I vividly remember the moment I realised that the Swedish must save so much time during December. It was during a visit to Ikea, which was festively festooned in a suitably Swedish manner, with banners everywhere wishing me a ‘God Jul’. I stared at these words…what a revelation! The Swedes [and the Norwegians, too – though they aren’t quite as famous for their flat-pack furniture] could write their Christmas greetings using only SIX LETTERS. Yes, that’s right – a mere 6 quick letters and their seasonal message is complete.
I took to my fingers and started attempting some maths….H A P P Y C H R I S T M A S is….errr…..fourteen letters long….which is….errr……eight longer than the Swedish equivalent. My envy knew no bounds. I had just the other evening been writing my cards [and I refuse to write ‘ Xmas’] so had spent over twice the time a Swedish person would have needed to convey the same sentiments. I then just HAD to work it out properly [being somewhat obsessive about it all by now]. According to my calculations, it takes 2.66666666 [insert many, many more decimal places if you wish] more time…and ink.
INK! So it’s not only more time-consuming, but also more exPENsive [sorry 😦 ].Those lucky Swedes save time AND money writing their cards. There must be some way we get our own back, mustn’t there? If you’re one of those who also add ‘Happy New Year’, maybe the equation balances itself? Nope….It’s ‘gott nytt år’ in Swedish, another 2 letters saved. Curses…even their language is well designed to save time, space and money. Still, for giving us Ikea I will forgive them, and leave you with the ode to Ikea I penned after another visit.
Oh Swedish Goddess of design
Let me enter thy portals, I am thine.
Thy strange green plastic shapes: I crave.
About thy flat-packed wares: I rave.
I bought a Billunk and a Norp
A Kvestar and a Torrisporp,
I placed them happily in the car
[But haven’t the faintest what they are].
Back home, I gloat with utmost bliss,
But, ah, there’s something quite amiss.
Oh Swedish Goddess of cruelty,
Thou forgot’st to include the Allen key.