Roland Dürre
Saturday February 2nd, 2019

About To-Do and Not-To-Do Lists …


With my friend Dr. Marcus Raitner during the legendary Dornbirn PM Camp (2013).

There are some blogs that I enjoy reading and about which I also know that I can recommend every individual article therein. One of them is Führung erfahren, which is by Marcus Raitner.

Today, I read the current article by Marcus:
Von den Stoikern Gelassenheit lernen

In this article, Marcus, among other ideas, does some contemplation on Sylvester-Good-Intentions that later became non-existent. Let me cite:
“I was going to be more considerate with my time, I wanted to become more focused and better at giving the right things priority”.

And, of course (the “of course“ is my perspective), he did not succeed. Not because he was too weak. On the contrary: it is very normal that such rules will not work in life, as Marcus can testify: 
”As that of many others, my calendar is full and the five-hour rule as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet introduced it (invest five hours every week in reflections and learning) seems a thing that simply cannot be achieved”.

Quite apart from the fact (and this is again my personal view) that this five-hours rule is not a good one. If anything, you should plan to work a maximum of five hours organized by others on every workday (!) and to donate the rest of the week to yourself. I write “maximum”, because for me these five hours are already too much.

Here is another citation of Marcus:
“… is somehow or other interesting or important (or at least might be interesting or important) and thus the calendar is always more than full, which is also true for the to-do list. Consequently, focusing is first and foremost the question of knowing yourself.“

I do not believe in to-do lists and not-to-do lists. They do the opposite of what you hope they might do. However, self-realization is certainly an important requirement if you want to change. It is not just about priorities in the existing pattern of life or about doing things another way or breaking with a few patterns. The change has to be a radical one. You need to start a new life.

Here is what I propose: it is a good start for change in your own life if you just remove two things completely from your life. To me, the following candidates are obvious:

  • Driving cars.
  • Let the alarm clock wake you up.

Mind you, I do not mean this as a joke. If you manage to remove these two things from your life, you are well under way towards happiness. I managed both. And since I no longer sit in a car at regular intervals, I feel a lot better.

No longer driving a car means, for instance, that you ride your bike. Consequently, you have exercise, instead of having to sit still behind the wheel and never being able to relax mentally. You win time. And if they have no car, it means for most people that they need to work a lot less. After all, they no longer have to earn the money the car costs.

No longer having an alarm clock, too, changes your life dramatically. You get to sleep earlier, eat less at night and no longer schedule pointless meetings early in the morning. And the body will always get exactly the amount of sleep it actually needs. That makes for an increased health and better performance.

Especially entrepreneurs or managers (well, manager is an anti-word, it used to be the leader or the leadership role) can more easily determine what they want to do when, which is not so easy for the train driver or the general practitioner.

We entrepreneurs and leaders are very lucky in that respect, because we have a lot more flexibility than most people in this world. But we actually have to make good use of it – and we must set an example for the others as the leaders in new work. It is up to us.

The downside is that we have to kiss old habits good-bye. And nobody wants that. But it works! I can guarantee it. Just as I can guarantee by 100 % that, if you smile at the mirror, you will see someone smiling back at you. And that is a nice feeling. So: smile at the mirror, sell your car and lock up your alarm clock!

As it happens, 
Marcus gives us a nice metaphor:
“I am absolutely convinced that elephants can learn to dance.”

With Dr. Stefan Hagen, also during the Dornbirn PM camp of October 2013.

That is probably the only important issue where Marcus and I have different opinions.

The elephant metaphor means that huge concerns can actually become agile. I do not think that such a transformation is possible. And also, I cannot imagine that this might be the famous exception from the rule. Whenever I saw concerns try to transform, they failed in the end. In the best case, small biotopes were created, but they were always taken over by reality.

So I plead to abandon the business circus where strange but terribly well-paid actors of the genre business theatre want to make the elephant they administer (and exploit) dance. Let us start a beautiful work life. Where we, as lazy leaders, will limit ourselves to dedicating our time to people (for instance our employees and customers) and to be there when they need us!

Even if it means that we will then no longer get millions in income and compensation – as currently the stars in the business theatre do. None of them are really needed. 
🙂 Neither the millions, nor the business theatre.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Hans Bonfigt
Saturday January 5th, 2019

(Deutsch) Die kleinen Freuden …

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

Roland Dürre
Monday December 31st, 2018

(Deutsch) Und schon wieder geht ein Jahr zu Ende! DANKE!

Another Year is Over! Thank You!

My Dear Friends!

Vivat the New Year!

Here is what I wish you, along with a little wish of mine for 2019!

 

The picture is from Rolo Zollner (http://www.rolozollner.de/). It's under Common Licence

May this piggy bring you all lots of happiness! It has been my Sylvester talisman for many years in IF Blog.

A good start!
Enjoy the new year!
Enjoy the world and honour creation!
Do not shun common sense!
Be free!
Live in lust and joy!
Be autonomous and follow your stars!
Do what you want to do!
Think first of yourself but then also of the others!
And, please, do not become martyrs for a “good cause”!
Do not act right but instead do the right things!
Consequently:
In six words and two sentences:
Enjoy life!
and
Be totally happy!
And I mean every minute of every day and night of your life in the new year 2019!


And here is my wish. Unlike my ”Christmas Greetings 2018“, it is not only for the “old white men“, but for all the people! I would wish that, in 2019, we all act a little more rationally than in 2018 and in the years before, perhaps as I suggest in my DontBuy Article!

Because it is simply a no-go that we destroy the planet with canine madness and kill each other in wars.


But above all
MANY THANKS
To all of you!

RMD
P.S.
The picture is a true click-pig. It is the first thing you get on google. Zillions of people have seen it. It was arranged by my friend Rolo Zollner. He created it for IF Blog and it is listed under Common Licence, which means you can use it if you cite the source and author.

Arrangement and picture by Rolo Zollner.

Roland Dürre
Thursday November 1st, 2018

My Sources of Inspiration …

I like to see myself as a source of inspiration for other people and as someone who creates impulses. However, I do not like to give advice – especially not if nobody asked for advice. Because ad-vices are also vices. Especially if nobody asked for them. That is at least how I feel about it. Just as I also believe that it is a good thing for everybody if he or she can follow his or her own way in life, instead of having to follow what others defined as the way.

But I also assume that, when looking for solutions, we first have to ask the right questions – before then answering them. More often than not, there is no limit to how stupid a question can be. I like asking stupid questions. Just like I also like to inspire people.

View from three hundred metres above on Raiatea and its neighbouring island – one of many highlights of my travels. A good place for contemplation and inspiration …

But then, there are more people who inspire me and give me impulses. It happens if you meet people. If a place is very beautiful, I can even be my own

Currently, I am quite busy studying social systems such as enterprises, which means I am studying Niels Pflaeging. You can also find him on Twitter and FB. I have met him in person and to me he looks like someone who, occasionally, will formulate things directly and who also likes arguments, along with ending up as the winner of an argument.

However, I feel very close to him and consequently I will now write down a few of his recent theories. I found them more or less at random in twitter and facebook.

So here is the stage for Niels:


Let me repeat it, because this is really important: 
The so-called #MaturityDegreeModels  are abominable, misanthropic dirt that hinders the development.

They stand in contrast to all upright learning and development theories. 
They have inherent assignments of guilt. 
They are truly criminal.

Introducing one´s own opinion with expressions such as „Science tells us that…“ does not make one look smart. People see through you.


Lean should never be imposed. #Agile should never be imposed. #Beta should never be imposed. #SelfOrganization should never be imposed. #OrgDevelopment should never be imposed. @OpenSpaceBeta takes an clear stance in favor of #invitation. http://www.OpenSpaceBeta.com  #InviteOrImpose


These days, many firms stage a #NewWork and #Transformation theater.
This will not cause more #achievement and a more humane organisation. On the contrary: it will erode integrity and trust.
How about transformation without (!) making a lot of fuss instead?


Remember:
Holacracy and self-organization 
are as related as a shoe and a banana.


How about we stop wanting to “lead employees“ and instead start „letting teams lead the enterprise“?


You can distance yourself from the #AgileIndustrialComplex. Do not mention the intent, the method, the patterns. Anyone can. And should.


„A good #leader…“ – that does not exist! #Leaders do not exist. Only #leadership exists: It is a social phenomenon that happens in the space between people! Let´s stop the quackery.


It is all about #irritating people – not about #convincing people!


You don’t need to #develop your #people. They can do that on their own. In fact, they #must do it on their own.


Management level. What a dirty piece of vocabulary.


True leadership means working on the system.


Command-and-control organization does not produce any winners. It only produces losers. Even at the top.


So far Niels Pflaeging.

Much of what he says is how I feel about life in my family, in my enterprise and in all other social systems.

There should be a prohibition on all wheel models, competence matrices/models, development processes, teaching programmes, development centres and leadership programs. In all of these models, one individual person puts himself above others. Or, and that is just as bad (or even worse), a system is put above individual persons.

Well, if you have rules, that means someone has written some orders. Processes are processes. First, you have the “I-know-better”, then comes the morals and then the assignment of guilt. We really should stop doing things that make us and others look smaller and that hinder our development.

However, Jens is far from the only source of inspiration for me. There are many others. It starts with my family and continues far out, including you all. Currently, due to the Bavarian elections and the political discussion, often comes to mind. I might even write an article about him similar to this one. Again, speaking for all of you. Until such a time, however, you may wish to follow him on twitter ().

But I have so many more sources of inspiration – and I would like to write about all of them. Well, all I can say is I wish you all love and all that is well and good. And I thank you all very much, indeed.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday April 5th, 2018

Can We Be Saved?

In 1999, it was played on the IF-Treff: our drama “Can We Be Saved?“. That is why we called it the IT-Treff Satire (1734) – you can read and play it here. The work was created and written down by Norbert Weinberger and yours truly – on our way to India in the overnight plane. And later, we polished in during many hours of fine tuning, before we finally played it in the Munich Schlachthof before an audience of more than 700.

In those days, we, as amateurs, were part of a good tradition from previous years during which the IT-Treff had celebrated through long nights with such famous protagonists as Gerhard Polt and Django Asül. The arena was always full, it was a hot summer. And in 1999, there was a wonderful finish to the legendary IT-Treff at the same location. We decided to stop because it was so beautiful. In my personal experience of many years, it is actually a wise rule to terminate something when it is best.

In those days, I – and I think the great Gerhard Polt thought the same – I still believed that something might be salvageable. Today, I am no longer so sure. Because too many things that I cannot at all understand happen.

A useless war in Syria that nobody can and wishes to stop.

A Germany that, as an heir to the Third Reich, again gets really into the leading role when it comes to producing weapons and the always predictably failure-doomed attempt at solving problems with armies. For me personally, this is extremely bitter, because if there ever was a country that had a good reason to never again have an army, then it is exactly this said Germany. Yet that is not what we did – and thus we missed a historically unique chance.

A language that suggests wars are harmless, because it continuously uses words like information war and economic war.

  • A world-economy that is more and more centred around betting and has long ago liberated itself from the real economy.
  • And as a by-product, we ruin the planet to such a huge extent that it probably no longer makes any difference if more and more people get poorer and poorer while very few get obscenely rich. Because all will be over very soon, anyway.
  • A world where, in the wealthy countries such as the FRG, one ton of car probably is no longer balanced by 100 kilograms of humanity. Regardless of the fact that the people – especially those who drive cars – are far from light-weight.
  • With people in this world for whom it is more important that their cars have space than that they themselves have space.
  • With a principle that systematically puts growth that is impossible over “less is more”.
  • And much more that nobody can understand, yet in some way or other everybody does. …

Mind you, I am basically not a sad or pessimistic person. On the contrary: I enjoy life and have lots of fun. In fact, sometimes I almost have a bad conscience because I am doing so well. Said conscience is then pacified by me writing these stupid articles. Or by me doing things like in the video below. How sad that I get the impression it might all be in vain. And regardless of the fact that, basically, everybody I meet agrees with what I say, the opposite of it is done collectively.

So – thank you for reading it! And perhaps even for watching the video recording. And if you enjoyed the video, here is another, even better one! It is even more worth watching!

Sorry, I just cannot quit!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The theatre play (IT-Treff Satire) was so great that I would like to see it again? Does any of you feel like performing? I would willingly support a re-run. Maybe in a potpourri with several short and quick pieces, as part of a nice party?

Roland Dürre
Friday March 16th, 2018

March, 15th, in the Morning:-)

Sitting in the IC 196 to Zürich.

Today, I visit Wolf in Switzerland. At 6.31 a.m., the S-Bahn train was to leave Neubiberg. To get to Neubiberg station, I have to cover a little more than one kilometre. Consequently, I leave home shortly after six.

Morning is already breaking, it smells of spring. Behind the houses, I can hear the earlier S-Bahn train. It is on time. That is good news.
The road turns towards the railway track. I walk along the way towards the station and enjoy the day. I remember that, before Christmas and before my trips to the South Sea and to the Antarctica, the two clocks on the Neubiberg platform showed times that differed by two minutes. To be more precise: the one at the southern end was correct, the one at the northern end was two minutes late.

On my way, I meet a gentleman who is walking his dog. He, too, is in no hurry. I approach the railway station. In the distance, a very new looking Fiat Cenquecento is in the process of parking on the park&ride lot and does some rearranging. A young lady – a little on the well-rounded side but dressed very stylishly – gets out of the car. She wears black and looks very chic. I can see it all from the distance.

Then I arrive at the S-Bahn station. I walk first down and then up the steps. I am too early. The platform is still rather empty. I recognize the lady in black on the platform. She smokes a cigarette. It all fits perfectly: new Cinquecento, very well-groomed and well dressed, with a cigarette. A modern lady.

I have time and thus walk along the platform. Another lady – slim and blond and not quite as well dressed – is standing there and smoking a cigarette. I compare the time on the two clocks: this is hard to believe, but everything is as it was. The southern clock shows two minutes later than the northern clock. I stand where the rear of the train will be. Because the S-Bahn train will change directions at Ostbahnhof and I want to be at the front of the train when arriving at Munich Central Station and take the escalator up to the platforms. This is what I call route optimization.

In Neubiberg, the S-Bahn trains meet. This time, the outgoing train comes first. I take a close look at the train. The first part is rather empty. Only women sit there. Is that a coincidence? Or is there a reason that more women than men use the outgoing S-Bahn trains this early in the morning?

My S-Bahn train is a little late. I can already see the three headlights as it arrives from Ottobrunn. It is (almost) on time. I board the train. Here, too, more women than men are on board. Perhaps there is also some “gender“ issue about women having to use the S-Bahn trains earlier than men?

The DB sends me a (stupid) delay alarm. And they tell me that, at my destination in St. Margareten, we will arrive on another platform than expected.

I am back home!

RMD
🙂 Written in the EC 196 on my way to Zürich – finished when we were passing Buchloe.
(Translated by EG)

Yesterday, we had our yearly InterFace AG Christmas Party. As always, it was a nice party – with lots of music, dancing and communication. We were in the Rock-Café in the heart of Munich.

On the preceding evening, they asked me to say a few personal and Christmassy words. I worked very hard on formulating something nice and I presented it yesterday evening. You can find the text under the picture.

I took my inspiration from ALTO, Knud Johanssen’s saxophone. It accompanied us beautifully during our performance on October, 22nd, 2017 at the Nuremberg DOAG.

Here is what ALTO – Knud Johannssen’s saxophone, said.

Here are my ideas on Christmas 2017. I gave it the title:
WRONG or RIGHT?


It started with my early childhood. My educators wanted to make a perfect human of me. I was to be a model person! Every mother’s pride. I was to be nice, honest, obedient, polite, well-combed at all times; I was to stand upright at all times (“do not stand like a hunchback”), as well as talk in a loud, distinct and correct way – but only when asked. And, above all, I was to be a good student.

With many of their attempts, my suppressors failed. But nevertheless, it was far from nice for me. And what had been required of me certainly marked me for life.

Later, I wanted to be a “good” person, a diligent employee, a quick (and error-free) programmer, a loving husband, an understanding father, a top manager and a super entrepreneur.

Perfection was my motto. I wanted to be a “professional”, not a “dilettante”.
In other words – I wanted to do things “right”!

Then I understood that it is not so important to do everything “right”.
It is much more important to do “the right” things!

My reasoning is simple:
What happens if I do the “wrong” things totally “right”? Can’t it easily end in a catastrophe?

🙂 Consequently, I am now glad that I remained a dilettante through my entire life. Because that means it is not so bad if I occasionally did or do the wrong things!

But who knows what is “right” and “wrong”?

I live in the NOW. More often than not, I do not know if what I did YESTERDAY was “right”. So how am I supposed to know TODAY what will be true TOMORROW?
Today, everybody talks about TRANSFORMATION and INNOVATION. People suffer under the COMPLEXITY of life (it does not matter if said complexity is imagined or real). COMPLEXITY does not make it any easier to decide whether something is “wrong” or “right”. As I see it, the only way to deal with COMPLEXITY is PARTICIPATION. And the same is true for TRANSFORMATION and INNOVATION.

So:
The only way to find the “right”, i.e., the nice way is if we try to find it together. As many persons as possible must contribute by giving their hearts and their wisdom. We need to share knowledge and pull at one string.

As an inspiration, here is a small anecdote:

In 1985, everybody who was important in music met in order to record the song “We are the world” for Africa. At the door of the music studio, they had hung a note that said: “Please leave your ego out!”

Well, that takes us back to right or wrong. Because, of course, you need to contribute by bringing the “right” parts of your ego. You only have to leave the “wrong” parts back out.

So here I stand feeling gratitude and love and wishing you a nice holiday, a good start and a successful year 2018! Thank you for everything, in love!

WE ARE THE WORLD!

If you feel like it, you are invited to hum and/or sing. Because the message is:
DO NOT LAMENT, JAM (= TOGETHER)!


Now I wish everybody and especially those who are in some way or other connected to InterFace AG a wonderful and nice Christmas and all the best for the New Year 2018!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 19th, 2017

The Road as a Metaphor für our Life.

So far, I already had the pleasure of giving the wedding speech for four of my children. When preparing these speeches, I am always (particularly) diligent and I try to formulate important ideas.

More often than not, they include ideas that helped me in the past. Which makes them probably worth handing on to others. That is especially true for the bridal pair, but also for as many other persons as possible
Consequently, I will now publish a few central ideas from my last marriage speech. Also because today is Sunday.


The road as a metaphor for our life.

The road through life starts with our birth and ends with our death. The most precious commodity on this road is the time we spend as we travel it. The reason why time is so precious is because it will never come back. If you lose friendship or money, they might come back, but time never will.

The beginning of our road is our birth.

We make our appearance in the world and are part of a social unit. We meet people who accompany us on our road, and we do not know them in advance. We have not selected them. As a general rule, they are our family.

Roads will converge and diverge.

As we grow, we will meet more people who will travel part of the road with us. The kindergarden mistress, the teacher, our first friends, …
This is how we walk on our road: some part of it with more and some fewer persons. New faces will be added, many roads diverge for longer intervals or even forever.

We are “gatherers and hunters”.

On this path of life, we collect all kinds of “toys”. Some of them are our joy and some of them might actually hurt. Many of these toys come from the past. They might be memories, disappointments, losses, injuries, etc….

Others point towards the future and are just as hard to accept in life. Among them are dreams for life, hopes, fears, expectations, projections, etc….

We do not own things, things own us.

Thus, the backpack we carry through life becomes bigger and heavier all the time. Both the backpack and its content will become ballast for us that might occasionally be quite hard to carry.

There comes a day when we marry.

“Marriage Ceremony” is a conscious decision for me – a commitment – with which we state that we will now share our road through life with another person in a very special way. It is a mutual declaration: “come with me”.

Something new starts. Consequently, a marriage is certainly not a bad time to empty your backpacks, or, better still, to leave them sitting off the road.

Get rid of your backpacks!

Because: life happens in the here and now. If and as long as the past and the future determine what we think and how we act, we do not really live.

So me plea to the bridal pair is: think also about if and how you wish to (and can) make use of today. Why don’t you shed all the ballast from the past. Here is what I would like to wish you:

Spend every day of your lives in continuously growing joy and with more and more courage!


Some of these ideas have also been inspired by the book Ein Tag mit der Liebe (Ein Tag mit der Liebe) by Moshen Charifi; it is a book I highly recommend. In this book, Charifi presents a dialogue during a hike on LOVE and INFATUATION in a wonderfully considerate and violence-free language.


Designed for Katherina and Martin on October, 27th, 2017. And for all the people of this world. In love!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Thursday November 9th, 2017

Get Yourself a Beer…

Miriam was a minx!

Everybody knew it – so Hermann, too, knew it.

But, being the youngest, the farm was going to fall to him. It was the biggest farm in Erleinsbach, but it was rather run-down and indebted!

On Sundays, when everybody – except Hermann who stopped going there a long time ago – met in the surrounding pubs for their regulars, the state this farm was in was simply commented with “yes, Hermann does not have an easy life!” – if you were lucky. More often than not, these words were then accompanied by either a sleazy grin or embarrassed silence. There were even some who actually spat on the ground whenever the farm was mentioned.

Hermann’s brothers and sisters were only too happy that, after having been hesitant for many years, he had agreed to be the heir of the farm. None of them would have wanted to burden himself with it. His older brother Korbinian preferred working as a carpenter in the neighbouring village of Kopfing and Annegret had married into a respectable and profitable farm when she was very young. For farmer Leitner, Annegret was a stroke of luck: she might not be the most attractive and snugly person, in fact, she was perhaps even a little frog-eyed, but she was as industrious as a honey bee. Her mother-in-law herself said so with pride whenever she wanted to show off in front of the neighbouring farmers. Annegret could work like no other. No haystack was too heavy for her, no tractor too big, no manure spreader too smelly – and even when she was round with a baby inside, she milked all the cows and cleaned the stalls.

My old lady is a true ’working animal’, the red-cheeked farmer Leitner would often contentedly say to the regulars at the pub before toasting his friends around the table with a full stein of beer.

But Miriam – she was not a ’working animal’!

Regardless, Hermann married her! Actually, he married her even though she was no longer the freshest fruit on the market and came with a fatherless child. Said child, however, was well cared for in Grieskirchen by Miriam’s aunt. So it was not much of s surprise that, under these circumstances, it was not easy for Miriam to find someone to marry in the vicinity of her home place Natternbach, where everyone knew everyone. Hermann actually fit the bill quite well!

Luckily, Miriam only saw her offspring Paula at funerals and marriage ceremonies. That was more than enough! Because whenever she laid eyes on Paula, Miriam was disappointed and angry to notice that her daughter looked just as unattractive and worn-down as her father who, as always, was still working as a butcher in Wels: why had Paula not inherited at least a little bit from her mother?

Yes, she knew how you made yourself up to look sexy and how you turned men’s heads with a high bosom and a steep bottom. Every one of the farmers turned his head when she appeared. But Paula? Perhaps a blind man would turn if she called something friendly after him …

Hermann rather liked Miriam’s Paula!

He had occasionally seen her at family gatherings and he had also once in a while pinched her well-rounded bottom! It was all, of course, in a very friendly manner – which meant her only reply was a laugh. He also knew Paula’s less-than-elegant father Josef. And, as opposed to all the others, Hermann was truly proud of her mother Miriam!

Yes – as proud as a peacock!

He would never ever have dreamed that such a ’nice lady’ would want him for a husband: him, who did not know how to behave, never looked very attractive and never had enough money. What could he offer to a lady like her?
Well – a farm – and a lot of dirty work along with it. From morning to night!
Miriam came from a family of craftsmen!

Her father had been a roofer. Her mother had always been particular about there always being a good meal and two bottles of beer on the table when he came home after a hard day’s work. But still, she could not prevent his death, one morning when it rained and he fell from one of the steep church roofs. Cervical dislocation – and a multiple broken spine!

Subsequently, Miriam’s mother had had to feed herself and her daughter, who more and more grew into a beautiful, well-rounded thing, by cleaning and cooking for others. Small wonder that said Miriam swore to herself that she was absolutely going to marry a man who could offer her more than her clumsy father had offered to her mother. Or than this fat Josef who had given her Paula in a state of total alcohol stupor but could barely pay the alimonies for her.

And it was absolutely out of the question that she would one day clean after others as her mother now had to do all the year round. That was not for her. No, she would rather remain by herself and dry out slowly – as her mother had predicted!
Perhaps Miriam looked so attractive to Hermann because she neither looked like a farmer’s wife nor ever wanted to become one?

Hermann had always had a certain tendency towards wanting to feel superior to others. Even at school. Korbinian and Annegret had shown the same tendency and had often been ostracized by the other farmers.

Above all, Hermann admired Miriam’s satiny, light skin! Her face never showed the frost bite marks that shone when you danced and were so common for farmers’ wives. She knew how to dress and would not have looked out of place as a salesperson in Linz.

While he kept telling his siblings and other stupid folks that he certainly could not have cared less about this ’roofer’s daughter Miriam’, Hermann – regardless of some warnings – probably was less than alert when the decisive moment came: it came as a total surprise to everybody when, one day, and in the middle of harvest time at that, he stood in front of the altar with Miriam at his side.

From day one she made it clear to a not really surprised Hermann that there was no way she was going to play farmer’s wife and, perhaps, later even wipe his bottom.

Miriam had other plans and saw to it that she was immediately entered into the register for Hermann’s farm in order to, at long last, get the loan from the Grieskirchen bank she needed for fulfilling her life’s dream: opening a bar in Wels!

Her counsellor at the bank had, during very personal conversations, drawn a very rosy picture of the goldmine that was sitting here waiting for her if she was willing to approach the affair with him and the right power, provided she did not allow the always tired little Hermann to interfere.
The farm as a security made everything possible, the industrious gentleman from the bank assured her. And Miriam, outfitted in her nice Dirndl dresses, did her best to keep him in line!

However, the initial euphoria did not last long: to be sure, the Dirndl dresses were still looking pretty good, since she mostly worked only wearing her underwear or even less, but the bar dream had become pure fiction and she had received quite a few not too nice ’scars’. Thanks to her youth, however, said scars were still something one could camouflage if nicely dressed and wearing full war paint.

Besides, Miriam was not stupid. From her bank consultant, she had learned between all the cuddling, sweaty moaning and the occasional slab in the face how, even through heavy waters, you could find a safe haven for your nest-egg in various tax paradises.

And, soon after the strange bank guy, Dario, whom she had first met in the Linz ’Rosenstüberl’ showed her all the things she could do with her nest-egg in Southern Spain.

Since Hermann’s shabby farm had never brought the profit he had predicted, it was only fair that he now remained back having to deal with the debt!
When Dario gave her an ultimatum about delivering and eloping with him, she called to Hermann that, for her, time was definitely too precious to waste her best years with his kind.

Looking at how he, Hermann, ran his farm and made one mistake after the other, she was sure that, even in a hundred years, he was not going to make a success of this ’pigsty of a farm’ – those were the words she hissed at him as she stood in the front door wearing her red pantsuit. Meanwhile, Hermann was busy on the farm throwing the freshly produced dung in ever higher arcs onto the dung- heap – and, as always, he said nothing!

“Why don’t you throw yourself after the dung right into the dung-heap, Hermann? After all, that would be the right place for a loser like you”, she screeched hysterically before driving out of the farm in his old Mercedes. All that was now left on the farm were three pigs, two old cows, one sheep and some remaining straw that also already started getting mouldy; all other income had been sold immediately after the harvest in order to at least pay the most pressing parts of the debt to the bank.

Deep in his heart, Hermann actually shared Miriam’s analysis, although seeing her leave in such a shabby way cut right into his heart.
Without much thought, Hermann simply tried to continue as before after this disaster with Miriam: during the day, he moonlighted for some people he knew in the neighbouring villages as a mason, and in the evenings, he crawled through the shabby remainders of his farm with little enthusiasm and in an even worse mood.

Once in a while, at least his sister Annegret came for a visit. She did his laundry, cleaned his kitchen and, twice a year, cleaned the windows in his bedroom and the big living room. Without her, he would have drowned in his own dirt.

The only light at the end of the tunnel of this sad existence for Hermann was – Miriam’s Paula – who, for some strange reason had taken to him. Or maybe she simply wanted to make her stupid mother angry!

Fact was, Dear Paula, as he called her, still appeared on his front door in Grieskirchen every few months and stayed either a short while or a little longer, depending on how she liked it. And grumpy Hermann would always suddenly feel better: he even shaved, washed himself, wore a clean shirt and one of the two pairs of jeans he owned and drove to Natternbach with Dear Paula to go shopping. After all, she would always cook something delicious for him in the evening and afterwards sit with him over beer and egg liquor.

She also merrily told him about her work as a hairdresser, asked extensive questions about his ailments and watched whatever nonsense he wanted to see on TV.

And three times a year, she even persuaded him to have his hair cut by her – a procedure that always ended with terrible fuss and laughter, especially when, regardless of his most intense opposition, she relished in treating the abundance of hair in his ears and nose.

She also tamed the wilderness above his eyes! And as far as his sparse top hair was concerned, there were literally the most violent discussions and rounds of giggling about the appropriate length of every individual string of hair. And when, afterwards, his eyelids fell down from sheer exhaustion, she guided him into his smelly bedroom next to the big living room before taking her seat in her car and again making herself scarce …

They never talked about her mother – that was an unspoken, silent agreement that was strictly adhered to, no matter how much they had imbibed.
 
But then, after what felt like a hundred years – on a November evening – Miriam suddenly appeared in the big living room! She looked as bent as an old wardrobe and as dry as her already dead mother …

Hesitantly, she said:

“A good day to you, Hermann!“

The no longer slim Hermann – with a damaged hip and a hurting knee – lay on the sofa in front of the TV set in a strangely contorted way, glanced briefly at her, took a huge gulp from the beer bottle that sat within easy reach on the floor next to the sofa and kept looking exclusively at the TV screen…

“Do you no longer know me, Hermann?“

“Oh yes, I know you!“

“And you have nothing to say?“

“Naa…“!

“May I sit down …?“

“Take the stool near the oven.“

“Thank you, Hermann.“

“And help yourself to a beer!“

“I no longer drink beer, Hermann!“

“All of a sudden?“

“Aren’t you not going to ask why?“

“Well, I guess you will tell me!“

“I! – I – I – have cancer …!“

“Is that also my fault?“

“Naa – it is not why I am here …“

“Then why?“

“Because I do not know where to go?“

“Why?“

“Because I am ashamed – because of all I did!“

“Hark, hark …“!

“Well, you know, I am really ashamed, Hermann.“

“Before whom?“

“Before your siblings – and Paula – and all the others.“

“And not before me?“

“No, Hermann, not before you!“

“Aha.“

“Well, it is the truth …“

“Well, if that is how you feel?

“Yes, that is how I feel …“

“You do not look too well!

“I know, Hermann!“

“Are you hungry …?“

“No – I cannot eat normal food any more.“

“Where is the problem?“

“The intestines …!“

“Hm – I understand…“

“I no longer have any strength …“

“Me neither!“

“Stupid – with me, this is really true …“

“With me, too …“

“Are you going to send me away?“

“Naa – you can make up your bed in our bedroom, if that is what you want!“

“Thank you, Hermann“.

“I assume you know where to find everything?“

“Yes – Hermann…“

“I can help you if you want me to …?“

“Not necessary, go ahead and drink you beer …“

“Okay“…

When Miriam had made her half of the shared marital bed, she lay down in it, pushed the cover over her head and after this day never rose again.

And when, on Christmas Eve, she kept moaning and crying out loud with pain, Hermann patted her with his rough hands – until she became very still …

KH
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday August 13th, 2017

My First “Coming Out“

Today as a: “Sunday Column “!

It is really about time to break with patterns and taboos. Consequently, I will now start doing so. Also in the IF Blog. I will start small and very softly… But as time goes by, things may develop.

Here is who I am: a male mammal. Of the species “human”. Humans are descendants of humanoids who, earlier, developed from some apes. They call them “primates” – as opposed to the wise and beautiful elephants, cows and pigs, which is incomprehensible for me.

Male mammals have genitals. The same is true for me. A male sexual organ has many disadvantages. One of the probably more harmless ones is the question: ”how to cover it? “.

Selfie under difficult conditions – but definitely without knickers!

Consequently, “homo sapiens’” created underpants. And they founded the underwear industry that really makes good money with underpants. Clothes became a moral issue (“this is how you have to dress” or “this is absolutely impossible”). Among other things, there is a moral code that says that you (especially men) cannot run around without underpants.

Except – underpants are uncomfortable. To be sure, trousers are even more uncomfortable. And if you do not wear underpants, they might actually hurt. Just think of Lederhosen. Incidentally, they can even hurt if you wear underpants.

For the male humans, a special obligation to wear underpants has been established. Women wore skirts. So it was easier for them to go “without knickers”. What is impossible for men is considered “erotically bold” for women.

So what I did is wear underpants for more than 50 years and change them on a daily basis if possible.

Roughly ten years ago, I discovered a full-body dress for men in India. Perhaps they call it Caftan. I bought two of them (one green and one blue) and used them instead of a bathrobe, especially in summer. And I quickly realized that you need not wear underpants under such a Caftan. All of a sudden, I discovered a totally new feeling of well-being. Now everything is so free – and centralized.

Hans Söllner at the Erding Sinnflut-Festival, 2004, still wearing trousers.
(dkeppner@freenet.de)
GNU Free Documentation License, from Wikipedia.

Since I am a coward, I rarely wear my Caftan in public without underpants underneath. One of the reasons is that – naively – I used to believe I am the only man who likes running around without underpants.

Well, this is how we men are. Because we always think we are the centre of the universe and nobody else ever had the same idea as we. But that is not how it is.

Then came the Bayern-Sound Festival, which I attended. And Söllner Hans played there. He wore a skirt. And he assured us that he was “absolutely underpants-free”.

Hans had more good arguments for wearing a skirt and no underpants. He also said he wanted to make it easy for those “who could screw him”. And that the number of them was rapidly increasing.

I feel similarly. For me, too, the number of those who “can screw me” increases all the time. Especially if they forget that they, too, have been born as mammals and not as system agents. And if they really push themselves to the front and think they are true heroes. Then they can really …

RMD
(Translated by EG)