You’ve probably heard this story before, right? You know, the one about these two squadrons in World War I. Yeah, you know, these two squadrons, one was German and the other French. They were deep in their trenches and it was Christmas morning and so, given that the current situation was super depressing, the French commanding officer came out of his trench and yelled out, “I offer a truce, in light that it’s Christmas morning!” Or was it the German? I don’t really remember, and I know you’re going to get on your high heels about who was the benevolent son of a bitch, so suppose both commanding officers, at the same time proposed the truce.
Well, obviously, both squadrons accepted. Bear in mind that these guys had been in that field fighting for over three days. Now, you probably don’t have the slightest idea, and neither do I, but being there must be a bitch. You know when you got a rash and you can’t scratch yourself down there because you’re at the dentist and he’s trying to pull out some bad tooth? Well, that has nothing to do with anything, but these bastards were there for three whole days, watching their friends get killed by other men. It’s brutal. They were down there for 72 hours, thinking about their girlfriends or their wives and thinking that they’ll never again be able to hold them or kiss them or have a nice blueberry cake, because some guys are gay, you know? And there’s nothing wrong with being gay, really. No, there’s nothing wrong about remembering your wife and thinking about cake. Well… where was I? Ah, yes of course, well these guys were in the shit, deep in it, covered all over the place, and it was Christmas. But the field where they had been engaged in deathly combat was coated in snow, so that all the white had covered the dead bodies and it looked awesome. So, they both agreed a truce, and got out of their trenches and recovered their squadron’s dead bodies and brought them back to their trenches. But then, as you are surely expecting, out of some misplaced sense of brotherhood or deranged Stockholm syndrome (I know this has nothing to do with anything, but I know what the Stockholm syndrome is and I just wanted to show it off), some of the brave young soldiers, from both sides, began to talk to each other. Now, these were French and German people, so they spoke more than one language. And so they began to talk, about how it was back at home, about what they were doing before they came here, and all that heartwarming stuff…
Anyway, before anyone knew about it, they began to play football (no, I don’t know where they got the ball, maybe it was just there, some poor kid dropped it, or the gay soldier had it in his backpack, just in case). No, I’m not talking about the skull-breaking American Football. I’m talking about the proper, foot-the-ball game, where you got to kick a ball into a rectangular frame (I refuse to write “soccer” outside a parenthesis). They used the snow to draw a pitch on the field, and they began to play. They had fun and they scored goals, and they took their shirts off to celebrate, and then they put them back on because it was freezing and if they didn’t they would die. And then it was half time, and they had lunch. They had sausages, because that was the only thing they had. No, that’s not to say they had a gay orgy. And they talked and showed each other pictures of their beloved ones, and again all that heartwarming stuff.
But then the second half started, and suddenly the game started to get physical. Out of the blue, the game began to mean something. Suddenly they fought every ball with passion, and they yelled at each other for bad misses or misplaced passes. Now, don’t think that this was due to the fact that they were at war and that they suddenly remembered that they were representing their countries, because that had nothing to do with it. They were proud people, and they were young and football is a very animalistic sport. I mean, you got twenty-two subnormal men chasing a ball, kicking it with their feet… When you think about it, it’s pretty primal, pretty retarded.
So, as expected, they began to fight. Out came the goalkeepers, and the coaches, and the crowd came into the field. Okay, there was no crowd, I made that up. But it got pretty bad, some of them boys lost several teeth, one or two were knocked down, and there was one guy that actually broke two ribs. But that guy was the dumbest of the lot, he was French, of course, and while running away from a German, he fell into his trench and there you go.
Well, obviously after a while they stopped the fight and shook hands again, and with toothless smiles they grinned at each other and laughed at their stupidity. It was a tie game. At least that’s the official version of it. Even though we all know that the Germans probably won, because… well… they are Germans. They’ll mess you up.
Anyway… after the game they spent the rest of the day together, yeah, you guessed it, the same heartwarming stuff. But it was winter, and so it got pretty cold at around four or five when the sun came down. So at that time they all said goodbye, they hugged it out, and went back to their respective trenches.
Now, I just told you this whole story because, supposedly, when the two commanding officers were saying goodbye, they engaged in this little dialogue.
“Well, Captain, it’s been an honor,” the French commander said.
“The honor was all mine, Captain,” the German commander said.
“Oh and I’m sorry about the fight,” the French went on. “In the end, it’s just a game, right?”
“Yes, Captain,” the German smiled. “But to which game are you referring?”
My initial intention was to end this little piece of mindlessness after that last thing the German said, but I felt that I was being too serious and brainy. Though, to be completely honest with you, I just felt sickened at the idea that some bohemian, guitar-playing, dumber-than-a-toilet architect-wannabe would finally link the two neurons in his brain and realize what the fuck I was talking about and actually use that pseudo-epiphany to lure some submental baton-twirler into bed.
It would bother me so much. I can almost see it, this guy, in his deep, masculine voice, going “You see, Mandy,” – these girls always have the stupidest names, right? But I’m sorry if your name is Mandy, not because of what I just wrote, but because your actual name is Mandy – and then he’d say, “This story here, even though it’s written in this humorous, light-hearted way, it’s actually a reflection on how pointless war is, it’s just a game. There’s so much suffering, so much death, and for what? Nothing! There’s so much beauty in the world, dammit! why can’t we focus on that? There’s so much beauty in this world… so much beauty in this country, in this city, in this crowded town-square, in these magnificent buildings, in this café, in these hands [caresses her hands], in this face [touches her face], in these beautiful brown eyes, these porcelain cheeks, this honey-coloured skin… in these soft lips… these strawberry… silky…. delicate… soft lips…” And they would kiss, and the girl would think “Oh my God! This guy’s so cute! Oh my God! Oh my God!” and when they’d finished making out or whatever, she’d go back home and go, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” and she’d call her friend, Sharon, and yell in that squeaky, irritating high voice, “Oh my God, you won’t believe it! You won’t believe it –eevit –eevit! I met this guyyyy! He’s so cute, and he’s really smart, and sensitive, and, like, totally gets me,” and they would talk for about five hours, give or take, and then they’d have to hang up because Sharon’s dad would come into her room and hit her. Too dark? I’m sorry… let’s say her mom would come into her room and tell her that dinner was ready.
But this is Mandy we’re talking about, so she’d be too excited to do anything else but be in a state of total euphoria, and so she’d star jumping on her bed and again with the “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” until she’d finally hit her head, get a concussion and shut the fuck up.
So, there you go, the German officer was implying that war is also a game. And he’s right, it’s a game. Somehow a more sophisticated, technical, and less retarded (yes, it is less retarded despite whatever you damn hippies say!) game than football. But it’s still a game. Something we use to fill our lives with purpose and meaning. Something to hold on so we can safely say “Heil mein Führer!” or “Pour la France!” or “Viva la Revolución!” without feeling stupid. But hey, in the end, it’s like anything else, you know. Whatever works is fine. And it works for them, so who the fuck are we to judge them?
So, there you go, it’s quite a story, isn’t it? Fun, charming, touching, and with a little twist at the end that makes it somewhat less stupid. So, in conclusion, fuck you bohemian, good-looking man! Now you need to find other ways to lure woman into bed –ha! But hey, it’s not all bad; you can always try this line: “Hey, could you come here, sit on my lap, and take a picture with me? [Why?] ´Cause I want to show Santa what I want for Christmas.” [Drum-beat] You didn’t like it? Go fuck yourself.