This crisis in Greece is a good thing.
What???? Okay, you’re wondering what is old Harry talking about? Has he gone insane?
No, I haven’t. The crisis is a horrible thing for the people of Greece living through this economic disaster, and I feel for them, especially my friends and relatives, but for bloggers, writers, commentators, political pundits on every news show, and comedians, it’s the best thing that ever happened. What else would we have to talk about? That little deal the Americans made with Iran? How about The Donald’s quest for the White House? Bill Cosby? You know he could have gone anywhere but he chose the bedroom (sorry, bad joke).
As a result of the Greek Crisis, which should be called the German Crisis because like my friend, comedian Angelo Tsarouchas said, “Greece doesn’t have a crisis, Germany does. They lent the money to Greece!,” every person who can type a word that’s more than three letters on the computer or their iPhone or say a somewhat comprehensible word in front of the camera has an opinion, for or against. Just look at me – they tell me I’m the #1 Greek blogger. That’s a laugh but who’s to argue! There are so many facts thrown around, opinions given, and everyone thinks they know the answer, but no one does. But, we get to write about it every day and here’s another one to add to the preverbal heap.
I’ve noticed that our Greek-American communities are split about the Greek Crisis (a/k/a German Crisis… see Angelo, I didn’t forget). It seems that if you’re born here of Greek parents you are more sympathetic for the people of Greece. You post Greek flags on Facebook. You call the Germans Nazis. Show photos of the Greeks forgiving the Germans their war debts. How do you show a forgiveness of a war debt with a photo? Now turn around the old koutala and there is another side to Greek-Americans – those that were born in Greece and came here during their teenage years or early twenties – the Leftovers. They are not so supportive. They say things like, “Tou m—–s.” (add that famous Greek greeting!!) “They deserve it. They have been ripping off the system for 60 years now it’s caught up.”
In reality everyone sympathizes with the Greeks, well, except Germany, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Oh, yeah, and Turkey. Besides them, the rest of the world prays that they will come out okay in the end.
I too hope they come out of it, but, as I declared, the crises is a good thing… for something.
And here’s that something. For years, Greek-Americans have been traveling to Greece. We love Greece. The sun, the mountains, the food and drink, the music, the history, even the relatives… everything. But while we were visiting we always had to hear that singular word that made us cringe. Sometimes it was said to our faces with a snicker and other times behind our back. The word that has become such an insult to us Greek-Americans, whether you were born in the States or immigrated, that it made you want to impose greater austerity measures on those Greeks. That word is “Amerikanaki.”
“Den xerete. Iste Amerikanakia,” they would say. You’re naïve or stupid. You don’t know how to live and enjoy life because you’re always working. You don’t know how to work the system either. Yes, we have all heard that word a million times. Now as a result of the crises, it looks like that word needs to be removed from the Greek vernacular. Doesn’t make sense any more. Who are the naïve ones? Bye-bye, Amerikanaki. Nice knowing you. Have a good trip. You’re going to the dump where out of style words go to like, snoutfair, wonder-wench, and my favorite, groak. There… it’s gone… outta of here!
Now what? We need to replace it. Something to describe those rascally and naïve Greeks. We need another word of “endearment.” How about Ellinakia? No. That’s lame.
I got it. Frappedes.
What are Frappedes, you ask? You know, you see them all over Greece. It’s that young Greek between the ages of 18 and 35 who are still living at home with mommy and daddy and don’t have a job, even before the crises. Why don’t they have a job? Because they are students, of what, God only knows. They sit at cafés from 9:00 am to the wee hours of the night sipping the one Frappé they purchased at 9:00 am and haven’t finished and it’s now 11:00 pm. Next to one Frappé on the table they have their pack of cigarettes (not the YSL my blogger friend, Costa Xinos recently wrote about in “Fava, Fakes, and Fasolada,” but the cheap black market ones), their lighters, keys to cars that haven’t moved in months because they have no money for gas, and cell phones, which they somehow have money to spend on because Yiayia and Papou gave them a few Euros.
The Frappedes are doctors, lawyers, builders, computer whizzes, judges, mechanics, engineers, architects, accountants, and politicians… or so they think. They are Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all wrapped up in one. They have resolved the Greek crises – just blame the Germans… and the Americans, why not, everyone else does. They think socialism is a good thing, as long as they are receiving and not giving. They are good at giving criticism but bad at taking it. They have plenty of advice to give and have great ideas on how to run your business, but have never worked in any business. YouTube sensation, Mr. Panos, inadvertently summed up what Frappedes are. He said, “I’m a Greek person. Which means… that I’m a genius?” I rest my case. Now you understand.
Yes we all know them and we may now be laughing at them, but we are Greeks too so we won’t kick them while they are down. They too need our help. To all the Frappedes hanging out at the cafes sipping their one Frappé, good luck my friends and stay strong and don’t forget, Amerikanaki no longer exists. It’s down there in the trash heap with word spermologer.
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