Berger’s Burg: Oktoberfest the prefect time to whet your whistle continually

Berger’s Burg: Oktoberfest the prefect time to whet your whistle continually
By Alex Berger

After participating in an Oktoberfest celebration, several men staggered down the street. Laughing and singing, they arrived at a two-story home. One pounded on the door. A light came on in the window. The leader of the pack bowed and said, “Is this where Joseph Smith lives?” “It is. What do you want?” “Then I am speaking to Mrs. Smith?” “I am Mrs. Smith. What do you want?” “Can you please come down here and pick out Mr. Smith so the rest of us can go home?”

Yes, readers, if you have not already guessed, this column is about Oktoberfest. “What is Oktoberfest?” you inquire. “OktoBEERfest,” to be more precise, is a rip-roaring, the-sky’s-the-limit, let-it-all-hang-out, Halloween, New Year’s Eve, my wedding and jamborees all rolled into one. Imagine listening to the sounds of toots and thumps by a hundred piece brass band and the vuvuzelas that electrify the airwaves. Decorative banners are fluttering o’er joyful celebrants who are in bright, colorful costumes. They cavort to and fro and hither and yon as they drink in the merriment of the holiday.

A Good Samaritan entered a cafe. Seated at the next table was a celebrant who toppled to the floor from one beer too many. The Good Samaritan picked him up and placed him back on his seat. Two beers later, the man fell again and the Good Samaritan again placed him back on the seat. He then said to the man, “You should go home. Tell me where you live and I will take you.” The unsteady man mumbled an address. The Good Samaritan carried him out to his car, put him in and drove him to his house. The wife opened the door, took one look and asked, “Where’s his wheelchair?”

The annual 16-day extravaganza is the time for one to whet one’s whistle by drinking three of the world’s favorite beverages: water, beer and beer. Incidentally, do not tell anybody but Oktoberfest actually began in September and supposedly should have ended Oct. 3, the first Sunday in October. But celebrants never did care much about formalities. For them, Oktoberfest starts on the first day of October and ends on its last day, and who am I to quibble?

A religious man died during Oktoberfest and went to heaven. God greeted him at the pearly gates. “Are you hungry?” God asked. “I could eat,” the man replied. So God opened a can of tuna and reached for a chunk of Irish soda bread. While eating this meal, the man looked down into hell and saw the inhabitants devouring huge steaks, lobsters, pastries and wines. Curious, but deeply trusting, he remained silent.

The next day, God invited him to join in a meal. Again it was tuna and Irish soda bread, and the man saw the denizens of hell enjoying caviar, pheasant, lamb, champagne and chocolates. Still he said nothing.

The following day, mealtime arrived and another can of tuna was opened. Meekly, the man said, “God, I am grateful to be in heaven with you as a reward for the pious, obedient life I led, but here in heaven all I get to eat is tuna and a piece of Irish soda bread. In the other place, they eat like movie and sports stars, lawyers and politicians. I just don’t understand.” God sighed. “Let’s be honest: For just two people, does it pay to cook?”

“When did Oktoberfest begin?” you inquire. The first homage to Oktoberfest — i.e.,” street party” — was originally held in 1810 to celebrate the royal wedding of Germany’s Bavarian crown Prince “Mad” King Ludwig to his queen, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildenburghausen. In Germany, the traditional “Big O” celebration kicks off when a local dignitary solemnly pounds a bent bronze spout into a keg of dark brew and declares, “Ozaptf is” (“The keg has been tapped.”).

People dance, fireworks explode and Clydesdale horses, decorated with colorful ribbons, clip-clop around. Beer-drinking has always been an integral part of the holiday, but there is also the devouring of delicious foods — sausage, fish, ox tail soup and whole-roasted oxen. But the main course, of course, is beer.

Flash! In Munich, newspapers are urging Oktoberfest boozers to beware of the “Boob Bandits.” The gang has a busty barmaid flash her assets to male revelers while a pickpocket deftly steals their wallets. (And, with apologies to the late Paul Harvey, that is the breast of the story.)

Gloria is betting I cannot drink a full steiner of Oktoberfest beer. Humph! But readers, should my column not appear next week, you will know I won the bet. Eins, zwei, sofa!

Contact Alex Berger at [email protected].

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