The introductory paragraph below was written in a moment of hope yesterday morning (9/12). But then I was consumed by medical problems triggered by last week’s extraordinarily high temperatures; by hours and hours of making arrangements for medical appointments (one this morning, others on each of the following mornings this week, some in the future); hours of doing work-arounds for the continuing non-renewal of my Adjunct Professor position at Stanford; and then, this morning (9/13), trying to cope — all afternoon, problem still far from fixed — with Gmail access on my computer (receiving and sending) disappearing entirely. I am crazed, distraught, angry, gasping for breath, afflicted by joint and muscle pains. But Not Dead Yet.

I did achieve my minimal goals for symbolic recognition of the two cultural holidays yesterday, but at 7 p.m. had to give up on explaining Knabenschiessen to you in a timely fashion. But I’m not sure when I’ll be able to craft a posting. Watch this space.

[9/12] In one part of my life, the Chinese-culture-friendly part, this is the third and last day of the Mid-Autumn Festival weekend, for which I will sacrifice a red bean mooncake as the sun sets. In another part, the Swiss-culture-friendly part, this is the third and last day of (as we would say it in English) Boys-Shooting weekend, for which I am wearing (by fortunate accident) my Swiss flag gym shorts (I have four handsome lightweight gym shorts I rotate through by the week — last week’s Pride Rainbow pair just came out of the washer). (I am also wearing a pink Gay as Fuck t-shirt, but that’s untethered to any immediately relevant gay-cultural occasion.)


4 Responses to “Knabenschiessen!”

  1. Mark Mandel Says:

    Here’s hoping you feel better and recover very soon!

  2. Dean Allemang Says:

    Shortly after I moved to Switzerland, I went shopping on my way to work. Around mid-morning, I remembered something else I needed, so during my lunch break I went out again, only to find all the shops were shut. When I returned to my office, I asked my office mate about this, and he said the one rather mysterious word, “Knabenschiessen!” I sorted through my rather spotty German, and asked, “Shooting little boys!?” He chuckled and explained to me that the Swiss army trains its soldiers in marksmanship from a young age, and that today is the day of their examinations. In fact, if I go for a run in the hills surrounding Zurich today, I might find some familiar paths are closed because they are dangerously close to the firing range.
    I find this all very fascinating, but I was still no closer to understanding why I would have no Sauser with my dinner that evening. The reason, of course, is that the boys (not the girls) get the day off school for this event, and those whose marksmanship exams are in the morning would be coming home early, and their mothers would need to be home to receive them. Hence, the workers at the shops, a large fraction of whom are mothers of young boys, get the half day (starting at lunch time) off, to look after the boys on their way home from their shooting exams.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Just to point out that the holiday is entirely a Zürich thing. Weirdly, wonderfully *local*. Oh yes, and it’s more or less in the middle of a truly gigantic fun-fair. Ferris wheels and all that. You explain this to people, and they tell you you’re making it up. Sort of like Groundhog Day, or Pentecost.

      Stay tuned for “Who Will be this Year’s Schützenkönig?” Eventually.

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    Life events notes, 9/14:

    The Gmail disaster came on suddenly, for no reason my prime computer consultant could find (I spent hours on it yesterday). Then very late last night everything magically returned to normal, without me or my consultant doing a thing. I suggested sunspots, he darkly suggested that it was more likely Google. Life goes on.

    Then, yesterday morning’s medical event was a COVID-19 test. Needed so I could do Friday morning’s pulmonary function test. And to get tomorrow morning’s third COVID booster. Negative test just in, so everything goes ahead. Figurative happy dance! (A man who can barely walk has no business trying to dance. But I have a vivid imagination.)

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