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Siebesiech means son-of-a-bitch in Swiss. How many people do you know who know a single word in Swiss? Let alone one Swiss word that translates to three words in English! I have it from a reliable authority, okay semi-reliable might be more accurate. She’s become a ‘semi-reliable authority,’ after being unreliable more often than not. Though she claims she inherited this status from a great-uncle, a disreputable banker in Geneva who used Siebesiech at every opportunity.

She said there should be an accent above one of the e’s in Siebesiech so the word is pronounced correctly. And who among us wouldn’t want to pronounce Siebesiech or any Swiss word perfectly?

“It’s a low guttural E,” she said. “Which can only be achieved by inhaling deeply then snorting vigorously, alternating between the left and right nasal passages creating a didgeridoo effect like the oboe drone in Vivaldi’s second movement of the Season’s.”

Regrettably, my semi-reliable authority did not divulge which E should be accented and will demoted to fairly-good-authority in future missives… Ah, but I digress… which is the perfect segue to


George de Mestral was hunting in the Swiss Alps as he was wont to do. [I’ve always wanted to use wont in a sentence.] He never shot anything. Like many Swiss males, George probably just wanted to get out of the Chalet and away from the frau for a yodel or two. An engineer, George found the high meadows and thin air of the Alps conducive to some of his most creative thinking.

George prayed he’d never have to shoot anything. George loved animals and vomited at the sight of blood. Especially his own. George was a vegetarian at heart. For twelve years, he never chambered a single shell in the single chamber of his single shot, shot gun. If he was ever attacked while yodeling high on a mountain crest, poor George would have probably been just another victim of the vicious Alpine Army Mountain Goats. Scientist recently discovered the entire species suffers from Misophonia “the hatred or dislike of sound.” Even, in the womb, Alpine Army Goats hate yodeling and every echo that follows the effort. Think about how hard it would be to try cover your ears with cloven hooves. Officials suspect Alpine Army Mountain Goats may explain the mysterious disappearance or the fatal plunges of many an Alpine Yodeler.

George was straddling a fallen log, extracting cockleburs from his pant legs, boot laces and woolen socks when it happened. Publicly and privately, George always shared credit for his greatest invention with his worse hunting dog Heddi. A beautiful, but rather addled Bernese Mountain Dog. Heddi was Georges favorite hunting companion. After three hundred years of in breeding to make the Bernese Mountain Dog the keenest canine hunting dog in the high alps. Heddi was an anomaly. She didn’t care an iota about hunting. With the exception of Alpine Army Mountain Goats, Heddi loved every creature that lived on or under the alps. Like the Genie of the Lamp, one gene in her gene pool had escaped into the ether. Rather than chase a rabbit or a fox, Heddi was happiest with her nose buried in a bouquet of Edelweiss.

George had two separate bolts of insight on the log that afternoon. He was certain there was something going on between his first cousin Luca and his frau Celine. And more importantly, how and why were all these little cockleburs sticking to his clothes and the genitals of his favorite hunting dog? The engineering side of George’s brain quickly set aside the indiscretions of Luca and Celine to pursue the more important problem of how did these little siebesiech’s stick so good? Ah, ha you thought ‘siebesiech’ was a red herring.

An hour later George burst through the front door of his chalet, took little note of the two steaming mugs of hot chocolate on the kitchen table and hurried to his lab. Under the scrutiny of the microscope, he observed the hooks engaging the loops in the fabric of his pants. Along with help from friends in the weaving business, he finally duplicated mother nature’s hook and loop fastener in a manufacturing plant. The result of his new invention was VELCRO® brand hook and loop fasteners, from the French words for velvet "velour", and hook, "crochet"… Ah, but I digress.


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