postcard from Scandinavian restaurant
in Phoenix AZ, ca.1976
I'd like to share a story my family tells about a Swedish gift for leaving common sense behind:
A seedy hotel manager at the edge of The Big City sees the arrival of a young man whose passport says he is from Poland. The young man explains that he has been turned away from every other hotel in the city. The seedy hotel manager tells him, "That's because there's a big convention in town. All the rooms are booked." The young Polish man asks if the same is true of this hotel, and the manager confirms that he, too, has booked all his rooms -- and, indeed, has even filled two cots in the janitor's closet.
"Tell you what I'm going to do, though," the manager says slyly. "I have a little shack out back that hasn't been used in decades, and I can lease it to you... but you have to pay at least a full month's rent up front." He indicates an old outhouse, thinking that the foolish young man will hardly last the night, and he will be padding his pockets well for the night. The young Polish man, desperate for a place to stay, agrees, and takes his suitcases to the backhouse.
A week later, the manager notices the Polish man is still there. Amazed, he strides out to the outhouse, and says to the young man, "Hey, fella! I guess now that the conventioneers are gone, I have room for you in the main building again."
The young man replies, "Thanks, but I like it out here. I'm renting the basement to a couple of Swedes!"
But, of course, the Swedish portion of my family doesn't find this story amusing... not because we're offended, but because we know the old saw: Tell a Pollack joke in a crowded room, and you'll have to explain it to the Swede. Swedes are natural blondes, after all.
Portrait of the blogger as a young girl