Playing the insulted liverwurst

I just had to share this. A coworker friend of mine and I went out for lunch on Tuesday this week. She left to move back to Germany today, and Tuesday was our last chance for lunch together. So we went to hit a nice spot we like, Caffe Moderne. It’s a really pleasant art deco sort of place in Old Town. They have great coffee and a variety of soups and unusual sandwiches.

Anyway, it was raining and sort of nasty, and as I was looking for a parking space, one opened up that was super close to the restaurant. I was so glad to see it because my friend happens to be about six months pregnant, and I was really hoping that she wouldn’t have to hike all the way across the Old Town Warren Plaza.

So I pulled in. No problem. At least until we got out. And this random female driver pulled up behind us and started shouting at us about how we’d stolen her parking place after she let us pass her. I was actually shocked. One, I certainly hadn’t intended to any such thing; two, who was this woman, and why did she seem to think that shouting at two strangers standing in the rain was okay? For lack of anything else to say, I pointed out my coworker’s obvious pregnant state, and the woman in the car shouted, “I don’t care!” And then she drove off.


I wish I could make this stuff up.

Anyway, my coworker and I had a good talk about it and figured out where the woman had been. Neither of us had seen her, and neither of us had even imagined that she was going to try to park where we were heading. In all honesty, we had the right of way because we were going straight and she was turning, so we had as much “right” to it as she did.

But one of the things my friend and I like to talk about is language. Because she’s German (she grew up in the Black Forest and has been living in the US for about four years now), we talk a lot about how German and English are similar and about how they are different. We especially talk about idiom. And one idiom she pointed out to me about this situation is: die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen.

The English idiom probably translates to “acting like a prima donna” but its literal translation is more like “playing the insulted liverwurst.”

A sausage with a frown (insulted liverwurst ... get it?)
A sausage with a frown (insulted liverwurst … get it?)

I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. And then she found me this picture, and I laughed even harder.

The other idiom she brought up I blogged about on if you want to check it out. It’s even stranger than this one.

I’m so thankful for language and for friends who love language as much as I do. If this woman had yelled at me while I’d been on my own, I probably would have just cried. But we both got a good laugh out of the situation.

Granted, part of me still feels bad that the woman had wanted to park there and I bereaved her of such a prime parking space. It’s a Wichita cultural thing to park as close to the entry as possible. But still I’d never roll down my window and scream at strangers for taking a parking spot from me. Really, aren’t there more important things in life? And to go as far to tell a pregnant woman her current physical state doesn’t matter?

Yeah, no selfishness going on there at all, lady.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share the new German idiom I learned. And it’s a life lesson too. Don’t get huffy over a “stolen” parking place, otherwise you’ll turn into a grumpy sausage.

A.C. Williams

Amy Williams left a lucrative career in marketing to write novels about space cowboys, clumsy church secretaries, American samurai, and alternate dimensions. Along the way, she also discovered a passion for teaching other creative professionals how to use technology to make life easier. Through video instruction or one-on-one coaching, she teaches software, blogging, basic graphic design, and many other useful skills that help creative entrepreneurs get stuff done minus the frustration.

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  1. But I am one of the strange people who really do like Liverwurst – the picture almost made me hungry!

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