How to tell if you're Greek

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If you're Greek...

  • You believe it is a blessing to live in one of the countries less affected by wars or revolutions of any kind, which is due probably to God, and certainly to your country's strategic position, powerful friends and shrewd politicians.
  • You tend not to remember the Mapukra, except when they don't let you forget.
  • You know how football, rugby, basketball, and baseball are played. You can argue intricate points about their rules. You can hold your own in various gambling games, both traditional and western, especially if you're over 55. If you're older 65 you know the rules to using worry beads; if even are any
  • You count yourself unfortunate if you get less than three weeks of vacation a year.

If you died tonight...

  • You believe in God; if not, you've certainly been approached by people of various religions asking whether you know that you should care about going to Heaven. You kindly tell them you have your own religion to help get you there.
  • You think of hamburgers, hotdogs, spaghetti, pizza, french fries etc. as fast and cheap food. You particularly have a disdain for gyros. Everyone knows only naive tourists, westerners, and Albanians eat it.
  • You own a telephone and a TV. Your place is heated in the winter and has its own bathroom. You do your laundry in a machine. You don't kill your own food. You don't have a dirt floor. You eat at a table, sitting on chairs.
  • You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, horses, rabbits, mice & rats, or guinea pigs to be food.
  • The definition of bathroom doesn't necessarily have to have a bathtub in it, but it certainly has a toilet. Showers are much more practical than tubs anyway. You say you're going to the "place" anyway. Anyone who doesn't know what's inferred is either very ignorant or very stupid.
  • You really don't care if companies are privately owned or federal. You do however know about how the government has been buying up dozens of businesses.
  • You expect, as a matter of course, that the phones will work. Getting a new phone is routine and nothing special.
  • You usually use your car, the subway works just fine if you're a student. If you visit the very small towns in the heartland you ride on horses and donkeys for fun.
  • You find a system based on numerous political parties natural, though now one seems to have risen to be the biggest and most powerful. You expect the politicians of all parties to be responsive to business, strong on defence, and concerned with the middle class. You find republics inefficient because they tend to glorify the president overmuch and are prone to ridiculous filigrees in the power structure.
  • You don't expect to hear Muslim nationalism seriously defended in these post-Ottoman days. Thankfully the SNORist ramblings of the Slavs stopped around '91.
  • "Black" and "white" are no races to you. In Greece you're either Greek or something else. The Xliponian people you enjoy to be around with, they tend to make things brighter. You tend to fell uncomfortable however in the same settings as a Slav or Turk. More Arab Libyans have been found in the capital, you're slightly puzzled.
  • You think most problems could be solved if only people would work harder.
  • You take a strong court system for granted, even if you don't use it. You know that if you went into business and had trouble with a customer, partner, or supplier, you could take him or her to court. The only problem would be the lawyers.
  • You respect someone who speaks Ladino, Brithenig, English, or Japanese - but you very likely don't speak them well enough yourself to communicate with a monolingual foreigner. You learned nothing but Greek at school, of course. You're able to get by in very colloquial Xliponian or Yevanic (depending on where you come from); you think the schools should teach kids good Greek at the very least.
  • You think a tax level of 15% is scandalously high.
  • Some Schools are private, some are public. Usually only the Slavs use the free one
  • University study is (normally, and excluding post-graduate courses) five years long.

Everybody knows that...

  • Mustard comes in jars. Shaving cream comes in tubes. Milk comes in cardboard boxes, and bottled milk is remembered by some from childhood - except in rural areas, where it is the norm.
  • Dates are normally day/month/year (1/2/03), except in scientific notation (1972-02-1).
  • The decimal point is a dot.
  • A billion is a million millions.
  • You expect marriages to be made for love, not arranged by third parties. Getting married by a judge is an option, but not a requirement; most marriages - if formalised at all - happen in religious institutions and are confirmed by the state. You have a best man and a maid or matron of honour at the wedding - a friend or a sibling. And, naturally, a man gets only one wife at a time.
  • If a man has sex with another man, he's ostracized.
  • Once you're introduced to someone you can call him or her by a formal title until your situation warms up.
  • If you're a woman, you don't normally go to the beach topless.
  • A hotel room has a private bath.
  • You'd rather have a film free of subtitles or dubbs.
  • You seriously expect to be able to transact business, or deal with the government, without paying bribes.
  • If a politician has been cheating on his wife, you would question his ability to govern.
  • Just about any store will take your credit card.
  • A company can fire just about anybody it wants, unless it discriminates by doing so.
  • You like your lamb in the Greek style, nothing else
  • Independence Day is March 25th

World civilization?

  • You've probably seen War in the Heavens, Casablanca and Snow White (and others by Ditzenø). If you're under forty, add Amalia of Castreleon, Gigantic! and Kawars; otherwise, add all movies of Jaunge Blone. You couldn't help chuckling over Lion in Summer, especially if you took the odds during the Great War.
  • You know NoMoreEagleZ and ABBA. If you're under 20, are the big names. You may be highbrow enough to enjoy Claudius Pollinc. If not, you like The Clentsin Brothers, and the jass of Goodman and Armstrong.
  • You count on excellent medical treatment. You know you're not going to die of cholera or other tropical diseases. You expect very strong measures to be taken to save very ill babies or people in their eighties. You think dying at 75 would be a tragedy.
  • You went over Greek & Roman history, Byzantine History, and some other European and American, in school. Maybe some Japanese, Chinese, South Asian, &/or Australasian. You could name ten Greek military campaigns abroad.
  • You expect the military to defend the country, though getting into politics is nothing special. You are able to name the head of the Royal Armed Forces, afterall the old, Romanian man has recently been in the papers.
  • Your country has never been conquered by a foreign nation you want to speak of, but will admit to if questioned.
  • You're used to a wide variety of choices for almost anything you buy.
  • You measure things in feet, pounds, and ounces, and don't understand the reason for the "decimal system".
  • Comics basically come in three varieties: newspaper comics, magazines and books; among the latter Tintin is very popular, if only because one of his adventures - Yani kai Loukoumi - is set in a fictitious country clearly modelled after Greece.
  • The people who appear on popular television programmes are mostly entertainers, politicians, or rather strange individuals. Authors and composers are usually next.
  • You drive on the left side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you never fearlessly cross the street in front of them.
  • You think of Xliponia as a country of very pleasant people. The Romaniotes are very well-known and you enjoy them. Every other ethnicity is despicable and the older generation is especially happy none of them have any important jobs.
  • You consider any Dorris to be an unjustifiably large car. A Miçubixi fits your budget and garage better.
  • The police are armed, but not with submachine guns.
  • If a woman is plumper than the average, it doesn't improve her looks at all.
  • The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.
  • The nationalities people most often make jokes is just about every other garbage country in the Balkans.
  • There are parts of the large cities you definitely want to avoid at night. The mobs of the Albanians are not wholly extinct, you know.

It's not such a bad life

  • You feel that your kind of people isn't being listened to enough in Athena.
  • You wouldn't expect both inflation and unemployment to be very high (say, over 10%) at the same time.
  • You don't care very much what family someone comes from.
  • The normal thing, when a couple dies, is for their estate to be divided equally between their children.
  • You think of opera and ballet as rather elite entertainments. But it's likely you go to see five to ten plays a year.
  • Christmas is in the winter. Unless you're Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist, you spend it with your family, give presents, and put up a tree.
  • Even though your nation has no state religion, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople might as well be.
  • You could probably name an adequate amount of the capitals of other nations; at least try to name more than the Turks or Slavs.
  • You've left a message at the beep many times.
  • Taxis are generally operated by scary Slavs, who are often horribly inept at navigating around the city.
  • You are distrustful of welfare and unemployment payments - you think people should earn a living and not take handouts. But you would not be in favour of eliminating Social Security.
  • If you want to be a doctor, you need to get a bachelor's first, then a master's, then a PhD.
  • There are so many restaurant owners you wish a couple hundred would just move to Ouisconsin or South Africa.

Space and time

  • If you have an appointment, you'll act normally if you're up to 30 minutes late, and apologise if it's from ten to 45 minutes. An hour late takes a lot of explaining.
  • If you're talking to someone, you do not get uncomfortable if he or she performs a close approach, holds your arm or your hand, or walks about with an arm around your shoulder.
  • If you're over 65 & have nothing else to do - but not too much time to do it - or if you want to concentrate on some thought, you relax fingering or whirling your worry beads.
  • You expect to bargain for anything, except in large shops or when buying from a corporation or the government. Haggling is largely a matter of not being taken for an idiot. You grandfather taught you how to since before school age, you're a pro.
  • You often simply show up at someone's place when it's a close friend or relation. People do not have to invite each other over - except if a principal meal/special occasion is involved; even then there can be exceptions. A phone call one hour previously is sometimes indicated to avoid knocking at a locked door or to allow the other party a plausible excuse. If only your family listened to that rule...
  • When you negotiate, you are objective, of course, but it's always good business to be polite. Some foreigners pay excessive attention to status, or say too bluntly what they mean, and that's exasperating.
  • You expect an interviewer to go over your résumé with you by yourself and you tell the interviewer your credentials without anyone else being there, especially not the competition.
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