Doc, ah going Germany and I want a German measles
shot. You mean you want a measles shot?
No, Doc, a German measles shot, ah going Germany,
No, no, is not German measles dey have in Germany,
is measles dey have.
No, doc, is German measles, dey have. Measles in Germany
is German measles, ent?
No, boy, its an outbreak of measles, red measles,
not German measles, real measles. I put on the English
accent, to try and impress him with my superior knowledge.
Doc, de papers an all say is German measles. Is German
measles what it have in Germany. Wha is de difference? Measles
in Germany is German measles.
Is not de same ting! It have measles and it have German
Gone back to Trini English.
I went and checked it out on the Internet. Last month
there were 1,200 cases of measles in all of Germany. Not
German measles. Measles measles! Yuh want de shot or not?
Doc, ah taking yuh advice, oui, but ah still cah unnerstand.
Why dey does call it German measles if is not measles from
English-speaking countries have a habit of giving continental
names to diseases they dont like. German measles.
Asian flu. The French pox or syphilis. Perhaps to point
out that, isolated as they once were behind sea borders,
it wasnt their fault.
German measles has nothing to do with Germany. It comes
from the Latin germanus, meaning similar, because
measles and German measles share some symptoms.
Both measles and German measles are oldtime childhood diseases
that are not seen in T&T any more because of our very
successful immunization programme which makes vaccination
against them obligatory. No such programme exists in Germany.
They are quite different. Measles is highly contagious,
gives you high fever for a week, bad cold, cough and conjunctivitis,
a nasty all-body rash and some scary complications like
pneumonia and encephalitis.
German measles or rubella, as it is better known, is not
as virulent but is devastating if it occurs in pregnant
women in the first three months, when the virus can invade
the developing foetus and cause mental retardation, blindness,
deafness and heart disease. Not something you want to bring
back from the football World Cup.
Despite the media hype, I am dreading the World Cup. Most
of the games will be disappointing with some displays of
individual brilliance. No one is going to work so perhaps
traffic will flow.
It might be nice to be in Germany for the fete before the
matches. Some of our singers might get a contract or two.
If people are attracted to our steelband, next years
Carnival might see an invasion of German hippie types.
Forget about the world now knowing where T&T is!
Those who need to know already know and what they know is
that we have gas and oil. Period.
The worst part is going to be listening to the local football
commentators. Forget the green verbs and the lack of preparation. Ah
tink they win by one goal. Ah tink he last play
They know nothing of the history, culture or economics of
football, far less anything about the host country, Joermanie!
They talk clichés with exclamation marks in strange
accents, a combination of Brooklyn-ese and pseudo high class
English. Put their best foot forward! Top
of the line! Come up big! Get the
show on the road!
Theres endless repetition. So far, they going
good, eh, so far. Right, right, right, right!
Im bored already.
The T&T football side, like the West Indies cricket
team, is a just-enough team. Just good enough to get by.
The cricket team still cant bowl out a side, even
when they have got the better batsmen out.
Our footballers dont seem to understand that the game
begins when the referee blows his whistle and ends only
when he decides its over.
This business of we going to start slow, lime a bit,
catch weself, look around to see who watching we is
for the Savannah. By the time you do that is two goals in
And you cannot start to relax because half time coming and
you want to change your shorts.
Dem men and dem still coming at yuh!
Can we not put an end to our childish ways and develop some
Which brings me back to my patient going to Germany. Its
probably excusable that he does not understand the difference
between measles and German measles.
Although thats debatable, it makes a funny story.
But I am sure there are doctors who tried to give their
patients a German measles shot. Thats slackness. The
same set of slackness that we will have to hear and see
on the football fields of Germany.