Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Finest Polish Matchwood

One would think that the world's leading purveyor of disposable furniture would have the sense to kibosh the Swedish whimsy when naming their product lines, but this impression would be hopelessly naive. Their meatballs, lingonberry juice and Läkerol candy trigger childhood memories as powerful as music, but fifteen minutes into an IKEA run I'm making up brand names like a Malmö logorrhetic: "If you like the Gummi sofa, you absolutely must pair it with the Splatt coffee table, and wouldn't these Kokk wine-glasses look handsome next to that Fart vase over there by the Flippiti-fukk sconces?"

I do all this in an impeccable Swedish accent -- not your silly Swedish Chef bork-bork stuff, but a truly cosmopolitan, educated Swede (and hell, aren't they all?), a Swede who's been to college and speaks better English than William F. Buckley, a Swede who's able to concoct a compound sentence at the drop of a stocking cap, but who still just can't quite shake the singsong rhythms of his native tongue, leaving him with just the faintest air of ridiculousness. A Belgian, a Dutchman, a Finn, a Dane -- none of these make you laugh just by opening their mouths and speaking. Only a Swede can do that. Maybe a Norwegian.

A few years ago, we bought a couple of IKEA dressers for the kids' rooms, made of the finest Polish matchwood. Betty's chest fell apart within three years. Absolutely collapsed into flinders. Only later did the light dawn. The model name really should have tipped us off: We'd bought her the Flimsi.

Today, a very pleasant day, was spent assembling yesterday's purchases while savoring the 52-17 schooling administered by the Washington Football Rumsfelds to the San Francisco Sixty-Niners. I also disassembled both family toilets and replaced their inner workings with fancy new "store-boughten" components instead of the rusted chunks that had obviously been ginned up by a local blacksmith in the distant time before the Age of Interchangeable Parts. Neither toilet flushes perfectly now, but I'm convinced they will with a little adjustment. Perhaps it might be best to attempt these adjustments while a football game isn't playing on the kitchen TV.

Today's favorite sentence, which was not actually uttered but profoundly wishes it had been: "Please tell the Memsahib that the time to object to the use of the family turkey baster to siphon water from the toilet tank was before the undertaking and not afterward, at which point her caviling is profoundly counterproductive."

PS: Ee-KAY-ah, not Eye-KEE-ah. The Swedish marketing boys just punted on this one, kids, and figured trying to get Yanks to pronounce it the way Europeans do as a matter of course was as hopeless as getting Europeans to stop clapping on one and three. But listening to you mispronounce it is just as grating: Ee-KAY-ah. Not Eye-KEE-ah.

5 comments:

Neil Shakespeare said...

Ah, that's lovely, Neddie. Had me laughing almost as hard as the "Oh How I Love To Carry Dung Up The Mountainside For the Commune" post. You're picking on my ancestors, of course, but that's OK. They pick on themselves all the time.

ade said...

Those fancy schmantzy continentals may call it Ee KAy Yah, Ned; but us Brits stick with Eye-Key-Uh - even our TV ads pronounce it that way.
.
That's how european we are!
.
kbeuro
(how apt!)

res publica said...

Filty, godless Swedes. Still, I heart Ikea. It's the hope champagne-tastes-beer-budget types everywhere. Too bad I have to drive to Houston to visit the nearest Ikea. I'm not sure that Europeans (or yanks, for that matter) understand just how BIG Texas is. Do they make the French drive to Germany to buy their Kokks?

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Holy shit. Never mind th' you owe me a new keyboard jokes and that. This just about deviated my septum. You owe me a new diaphragm. The kind in your body. Well, the kind that stays in your body. On purpose.

Convulsions don't HAVE to mean a brain tumor, right?

Wow, that's the funniest thing I've read in a long, long time. I feel like putting on a hair shirt and crawling to you.

vrlnjo: town in finland where the kokksucka bath mat is manufactured.

Annapolitan said...

Betty's chest fell apart within three years. Absolutely collapsed into flinders.

Ummm... Flinders was the mirrored armoire, wasn't it? Page 147.

;-)