Twenty Year Punchline

| Friendly | October 7, 2015

(I do contract work for two guys who run a small company. One is a native Swede. The three of us are having a business lunch. The other partner says something about him being Swedish.)

Me: “Hey, [Swedish Owner], tell us a Swedish joke.”

Swedish Owner: *after a short pause tells us a joke in Swedish, then silence follows*

Other Owner: “Okay, what’s that mean?”

Swedish Owner: “Okay, we have a sort of redneck culture in Sweden that is the butt of many jokes. Two girls in the culture are bored. One says, ‘What shall we do today?’ The other says ‘Let’s go see the American ships at the harbor.’ ‘Good idea,’ says the other. They go to the harbor and start climbing up the rope ladder to one of the ships. The girl below looks up and says, ‘Helga! You’re not wearing any panties!’ Helga says, ‘You don’t put cotton in your ears when you go to a concert, do you?'”

(20 years later, I’m a successful programmer, entrepreneur and teacher… and 1500 miles from where I knew these owners. I’m teaching a private class at a major airline. I’ve gone through two security checkpoints to get to the building where I’m teaching. In the lobby, I see a man lounging. I do a double-take. Can’t be, but I ask:)

Me: “[Swedish Owner]?”

Swedish Owner: “Yes?” *looks at me suspiciously*

Me: “It’s me! Do you remember me? 20 years ago? Kid programmer?”

Swedish Owner: *looks closer* “Yes, wow.”

Me: “What are you doing here? Do you work here?”

Swedish Owner: “No, I’m working for [Airline] in France. I was just passing through.

I’m surprised you remember me.”

Me: “I could never forget the Swedish joke!”

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