It's almost midnight, the Saturday before St. Patty’s day. At an Irish Bar packed with actual Irish people. Accompanied by a swarm of Scandinavians. I know, this sounds like a truly bad idea, but fear not, I have lots of experience with these kinds of dangerous scenarios.
Jo, one of my favorite Norwegians, breaks into this story about his trip home for the holidays. I felt like I was in an episode of Drunk History.
Jo says that he was up with his family at their “hytte,” the cabin in the forest that every single solitary Scandinavian has and talks about all the time.
So these neighbors of Jo’s family drop in and invite Jo back to their family's hytte for a drink. Jo went to school with the kids. Jo’s mother is like, “go, go over to their hytte.” Jo is hesitant because he knows that one of the main reasons they are inviting him is because Jo has a posh Norwegian accent and they think he is a….
Three people start imitating posh Norwegian accents and I yell out pantywaist! Only Tom laughs but everyone toasts each other because we’re at an Irish bar at midnight the Saturday before St. Patricks day and Scandinavians love toasts.
After about ten minutes someone realizes we're in the middle of a story here.
Jo straps on his cross country skis, because. Norway. He follows his old neighbors over to their hytte. It’s a couple of kilometers.
The neighbors have brewed up a batch of moonshine using their secret family recipe. In Norway, the moonshine is 96% alcohol. BTW, that’s not 96 proof. Jo asks for whisky and they reach up in the spice cupboard for their little bottle of “Whiskey Extract.” They also have “Scotch Extract” and “Vodka Extract.” They sell these little bottles of extract in every Norwegian grocery store, right next to the Vanilla Extract. Two drops of Whiskey Extract and shazam. They hand Jo a shot glass of “whiskey.” Helan går, as they say.
Jo proves he is not a pantywaist. Finally, it’s time to go home. He walks out into the cold, dark Norwegian night all by himself. Did I mention dark? It’s really really dark in Norway in the winter. Pitch. Black.
Jo pushes off in his skis. Swish, swish. But the snow is deep. And it’s fucking dark. He break a pole.
Oh no!!! The crowd goes wild. We all clutch our heads.
Jo skis a little further, and realizes right then that the alcohol hasn’t kicked in yet. The clock is ticking. He must make it home before he gets as truly drunk as he deserves to be. He skis with one ski pole, recalling that in the old days, like the 13th century, they used to ski with only one pole. We all imitate his re-enactment. We probably look like we’re trying to pilot a gondola. None of the Irish even notice.
But then, the worst! THE OTHER POLE BREAKS.
OMG! And it’s dark and Jo is in a valley and he has to make it up the hill and home to the family hytte before he can’t feel his arms and he has no ski poles and the snow is deep and he’s a little lost and it’s pitch black and it's the middle of the night!
The next morning, Jo’s mother asks if he would like to go out for a little julekake and to shop for a pink marzipan pig. Maybe sing a verse or two of the Mouse Song.
Jo said, no. He’d rather just stay home and do a little reading.