a story about German villagers

Today my colleagues asked me about my experience with Germans. Even though my experience was limited to Toni and his relatives who live in a village with 150 inhabitants in the second smallest province of Germany, I still pretended to be sophisticated and told them a story.

When Toni left Jena to join me for our two-week long trip, he forgot to bring his camera battery charger (not to say that he forgot his SD card as well). However, we couldn’t find any charger which could fit into the special design of his Cannon lithium battery, and it was really frustrating (but not surprising) because my camera was also spoiled.

We realized the only solution without going back to Jena was to modify Toni’s universal charger. As an engineer, I became very excited and suggested to him that we could bend those metal staples for staplers to connect the metal pins between the charger and the battery because staples were made of iron and iron could conduct electricity. He frawned a bit at my suggestion, but only told me that he would try when he got back home, where his dad and uncle could help up with their tools. I thought secretly, what other better and simpler ideas could he have than using the staples? Men were too proud to accept women’s creativity.

When we went back to Oberlemnitz, Toni started talking to his dad about the modification project, and the two of them observed the charger and the battery and discussed for such a long time that I thought they must have complicated the problem too much. When Toni’s dad reappeared with a voltmeter, some wires, cutting tools and strange looking chips, I had to pretend to help Toni’s mom with the schnitzel because I didn’t want them to feel too embarrassed if they couldn’t make it work in the end and had to resort to my metal staple idea. Or should I help them look for a solution on WikiHow?

But barely ten minutes later, Toni said,”It worked!” I ran to the table, and saw:


Figure 1: a home made adapter for cannon camera charger

A green chip was seamlessly inserted to the metal pins of the charger on one side, while the other side reached the battery through two insulated wires. It was aesthetically appealing and practially convenient – a perfect engineering solution. I thought back on my naive staple idea, and begged for mercy that Toni would never mention it again…


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