John Kerry’s Clandestine Bike Ride in East Germany

In which a 12-year-old Kerry almost caused an international incident and lost his passport.

John Kerry is no one’s idea of an exciting politician. He’s kind of a patrician. He’s long-winded. And he’s usually boring.

But apparently, he lights up when talking about Germany.

Earlier today, Kerry supposedly delighted a crowd of young Germans at a Berlin internet cafe, as he told them about his youth spent in Germany in the 1950s with his diplomat father. In particular, there was the one time when he took his bike into communist East Berlin, only to return home to find his father furious. As the AP’s Matthew Lee reports:

When he returned home, Kerry said, his father ‘‘got very upset with me and said: ‘You could have created an international incident. I could have lost my job.’ So I lost my passport, and I was grounded and I never made another trip like that.’’

Yes! John Kerry was once a rambunctious kid! In my mind, I hope it was an E.T.-like escapade:

Although, knowing Kerry, it was probably more like Ralph Macchio getting chased in Karate Kid:

Anyway, while the young Germans may have been at least somewhat interested in his story, Der Spiegel has been less impressed, writing that Kerry’s nostalgia doesn’t mean anything, that he has “little influence” as the secretary of state, and that America/Obama don’t really care about Europe. Ouch.