Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm Finnished!

Today I withstood the DMV (misplaced my license), a call to the health insurance folks everyone's been raving about (I'm fine), the slowest deli line this side of the Volga (honey-roasted turkey), and a price-check at Wal-Mart (Nerf football, $4).

I withstood it all. But a flighty Finnish woman took me down.

I've always had a soft spot for Finn's land until now. Helsinki seems like an off-the-beaten path world capital I'd like to visit; I just read a fantastic essay about the traditional singing of the elders there; and the Lihapullat--the Finnish Meatball--beats its famous cousin from Swede's land any day.

I also have fond memories of scanning the encyclopedia entry about Finland in my family's old Funk and Wagnall's, and, because I own the knowledge and can't help sharing it, I've probably told a dozen too many people about the heroic Finnish resistance of the Russians during WWII.

Well the Finnish resisted me today. Long story short: I'd had a paper accepted at a conference, I contacted the Finnish woman running the conference about this acceptance, and she told me she could no longer offer me a place at the conference.


Finland is the second most stable country in the world, for Ukko's sake! Why can't they produce a person who won't screw me career-wise?

Long story medium-short: when I sent a letter accepting her conference offer, my Scandinavian correspondent was already "on holiday" and so didn't receive it in time. Maybe she went to Lapland up north which is oft regarded as the home of Santa Claus. Maybe she boarded one of Finland's notably large cruise ships--largest in the world, it turns out.

Either way, she'd had to make some changes to the conference program before her trip and so I was cut.

I will admit, I had waited five days to get back to her. But the sun never sets up there, so it's really like one long day, no? I was barely late.

Alas, I got a taste today of the ruthless efficiency of Scandinavian governance. First the socialists shut me out of academia, next we're all standing in line for toilet paper.

Exaggerations aside, the whole exchange was, as they say in Finland, Paskan Marjat. Shit's berries.

I suppose I'll live. But I implore you all, let us put our collective weight behind a devastating boycott of Finland's number one export: pulp.

If they don't want my paper, I don't want theirs.


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