February 6, 2009

Lick My Butt

Disgusting, isn't it? But it’s actually a rough translation for a fairly common German phrase ‘Leck mich am Arsch’, which means something between, ‘Bite me,’ ‘and ‘I’ll be darned.’

You can also insert the word 'doch' to add emphasis, i.e., 'Leck mich doch am Arsch!'

A mechanic said this to me today. Well, technically he was speaking to Ralf but I was there.

You see, our Volvo finally arrived from California about 2 weeks ago and has been in the shop ever since. It's a gas guzzler but it’s also a turbo all-weather family tank and an old friend. Driving it reminds me of my convenient, manicured, blond life as a California mom.

And we buy carbon offsets from Terrapass to assuage our Earth guilt.

The company that moved our Volvo to Germany, Navitrans (I won't bother adding a link), took so long to deliver the car that the battery died and some valve that holds the power steering fluid in rusted and started leaking. They also stole our GPS and our California license plates, although that’s not really germane to this story.

We took it to a Volvo dealer to investigate the blood-curdling sounds it was making when we drove it. Where the stocky, taciturn Bavarian mechanic apparently got the surprise of his life when the car switched on by itself and would not allow itself to be switched off.

This came as no surprise to us because the same thing had happened a few times in California when the locking and unlocking buttons were inadvertantly pushed in some sequence that we never figured out. The Californian Volvo mechanics could tell us nothing but we assumed it was a 'feature' to warm up the car before getting in because we bought it used from someone on the chilly East Coast.

The annoying part is that once the car switches itself on it can only be turned off manually, i.e., by getting into the car, actually starting the engine with the key, then turning it off again.

Fortunately, the only time it ever really caused a problem was one time in a parking lot when I had just gotten the kids out of the car and into the stroller. Other than that, it was an infrequent and relatively benign feature of the car.

Naturally, we named the car ‘Christine’ and thought no more about it.

But the mechanic didn’t like it. Volvos are not supposed to turn themselves on and it disturbed him. He dug around a bit in the engine then called us to complain that someone had installed some mystery cables in the engine that definitely didn’t belong there. Would we like him to remove them?

For 60 EUR an hour?? NFW.

When we picked up the car we were presented with a hefty bill (more of a William) by our Bavarian mechanic, who was unexpectedly smiling. Then, after we had a chance to silently register all the zeros, he explained that they had also stripped out that cables that didn’t belong.

Two pairs of eyes snapped automatically from the bill to his face when he said this, then back to the bill to scan for this additional charge. Ralf’s mouth opened to protest but the mechanic held up one hand and continued: They didn’t charge us for this, he explained, because it needed to be done.

Yes. Really. He said that.

It was while he was recounting his amazing tale of the spooky self-starting car and the unforgettable moment when he first discovered the crazy amateurish wiring in the engine that he used the phrase: ‘Leck mich am Arsch!’ and shook his head feelingly.

Poor guy. I mean, I ask you, who ever heard of a Volvo dealer doing free work? It must have really bugged him.

Ralf was blown away as well. Shaking his head as we walked out to the Volvo he, too, felt the need to say, 'Leck mich doch am Arsch!'

This post has been brought to you by Very Funny Friday.


  1. Thanks for the morning giggle! I hope 'Christine' behaves herself after she has been loving transported to Germany and repaired at €60 an hour!

  2. That's so funny! I don't think I will ever be able to use that phrase in a business situation though. Bite me I could handle, but that's just too close to "kiss my ass" - it's the "ass" part I have a problem with.

  3. It's not really business German so no worries there. ;-) I think it's actually Bavarian slang. Oh and if you ever need to write it for some reason, I spelled it wrong (it's corrected now): it's 'leck' and not 'lech.'

  4. Although my days can be odd sometimes, yours always win!

  5. Was there someone who could ahve a remote control to you car. Makes it even spookier

  6. We have a Volvo with issues, too! But give me a snowstorm, complete with deep drifts, and I think I'd sell one of my kids to keep that car! So glad you got rid of the hitch hiking cables!

  7. Wow, I don't even know what to say! Free work by a mechanic. I'm still shaking my head.

  8. I'm skeptical. I'm sure they padded the other services to make up for it. Shysters!

  9. What a funny story, but I think you were all admirably calm. A car that started by itself would have freaked me out completely.

  10. I love a car that can spontaneously ignite. Sorry, I mean "start".
    And he killed her.

  11. I call the Volvo wagon a Swedish tank. True, it's a gas-guzzler, but you feel safe in it. I once saw a wreck our mechanic said was a head-on collision at 100km/h. The whole front was caved in, but the cage was hardly even bent. Unfortunately, they keep putting in so many complex electronic systems, the chance of something going wrong is multiplied each time.


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