I may have gone a little too far last month when I urged criminals to target fresh-off-the-plane American lawyer Mark Herrmann.
But the ‘London is so expensive and weird’ blog post he wrote for New York-based legal website Above the Law was annoying…
Here’s an extract:
“From an American’s perspective, everything in London is nauseatingly expensive (or ‘quite dear,’ as the locals so quaintly put it). But the cost of housing goes far beyond ‘nauseatingly expensive’; it’s eye-poppingly, grab-your-chest-and-drop-to-the-ground, out of sight. It leaves partner pay in the dust”
Anyway, law’s Bill Bryson is back with a second round of observations about us crazy Brits. Highlights include:
A stinging critique of the washer-dryer (apparently not big in the US).
“Listen, chaps: A dryer is supposed to dry your clothes…The United Kingdom is one of eight countries in the world that has successfully detonated a nuclear weapon, but these boys can’t crack dryer technology? What’s up with that? Hey, maybe that’s an answer! Nuke the friggin’ clothes!”
Severe dissatisfaction with our traffic lights, in particular the amber signal, which Herrmann links to the disappointing results he has experienced with washer-dryers.
“Here, they’ve affirmatively chosen to enable clowns on the other side of the intersection to run the red/yellow before the light turns green. Maybe they wear wet clothes to soak up more blood after the accidents.”
Some rather passé grumbling about British English terms such as “public school”, “aubergine” and “ground floor”.
“I went to a restaurant and ordered some aubergine. I figured maybe that was some other variety of haggis. But the waiter must have misunderstood: He brought me eggplant…in the United States, the “first” floor of a building is the first floor; it’s the floor at street level. In the United Kingdom, that puppy is called the “ground” floor; the “first” floor sits one above it…In the U.K., “public” schools refers to the private schools!?”
Herrmann – who is three months into his time in the UK as a senior in-house lawyer at Aon’s London office – concludes by offering a solution:
“We’ll resolve this by letting our leaders arm wrestle. We’ll set Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth at a table. They’ll arm wrestle over each word: “first”, “public”, and maybe even “aubergine/eggplant” and “courgette/zucchini”, too. If the Prez wins, everyone will use the American formulations; if Her Majesty wins, we’ll use the Brits’ words. (Note to New Yorkers only: Don’t worry, guys! I’m giving us a 51-year-old man, and I’m giving them an 86-year-old woman. I don’t think those Brits will notice that I’ve rigged the game, and it’ll be eggplant forever!)”
Who said Americans weren’t blessed with the gift of comedy?
The full post is here.