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Is This Why the French Poke Fun at Belgium? Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in People, Vocabulary

Chip(s) tuning...
Just yesterday, someone sent me an email with the title “C’est dur d’être Belge” (“It’s Hard to be a Belgian.”)

The email contained a group of pictures that displayed what could be best described as a “series of unfortunate events.”

The whole thing seemed to come straight out of a Kafka novel, or better, a Louis de Funès comedy!

Perhaps most ironic of all, these “events” appear to give some credence to the age-old French sense of humor targeting Belgians. 

We will take a closer look at these pictures in today’s post, étape par étape (step by step):

  •  Step Number One:

According to the email description, a dépanneuse (or a “remorqueuse“, meaning a “tow truck”) is called to rescue a white car that seems to have accidentally fallen into the waters of a Belgian port.

  • Step Number Two:

The voiture (car) is towed to the truck and slowly lifted.

Notice that the ground on which the truck is standing is slightly tilted towards the water side.


  • Step Number Three:

The rescue mission is nearly a success.
A couple of seconds more and the car will be brought to safety.

  •  Step Number Four:

Saperlipopette (Goodness, gracious)!

Our friends from the towing company have clearly not taken the issue of le centre de gravité (the gravity center) into account.

  • Step Number Five:

Now, both the car AND the tow truck that was supposed to shore it up are into the water…

  • Step Number Six:

A heavier and more “robust” truck is called into action.

It has been secured through a metallic device that is planted to the ground, in order to avoid la même erreur commise avant (the same mistake made before.)

  • Step Number Seven 

So far, the truck of monsieur Michael Long is doing a fine job: The white car is easily brought out of the water.

  • Step Number Eight:

What a relief!
The white car can finally get out of the picture.

Now, it’s the turn of the first tow truck to be rescued from the water.

  • Step Number Nine:

Surprise again!

The metallic device that was supposed to fix Mister Long’s truck to the ground was not strong enough to withstand the weight of the fallen truck.

Besides, the center of gravity of the combined ensemble (set) made up of the mass of the two trucks is obviously beyond the edge!

  • Step Number Ten (Final Step?):

Undaunted, the brave Mister Long deploys yet another tow truck from his company’s collection, in order to get his first truck back.

If everything goes well, perhaps that poor truck that fell at the beginning will have a shot at coming back on firm ground as well.

Of course, at this point, the question that was on everybody’s minds is this one:

How many times do people in Belgium have to try before their ports can turn into un cimetière de dépanneuses (a tow truck graveyard)?

* * *

Fortunately for Belgians, and unfortunately for the “I-told-you-so” French jolly jokers, a little research reveals that this “series of unfortunate events” did not take place in Belgium, but rather in Ireland.

Even more fortunately for everyone, no one got hurt.

Moral of the story, if any?

Probably this:

The lack of common sense is not entirely a Belgian affair.

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  1. Pierre:

    Real funny 🙂

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