Michaela Merz


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‘What’s important?’


‘What’s important?’ Mila asked her grandma. Her Grandma, suffering from many ailments responded without thinking ‘health is the most important thing. Without health life isn’t fun anymore.’

In the evening when Mila got home she asked her mom what is important. Her mom, stuck in financial problems (as per usual her dad didn’t pay the alimony) and drowning in bills she sighed ‘financial independence, without it you lose your sleep’. Continue reading


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Public transport in Prague


On the bus, the tram or the underground we always played the same game. The winner is the one who can ride longest without holding on with their hands. That may be dangerous, but in most cases children don’t think about such things. Then it was great fun and really challenging. With time on certain stretches I became a real champion. I knew the curves, I knew where it was quickly braked and I developed tactics to shift my balance very quickly. Very often I emerged from these competitions with my classmates as the winner. Much of this training helped me later in fencing. Such trainings should not be copied!!!! Tooth repairs are very expensive.

Today I am also travelling by public transport in Prague. But with the common sense of an adult and most of the time I keep one hand on a pole. But very often that is not enough. The sudden braking of the busses or the curves (the busses have become much longer) frequently bring me into demanding situations, where one hand is not enough. The more concerned I am when time and again I see people aged 70 or more, who climb into a bus, refuse the seats offered them, wrap themselves round the pole near the doors and try to keep their balance standing. I could never understand why they do so. Why don’t they sit down, especially when they are offered a seat.

Some time ago I discussed this with my father. For a few years he has been partially disabled but he also refuses to sit down. He explained that sitting down and standing up and that at a short interval requires more strength then standing. In addition he (and probably the others also) are afraid that if he sits too far away from the exit he will not be quick enough to get off. Ending up one stop further than desired, is for him a horror scenario. His arguments make sense to me. But I thought that although we are an impatient society which unfortunately no longer shows much respect for age, we are not so bad that the bus would not be prepared to wait while someone gets off slowly. It is enough to draw attention to oneself. An angry glance by an impatient person is only a glance…
We left the discussion with both me and my father stuck to their conviction.

On Sunday afternoon I got on the bus. After two stops four elderly, very smart ladies got on. Two of them had very funny hats. Two sat down and two remained standing. The bus began to move. The four chatted in a friendly manner, laughed and behaved themselves like respectable school girls. And as so often the bus had to brake sharply. The lady standing nearest to me flew through the air towards me.  I was able to catch her and prevent her from falling to the floor. I grasped her arm until she could stand properly and the bus also came to a stop. “And now sit down”, I ordered her. ” Do you know what it would be like, if you had broken your leg?”, I added. She looked at me in astonishment and apologetically. The other two made room for her and she sat down immediately. Perhaps I was too harsh, but I was really concerned about her. At the same time I hope that the experience will be a lesson to her. But I’ll probably never find out.


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Lavrin and the story of lifelong fraud


Lavrin didn’t care much about rules. Where he thought he wouldn’t be caught, he simply ignored them.

He never paid social security contributions for his cleaner and when he became self-employed, he deducted all her wages as business related costs, although she chiefly cleaned his home and cooked for him. He always drove his car too fast, but never fast enough for him to lose his driving licence. He fixed the cruise control so that on the autobahn he never exceeded 139 km/h and in town he never drove above 65 km/h.

When he bought clothes in Milan, with scrupulous precision he cut off all the clothing labels. He claimed refund of the Italian VAT, but he never declared the import for customs and VAT in Switzerland (although his purchases had a value of well over the 300 francs). Continue reading


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The first time


The first time

There is a figure of speech that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But I believe that is simply not true. What matters is the will to try something new and not give up until one has learned it.

Unfortunately, when I was young, I failed to learn the ten-finger system. At school it was not on the curriculum and as at the time one usually wrote by hand, it was of no relevance to me. Therefore I write using the „searching eagle“ system. Continue reading


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Why I’m not afraid of big animals


When I was 5 years old, I used to spend the summer with my mother and grandmother in a tiny village of only 5 houses. It was the last summer before I started school. My biggest issue at that point was that people always mistook me for a boy. I was very small, weighed only 20kg and had short hair. I truly looked like a boy but felt entirely girly. My environment didn’t always notice that.

That summer, a guy named Roy rented a room in the same house. I have no idea how old Roy might have been. Maybe 50? Could have been 60? He was ancient for me but really funny. Continue reading


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Marta, the entrepreneuse


I have known Marta as long as I can remember. We went to kindergarden together and both suffered under the strict regime of the time. After lunch we had to lie down and sleep. Marta and I could never sleep. The teacher covered our faces with a sheet. I hated it and struggled against it. Marta also didn’t want to sleep but she did not resist. She said, that didn’t help, and she could use the time better to think about how she get hold of the two red marbles of our sleeping fellow student, Jacob. Continue reading


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Who strikes once, will strike again


Oscar had exercised a magical attraction on Vivien. Vivien felt so alive in Oscar’s presence. Daily routine became a great adventure. Oscar saw the world differently from most people. He was well read, had travelled widely, could tell stories excitingly, was passionate, held surprising opinions about every day matters and could conjure up out a nothing a magical world.

Who wouldn’t be fascinated. Vivien was 10 years younger and Oscar appeared to her like an oasis in the desert, like an unexpected present, that she had not deserved. Vivien was surprised that Oscar was interested in her and when they became a pair, she could scarcely believe her luck. The fact that Oscar insisted in keeping their relationship secret didn’t disturb her. Continue reading