Grumpy Dane

I might as well say these words, while I still can, for puritanism and political correctness are taking over in Old Denmark and not least her neighbouring countries: Indian. Man. Woman. He. She. God. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And a lot more. There, now, I said it. Shoot me.

These days it’s become a sex discriminating thing to talk of God as “he”, so the rituals of the national churches in Denmark and Sweden are changing in order to totally avoid the personal pronoun. In Norway the official encyclopedia is blotting out the lexicality term “Indian”, as this is discriminating.

In Germany it is discriminating, that only males can stand up and pee, so in Berlin they plan on installing thousands of public stand-up urinals for women. In the name of equal rights and their offspring and the holy toast.

Oh, sorry. I guess I quite forgot to introduce myself, so be it now done after all this time with the great pleasure of writing Danish Corner in print: I’m a grumpy old man.

Got to think of the lack of introducing myself as this corner-column is now no longer on paper – paper and print are very expensive and should be a girl’s best friends rather than diamonds – but exclusively on this website.

So consider yourself belonging to the exclusive bunch. In my younger days, we used to say “paper is grateful”, meaning that any klamphugger, as we say in the old kingdom of Hamlet and Egon Olsen, or bungler, could jot down any stray thought on paper, get it published and get famous. Now speech and web are silver, but paper is golden.

Anyway, like I said, I’m a grumpy old man. Not that I am so by choice, actually it just seems that people around me tend to think of me that way: Ibsen’s strange weatherbeaten, squatting Peer Gynt brooding out there on the outmost rock of the keys in the sea. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in one person. In short, a grumpy old man.

Me, I don’t see myself that way, of course. But then who am I to judge? I’ve only been me for some sixty-odd years. I see the positive, curious, smiling little fellow with dimples in his cheeks, half a century younger, who played happily with the others around our house block and it’s neighbourhood in the golden afternoon hours till dark and went home with my brother and the other kids to eat.

Other people don’t often see that. They see, well you know, Walter Matthau.

OK, alright, bien, I’ll admit, I hate noise. Next to dog’s droppings in the street, klamphuggers, misspellings, broccoli, not knowing whether or not to hug and kiss cheeks and how many of them – whatever happened to that good, old-fashioned, firm handshake?

Street musicians who can barely play one note of one verse of one song and expect money every time they deliver it. Most of what you see on your TV, a good deal of what you hear on your radio, a country that boasts of its immortal democratic and liberal values and yet has a massive political and policial crisis whenever a homeless bugger comes around, because we want clean streets here, boy! Only dogs may litter.

Next to local and regional elections, like those newly carried out in November, where politics are immaterial, it’s all about becoming mayor instead of the mayor no matter who you enter into alliances with to get there or why.

Next to all this I hate noise. The obra on the Paseo in La Herradura, Spain, the constant sound of pouring rain in Kolding, Denmark, all the machines that all the workers in Spain and Denmark together employ, plotting to create this wallpaper of constant noise that creeps into Walter Matthau’s delicate ears, and mine.

Last but not least, the thing that really stigmatizes me as being a grumpisimo old man: The loudest, shrillest sounds of children. I mean, I love children, they’re the salts of the earth. I used to be one myself.

But when there’s half a million of them shrilly shouting, late at night in a restaurant, their parents chatting on without noticing the noise – they’re immune, I guess, or indifferent – I get this haunted, suffering expression on my face that makes people point fingers at me and cry: Grumpy old man.

Well, I guess that’s what I am, then. It’s hard to argue with pointed fingers. So I might as well fold my face in the many milhoja folds of Walter Matthau’s, go out in the street and step in a dog’s dropping. One of the juicy ones. And look relatively happy as expected of non-grumpies.

Anyway, this is December, and I almost forgot, so have a very Merry Christmas, you-all. Well, come to think of it, Christmas has its back pages, too.

(News: International Feature/Danish Corner)

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