Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.

One Refugee’s Story*

I finally got to Berlin after days of walking and taking buses and trains from somewhere else.

I awoke behind a fence with hundreds of bald-headed men covered in tattoos outside the fence, their right arms outstretched, chanting a German greeting.

I waved back and thanked them.  As I turned around I exclaimed “I am in a refugee camp!”

There were 100s of shiny sweet-smelling Porta-Potties glistening like pearls strung on a royal strand.

“Oh!” I exclaimed.

Jars and jars and jars of Nutella cleverly arranged in the shape of my homeland!

100s of rolls of soft Swiss toilet tissue–a paper Matterhorn nearly touching the blue German sky, silhouetted by hills of freeze-dried spargles forming the backdrop for 100s of galvanized barrels overflowing with foaming beer, sweet apple cider, and peppermint schnapps.

Dazed, I said to myself “Anyway, I am tired of eating flattened squirrels by the roadside, and drinking from small shallow puddles.”

Now, I will never go back to where I came from.

Already, I have learned the German phrase for “I am in paradise.” One of the tattooed bald men taught it to me: Ich gehör da nicht zu.

So, whenever I feel joy and want to express my gratitude I smile broadly and yell: Ich gehör da nicht zu.

The tattooed bald men smile too and cheer me on.

Truly, I have found a new home!

Ich gehör da nicht zu!

Heil Kanzlor Merkel!

  • Post your own thaumasmus on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

*Translated by Prof. Hans Schtudentlickenheinerbachen, Hegel Professor of Other Languages, U. of Putzhaben.

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