Collection abc – P is for Philosophy, Penny and Persistence

Here is the “P” installment of my abc collection. I choose about three words and write something regarding them trying to relate them to Switzerland or the Swiss or my life in Switzerland. This week’s words start with “p”. “P” is for philosophy, penny and persistence.

is for philosophy

My philosophy is: If you can not have fun, there is no sense in doing it.
~ Paul Walker

There is no getting around that one. I agree completely. It’s even more fun doing whatever it is with people you enjoy being with. And what’s even better is getting paid for something you enjoy doing. Nope, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I always thought that the Swiss were good at having fun at work and enjoying what they do. An upwards spiral, so to speak. It’s everywhere and it looks like fun begets job satisfaction which begets a job well done which begets fun. I’ve seen it everywhere here. Once, when a doctor was explaining something in a printout to me I looked up and saw a glint in his eyes. This man was enjoying himself, he obviously loved what he was doing. I’ve seen it in builders who come to work (very early) in the morning with smiles on their faces ready to do their best.

When Ben was working for an American company I realized that there were more than subtle differences to the meaning of fun. Although the Americans in this company seemed to get the job done there was definitely something else there. There was that Steve Martin “wild and crazy”, living on the edge kind of thing going on. From what I heard sometimes the sense of fun overtook the sense being proficient. For example once they sent someone to Switzerland to help teach. Little did it matter that all the French she knew came from a single year in high school. It can’t be that difficult, right?
It seems to me that the Swiss have an implosion of fun. On the other hand the American sense of fun seems to be an explosion.

is for Penny

See a penny, pick it up, all day long you will have good luck. Pass the penny to a friend, then your luck will never end!

That makes it tough when your country doesn’t even have pennies. There are no pennies or in French, centimes in Italian, centesimi or German, rappen any more. The rappen is no longer struck (that’s technical talk for being made). Since 2006 it is no longer valid.

As long as I’ve been here the rappen was never used as real money. Prices were always rounded down to 5 rappens. So the psychological advantage of having something cost 999.99 was never used here. One store passed out one rappen coins around New Year to help bring luck but that was before 2006.

Looking around in my desk drawer, of course I found a rappen. I use it on those scratch cards where you can win lots and lots of money. Needless to say I haven’t won anything big from those scratch cards. Maybe I should just give that rappen to a friend so my luck will never end. But then how will I be able to scratch to see if I won? Wait, if I don’t buy a card I will have saved 5 Francs, multiply that by…

is for Persistence

Energy and persistence conquer all things.
~ Benjamin Franklin

Now who would have thought that Benjamin Franklin was talking about Ovomaltine? Well, maybe not. Maybe it was the other way around, the advertising department at Ovomaltine saw the saying and thought “exactly, that’s us!”. Their advertisement saying has been the same for at least 16 years, perhaps longer.

Since then they’ve made a series of witty commercials with the same message as this one. Energy and persistence. Energy and persistence. This commercial is from 1999. “Mit Ovomaltine kannst Du’s nicht besser. Aber länger.“ [You won’t be better with Ovomatine. But you can do it longer.]

Here is a classic Ovo commercial from 2005 that actually has a happy ending! As an American, of course I love happy endings. “Gib niemals auf. Ovomaltine.” [Never give up. Ovomaltine.]


So, Ovomaltine advertisers, keep drinking and eating your Ovomaltine. Your commercials may not get any better but you will be able to make them longer!

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