely bother.

Consequently, i’m paid to do little more than turn up and chat. More fun than minimum wage data entry but i’m past the age for fun & jollity, i want to feel i’m in some way useful, to someone. i want, in the words of Ben Horne, to do good.

i did good in two ways today:

1. Coming to McLingua, i passed a gimp on crutches. i guessed he was going to the physiotherapist on the 2nd floor (McL is on the 6th) but he went past the building entrance. As i was about to enter the lift i saw him awkwardly crutchling back, and ran over to open the building door, then kept the lift where it was till he entered. A small deed but given how long the lift takes to go up and down 6 floors, i felt i had justified my existence for another few 10 minutes or so.

2. i taught a class of engineers, one of whom, a redheaded male, has accepted a secondment to China.

elberry: with your hair, the Chinese girls will follow you everywhere, begging to touch you.

red: I don’t like the Chinese people.

elberry: That will only excite them.

engineer 2: They will feel you are interesting because you don’t like them.

elberry: You will acquire a following. You just need to tell them, as soon as you get off the plane: “I don’t like you people.”

engineer 2: I think they will worship you like a God.

red: What?

elberry: They will write a bible about you, the Book of Red, and spread over the world, converting the heathens. You can form them into an army and get them to do your job for you. They will carry you into work every day, on a golden litter.

red: what?

To illustrate, i drew a stick figure picture on the board, of a scowling German carried on a litter by happy slaves. The German is saying: “I don’t like Chinese people”. The slaves are grinning ecstatically.

This was a meritorious deed.

i feel i have now accomplished enough good for one day but tomorrow is another question. My job does not directly allow for goodness; it is possible, sometimes, in violation of my orders & supposed purpose, to spread joy – as we see in these examples. But i want to shed the masquerade of teaching English, and be openly acknowledged & paid as a bringer of joy to mankind.

 

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