Only in Germany, you say? Damned right only in Germany. Or can you think of anywhere else where a strike boss demanding a 31% raise for the train drivers he represents goes off on a Kur (a “cure” or a supervised series of spa treatments) smack dab in the middle of negotiations? Me neither. And I’m not making this stuff up either, people.

Manfred Schell, head of the striking train driver union GDL, has announced that notfalls (in case of emergency) he is actually prepared to interrupt the three-week Kur break he is currently enjoying at Lake Constance down on the German-Swiss border to maybe perhaps possibly consider thinking about finishing the strike he and his union have started, but only if the Bahn rolls over and knuckles under first, of course.

A Kur, as you may or may not know, is one of Germany’s favorite traditional health scams. Most Germans insist upon going on one eventually and lots of folks go regularly and the older the “patients” get, the more insistent they become about having them. There is a huge, mafia-like Kur industry out there actively involved in all of this con job nonsense, as usual, and business is still flourishing, too, despite the regular political plea ritual about cost-cutting and health care reform.

Here is one way it works: Joe German goes to his uncle doctor and gets himself written him up as suffering from some terrible and chronic ailment like say, obesity. He then goes to a second uncle doctor specialist who writes him up for a Kur to cure his obesity, get it? In reality it is nothing other than an additional paid vacation at a fat farm spa somewhere where, if he’s lucky and far enough away from home (and that is where everybody wants to go), Joe German gets pampered during the day and spends his evenings hitting on the Kur guest women who came there for the same reason, only to hit on the men, of course. This is where the term Kurschatten (cure shadow) comes from, by the way, meaning Kur fling or affair. Now that’s health care.

It is not known if Herr Schell has found his cure shadow yet, but we should all appreciate just how extraordinary his announcement and/or gesture is. No, not that he runs off to a spa in the middle of battle. I mean that he, as a German, is actually prepared to end his Kur ahead of time to finish the job he began. This guy is obviously the real thing and you can be sure that the Bahn people are definitely shaking in their boots now.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

Be Sociable, Share!