Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Comparison of the sociodemographic features of Amer/Germanohand injuries

When I talk with other Americans about our respective experiences in Germany, they often mention things I have little or no experience with. Schloss Neuschwanstein comes up a lot, Oktoberfest... Lederhosen. German Christmas celebration seems to be prominent in the American consciousness too, and all the Teutonic stuff that comes with it: Lebkuchen, real candles on the tree, Spekulatius... I always have to play along in these conversations, even though I wouldn't know a piece of Lebkuchen if I tripped over it. I'm always afraid to bring up the things that really strike me about living in Germany. Hand injuries, for example. I'm sure people are injuring their hands all over the world, but there seems to be some kind of epidemic here in Germany, or at least in Essen. If I hang out in Porscheplatz, I might see three or four bandaged hands in the space of 15 minutes. It's really striking.

I realize this is just anecdotal evidence. I suppose it is possible that I'm only imagining it. But I feel there is a remarkable incidence of bandaged hands here in Essen and I'd love to know why. Is this an urban/suburban thing? Does it have to do with the relative social status of the populations I'm comparing? It's common knowledge, I guess, that bivariate analysis has revealed a marked correlation between an individual's socioeconomic parameters and the site of the accident, but how would that explain my observations?

My sabbatical proposal made no mention of research into the frequency of bodily injuries and it's unlikely my observations will lead to significant funding when I return to to Logan. So I should probably just let this go, but I dream of a study comparing net income of a sample population drawn from the US and Germany (after deduction of tax and social security contributions). These data could be used to construct a summary three-level index of social status (the Winkler index) and might shed some light on what for me is a curious aspect of life here in Essen. Then again, maybe I ought to stick to painting. It's probably just simple repetitive motion overuse inflammation from changing the Lederhosen everyday.

1 comment:

Em said...

I'm surprised to see that there are indeed German socio economic journals on minor hand injuries, upon my curious googling. Naturally.
There are least a few MD's that share your interest in the Lederhosen effect.