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.