A man who has lived in Luxembourg for only a few years has become alarmingly defensive of his adoptive country and views any criticism of it as an invitation for a sharp rebuke.
Upon relocating here, Caleb Shaw immediately became one of the country’s staunchest defenders — even going so far as refusing to live in the capital city or its environs because they “aren’t Luxembourgish enough” and rarely acknowledging fellow anglophones outside of work.
Shaw’s compatriot Grace Aitken, who works with him, says that the two once had a coffee after lunch, and when she expressed dismay at the size of the Luxlait UHT cream that came with her coffee, he launched into a rant.
“He took it personally,” she said. “He stood on a chair and berated me in front of a dozen colleagues, saying that if I didn’t like it here in Luxembourg, I should just leave.”
“Never mind that I’ve been here 20 years,” she added.
Shaw’s cousin, who spent three days visiting Luxembourg in January, confirms that Shaw is a bit touchy.
“I asked Caleb if Luxembourgish was a real language, or if it was, like, a dialect or a mix of German and French,” he said. “It was a real question, but he didn’t take it so well.”
“He threw me out of the car, while it was moving,” he continued. “We haven’t spoken since.”
Caleb’s defensiveness has become so vociferous that officials now advise the general public to avoid making even the most innocuous remarks about the Grand Duchy while in his presence.
“If you find yourself near Caleb Shaw, don’t make any comment about Luxembourg that is not glowing praise,” said a spokesperson from the Office of Helpful Advice. “Never, under any circumstances, show disdain about the weather, cost of living, traffic, food, languages, nightlife, architecture, and national beer brands.”
“To be honest, we advise you to not approach him, and if you do find yourself face-to-face with Mr. Shaw, do not make any rapid or unusual facial expressions,” she continued. “He is known to interpret a rolling of the eyes or a furrowing of the brow as a scathing insult of the Grand Duchy, and he may react by punching you in the throat.”
Sources indicate that rather endearing himself to locals, most Luxembourgers are quite uncomfortable with Shaw’s weirdly unconditional love of the country, and that at times they even find themselves victims of his wrath.
“When I first met Caleb, I remember saying that it must be hard for him to get used to the grey skies here,” said Pol Schmidt, Shaw’s cycling partner and a 176th-generation Luxembourger whose family has lived near present-day Mersch since at least 1500 B.C.
“He nearly bit my head off,”he said. “And he told me that if I didn’t like it here, I should go home.”