Thursday, July 22, 2004

So Ist Das Leben

"So ist das Leben,' is what I often say to myself when things don't quite go my way. I have said it so often over the nearly 36 years that I have been in business that my employees, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of one of my companies, gave me a wall plaque that repeats the phrase. Recently, an employee of mine visited Hawaii and while there had the saying embroidered on a baseball cap for me.

What does it mean?

It is in German, a language I still speak haltingly. It simply means 'That's life.'

The saying is relevant to me because I have a certain fatalism in my outlook. I am, for the most part, a raging optimist. Sometimes, though, things happen that are unforeseen and unexpected, and what can we do but accept them?

So ist das Leben.

That doesn't mean that we should roll over in the fetal position and wait to die. No, it simply means that while we don't particularly like what just happened, we will deal with it and go on to bigger and better things tomorrow.

Sometimes, I say to myself, 'Es ist alles Scheisse.' Translated, that means that everything is shit. That is always a very temporary sentiment, for me, usually articulated after I read or hear about yet another example of human foolishness or outright stupidity. But then I follow up with, 'So ist das Leben.' and life goes on again.

There is much to be frustrated by in the world. No-one appears to learn by experience that certain behaviours are counter-productive. Too few people fail to connect the dots between their own abysmally poor manners and the fact that everyone around them is inconsiderate and boorish. That's the least of it.

What's worse, is that we don't mind our own business. We make others pay for our failures. We blow each other up. We abuse our children and spouses. We rape, steal, defraud, and God-knows-what-else.


Es ist alles Scheisse. So ist das Leben.


  1. I'm curious. It seems you are having one of your "Es ist alles Scheiss", days. Why do you capitalize "Scheiss"? Could it be there is a valid reason for elevating the importance of "Shit" in our lives, or is this just one of your teutonic affirmations that categorizes our activities into Schiess or Other.

  2. I'm just following the German convention that all nouns are capitalized. Not just proper nouns, as in English, but all nouns.