Disclaimer: all characters, institutions and events in this article are purely fictional
Friday, 27 December 2019
Paul Muller, who has worked at the communal administration for 23 years, was shocked when two policemen appeared during office hours this morning and escorted him out of the Schbierger-Schzenter.
Paul had universally been known as one of the most conscientious public servants, although he admits that he had been approaching burn-out for some time.
He reports to have recently been the subject of ever more pressing demands by the public.
“It started two weeks ago, when an otherwise perfectly regular young Luxembourger handed me a document with a sentence in a language that was neither Luxembourgish nor French nor German, but English. To my astonishment, the otherwise perfectly regular Luxembourger turned out to be Portuguese, which was confusing as he spoke perfectly regular Luxembourgish. The deceptively Luxembourgish Portuguese was in the process of applying for Luxembourgish nationality.”
“Although I understood every word of the document, a criminal record, I duly verified in 17 internal regulations whether I could accept the piece. I was distraught when I had to inform the person that I could not accept it. The applicable procedure required a translation into one of the three administrative languages by at least two independent translators.”
“After an important number of similar requests, I started to feel a twitching in my left eyelid when a young lady speaking French with a curiously slurred accent brought another foreign document, this time with eleven full English sentences and six lines of mysterious signs that looked like small images.”
“I inspected it instantly and identified two English words that I didn’t understand.”
In such situations, Paul explains that he regularly asks Georgios, the security officer for help. The latter benefitted from recent relaxed language requirements in that line of profession and had gotten the job although he spoke only four non-recognized languages, including English. Georgios has a background as a medical doctor, but is of course banned from exercising due to the threat to public health caused by his complete language inaptitude.
After further investigation, it became clear that Paul couldn’t accept the offending piece yet again. He gave the exotic-sounding young lady a full briefing of the situation in perfect English and also helpfully pointed out a typo that had sneaked into the document.
The young lady was so despairingly disappointed that Paul, in a rush of compassion, decided to scan the document and send it to seven other administrations and two ministries. After 23 minutes of frenetic exchanges, one minister apparently ended up offering to translate the document himself, a proposition that Paul assiduously turned away as the minister was not a certified translator.
Paul remembers: “I then decided to answer the twelfth call by my wife Monica.”
Monica, who works as an English teacher in a state-subsidised international school, had seriously pinched her thumb while manipulating the school’s coffee machine and was in her ninth hour waiting to see a doctor.
“It was at that point that I think I snapped and lost it.”
According to the police report, he downloaded the Law on languages of 28 February 1984, recklessly copied it into his word processor, inserted the words “langue anglaise” in article 3, printed the amended law, distributed copies to all his co-workers, published it on his personal blog and sent a copy to the president of the Chamber of Deputies.
A colleague reports that he then proceeded to accept the document of the flabbergasted young lady and issued an authorization as a medical doctor to Georgios.
In a surprising twist, the communal administration had continued to apply the amended law for two weeks up until this morning, when Paul was arrested on one count of aggravated forgery.