The joke goes like this, with loads of variations, but this is my semi-arbitrary pick:
In heaven, the Swiss run the hotels, the French are the cooks, the Italians are the lovers, the British are the police and the Germans are the auto mechanics.
In hell, the Swiss are the lovers, the French run the hotels, the Italians are the auto mechanics, the British are the cooks and the Germans are the police.
And yes, I know, Italy makes Ferraris and Lamborghinis and you've been to a horrid Swiss hotel (so have I) and been Tazered by Bobbies in a hooligan riot, and found eternal love in a French bed-and-breakfast but, for now, bear with the premise, as that's not the point.
Because here's my real question: WHO ARE THE AMERICANS IN BOTH PLACES?
I think I've come up with the definitive answer, but I'd love to know what everybody else interested thinks, and if anyone is, or probably anyway, I'll be back later with my answer.
Also feel free to fill in the roles for your own ethnicity (honor system). I tossed this to a college freshman writing class and five of them said the Irish -- which I half am -- were bartenders in both places, so consider that one taken.
With best wishes for a survivable 2011,