Twain’s example

9 Apr

Mark Twain once wrote, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example”.

I am convinced he wrote this after visiting Switzerland.

I can just picture him now, stumbling up the stairs of an old apartment building after drinking too much bourbon (undoubtedly smuggled into Europe).  Swaying, hiccoughing, and reaching his front door-he likely found a note that said something along the lines of:

Dear Sir,

Please stop walking in your apartment past ten p.m.  Also, you were spotted in the hallway past midnight, this is unacceptable.  Oh, and tell your lady visitors not to wear their heels in the apartment.  It is too loud.

Thank you,

your neighbor

The Swiss are more obsessed with rules than any culture I have ever encountered.  For example, it is forbidden to use a vacuum on Sundays, and to flush a toilet past ten p.m.

Don’t even get me started on laundry.  I am positive that any homicides occurring in the ‘neutral’ nation have been committed as a result of a laundry dispute.

I’m not kidding, doing your laundry on the wrong day (everyone gets a day) is a complete sin worthy of stoning.  Reactions to such behavior include but not limited to:

Leaving notes on ones front door.

Leaving notes on the washing machine of the building.

Telling all other neighbors to watch out for the ‘rule-breaker’.

Long-winded lectures that continue long after the intended recipient attempts to communicate she cannot understand a word coming out of the Swiss mouth.

It is a strange, strange country that I don’t know too much about, but I can say that I definitely prefer the French approach to rules than the Swiss.

The Swiss treat the green walking man at a crosswalk like Jesus.  I’m with Twain, it’s just plain annoying.  If no cars are approaching, cross the damn street.

Lest we all become sheep.

Someone pass the bourbon, I’m toasting Mark.


12 Responses to “Twain’s example”

  1. Michelle April 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    this made me remember our neighbor in Japan, she always complain even with the slightest noise like the sounds of a footstep. Our manager said Japanese people likes silence. outside the neighborhood, it’s like a ghost town.

    • wanderingmenace April 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

      yea its a similar outlook here I guess. People are very private and they do not like ANYTHING out of the ordinary. Trouble is, until you know what ordinary is-you’re bound to break rules. I just can’t get over this obsession with noise. I could understand if it was actually loud, but this is just me walking around.

  2. Juliana April 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    my “abroad” experience is limited to brazil, where, frankly, most rules can be tweaked. glad to know in advance how much the swiss would hate me.

    • wanderingmenace April 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

      yea, that’s pretty much how well I am received…

  3. kacysue April 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    I’ll drink to that!

  4. Gnetch April 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Oh is that so? Then I don’t think I would be able to get out of Switzerland alive. Thanks of the heads up. Lol.

  5. Jimmy April 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    What are the Swiss the United Nations? We are going to write an angry note to you, please stop.

    I practice the I don’t give shit attitude.

    Samuel Clemens is amazing!

    I love his quote “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”


  6. Adam April 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Twain was a man born of America. I haven’t had the laundry problems, but in Switzerland I was amazed that cars would slow down a good quarter-mile (.2 km?) down the road, just in case you were possibly contemplating crossing it.

  7. Elle April 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Yup. Never moving to Sweden. Laundry on designated days!? I’m all for routines, but that’s too constricting for even me.

  8. mschatz03 April 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    *crosses Sweden off of life-list*

  9. Elle April 14, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    Seriously? That actually goes down in Sweden?! Yeah, never moving there now.

  10. wanderingmenace April 15, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    Guys I love that you’re reading, and even more that you’re commenting. But please don’t avoid Sweden on account of this post. I’ve never been to Sweden, I hear it’s gorgeous. Go ahead and avoid Switzerland though, seriously, the laundry rules are enough to drive anyone batty!! 🙂

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