Please, Czech Your Facts

I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding[:] The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities - the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation. – Statement of the Ambassador of the Czech Republic, April 19, 2013

We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. You should probably be ashamed of yourself, anyway—I know what the Czech Republic is and what it is not. I know that it is a landlocked country bordered by Germany (that is, the Federal Republic of Germany, not to be confused with the medieval Kingdom of Germany; Germany Township, Pennsylvania; or Germany Schaefer, a Major League Baseball player [born 1876; died 1919]) to the west, Austria (not to be confused with the SS Austria, a steamship of the Hamburg America Line that sank on September 13, 1858, in one of the worst transatlantic maritime disasters of the nineteenth century, claiming the lives of 449 passengers and crew; 136 Austria, an asteroid—not to be confused with a meteoroid; or Australia, the country or the continent) to the south, Slovakia (not to be confused with Slovenia; souvlaki, a popular Greek—not to be confused with geek—fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer; or the filmmaking effect known as “slow motion”) to the east, and Poland (not to be confused with the geographic or magnetic North Pole or South Pole) to the north. Its capital and largest city is Prague (not to be confused with a 2002 novel by Arthur Phillips, a 1992 UK/French film, or Mozart's Symphony No. 38, all titled “Prague”). The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia (not to be confused with Bohemia, Louisiana; Bohemia, New York; Bohemia Mountain [Oregon]; Mount Bohemia [Michigan]; or the Brazilian brewery founded in 1853 and currently owned by Anheuser-Busch) and Moravia (not to be confused with Moravia, New York or Monrovia [Alabama, California, Indiana, Maryland, or Liberia]) and a small part of Silesia (not to be confused with a slice of pizza).

The Czechs, or Czech people (not to be confused with checks/cheques, checkers, or czars) are a West (not to be confused with East) Slavic (not to be confused with slave) ethnic group living predominantly in the Czech Republic (not to be confused with the People’s Republic of China). Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, Ukraine (not to be confused with a ukulele), the United States (not to be confused with the United Kingdom), the United Kingdom (not to be confused with the Magic Kingdom, the first of four theme parks built at the Walt Disney World Resort—not to be confused with Disneyland Park—in Bay Lake, Florida), Chile (the country in South America, not the spicy fruit of plants in the genus Capsicum), Argentina, Canada (not to be confused with a can opener), Germany, Russia, and other countries. Czechs speak the Czech language (not to be confused with a spelling/grammar checker). Famous Czechs include tennis player Ivan Lendl (not to be confused with Ivan the Great, Ivan the Terrible, or “Lend-Lease”—formally, An Act to Further Promote the Defense of the United States [enacted March 11, 1941]); politician Václav Havel (not to be confused with a vacuum cleaner, a balaclava, or the other Václav Havel, an Olympic canoer); and film director Miloš Forman (not to be confused with American professional boxer George Foreman or any of his five sons also named George Foreman).

Czech cuisine places a strong emphasis on meat dishes (not to be confused with... no, that’s pretty clear). Pork (not to be confused with porcupine) is common; beef (not to be confused with bees) and chicken (not to be confused with chicken pox, an infectious disease causing a mild fever and a rash of itchy inflamed blisters) are also popular. Fish (not to be confused with fisc, the public treasury of Rome, or fission, a nuclear reaction in which a heavy nucleus splits spontaneously or on impact with another particle, with the release of energy) is rare, with the occasional exception of fresh trout (not to be confused with trousers) and carp (not to be confused with Carpaccio, an Italian hors d'oeuvre consisting of thin slices of raw beef or fish—see above—served with a sauce), which is served at Christmas (not to be confused with Chanukah).

Czech beer (not to be confused with bears) has a long and important history. The earliest Czech brewery dates to 1118 (not to be confused with 1181, 1811, or 2013), and the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world (that is: Earth, not to be confused with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, or Neptune). The famous Pilsener style beer originated in the western Bohemian city of Plzeň, and further south the town of České Budējovice, known as Budweis in German, lent its name to its beer, eventually known as Budweiser Budvar (sold in North America as Czechvar so as not to be confused with the product made and sold by the aforementioned Anheuser-Busch).

In conclusion, the Czech Republic is a land of confusion.

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.