Sometimes I really enjoy politics – in the same way I enjoy a nice glass of red wine, or a good Jennifer Aniston movie, or a bit of porn. I get pleasure from it. Pure, simple, easy-peasy pleasure. I enjoy it. I especially enjoy watching people resign. I enjoy that moment when you know they’re going to – and those moments when you think they won’t – and, best of all, that final triumph: that moment, when they, after all, do.
I guess it’s the sadist in me. As a kid, when I got home from school before my mum did, I used to sit on the porch in the sun and decide which ants to kill. “If you go onto that brick over there, I won’t kill you,” I’d whisper, viciously, and half the time I’d go back on my word and just kill all the bastards anyway.
So I enjoyed Mubarak resigning, of course – but not half as much as Zu Googleberg. Because he will have to go, won’t he? Surely, he’ll have to go? But maybe he won’t. He doesn’t seem to think so.
I was on the U8 with my son when Googleberg’s face popped up on the Berliner Fenster. I stopped our conversation and moved closer to the screen so I could read what they’d written.
“What’s wroten there?” Rico asked.
“It’s this guy who copied,” I said. “He says he was just silly but some people think he was naughty and silly.”
“What did he copy?” Rico asked.
“His homework,” I said.
“His homework?” Rico looked puzzled for a moment. He’s only in the first grade, and plus he goes to a Ganztagschule.
“His ‘Individual Learning Time’ book,” I said.
Rico gasped. “He copied in ‘Individual Learning Time’?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Who is he?” Rico asked.
“He’s the boss of the army,” I said. “And now he’s in big trouble.” I looked down at Rico, and decided to tack a moral onto the end of the story, like the Duchess in Alice of Wonderland, or, at the very least, Enid Blyton in everything she ever wrote, ever.
“You’d never cheat like that, would you, Rico?”
“No,” he said. “Or, if I did, I’d do it heimlich, when the teacher couldn’t see me. And I wouldn’t copy Beth. She’s my friend, but I wouldn’t copy her. She makes mistakes. I’d copy Felix. He’s not my friend, but he’d know the right answer.”
I tried – unsuccessfully – not to laugh.
“But wouldn’t you feel ashamed, Rico, if you did some schoolwork and you did your very best work and you were really proud of it – and you copied one bit, like you copied one part off of Felix – and then your teacher said, ‘This is really good work, especially this bit here.’? Wouldn’t you feel bad then?”
Rico mulled it over in his head for about 0.25 seconds.
“Nah,” he sniffed, thoughtfully. “I’d feel happy, and good about it.”
It’s not like I don’t feel sorry for Dr. No, you know. I mean, he doesn’t exactly seem to feel sorry for himself, but I still feel a bit sorry for him. I mean, cheating is a kind of victimless crime. It’s not like rape or murder or even throwing a hairbrush at your assistant or anything. I do feel sorry for him. And it’s not like I’ve never cheated. I had a small business set up when I was in Year 12. I used to write people’s Open Studies for them for a tenner. If they got an A, I kept the whole fee, but if they only got a B, I’d give them a €1 discount. To err is human and all that.
But fucking hell, man. This is Germany. People really think all that Doctor shit means something. Like, they really believe in all that malarkey. They really believe that people who have Ph.D’s are, like, slightly better than other people. And he cheated. He probably had it ghostwritten for him, that’s what I reckon, but he still cheated. Quite aside from all the morals and that: what a fucking loser, man.