Friday, May 29, 2015

Tell me about it

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I don't know how to say it in Swedish.  I don't know a thousand Swedish words. The only one I do know is "Smörgåsbord," which is a word made from two other Swedish words: "gåsbord" - a table upon which hundreds of foods are spread, many of them fibrous, and "S'mör" - which means the same in any language.

I love to shop at IKEA, though, and I hope you have one in your town.  It's a giant yellow-and-blue store that sells everything from frozen salmon to the refrigerator to keep it cold to the oven to bake it to the table to serve it upon to the cutlery and dishes to use while gobbling it.  It would be possible to live in an IKEA, since they have beds, too, and telephones scattered around the store for free local phone calls, and a snack bar and a restaurant.  If you've never been to an IKEA, I can promise you, it's not like any place you've ever been before.

I love IKEA.  But there is a hitch.

This looks like a faucet that is going to drip
and needs a good tightening,  But how?  HOW?
Actually, it's only a hitch if you, like me, are the victim of pictographophobia, the fear of assembling something when the instructions contain only pictures, not words.  I am a wordy person, a prolix, pleonastic sort of guy, which means I use far more words than necessary.  Which is fine, but I could use all the help I can get when I go to put together a bookcase or a kitchen faucet.  Tell me to flurble the pfisteris and tell me how, and I can do it.  Show me a picture of a pfisteris being flurbulated, and I need words.

When you open your IKEA package and go to read the assembly instructions, you realize in a jiffy that you don't need to know how to read anything for the next several hours.  No sir, you're in for a period of trying to figure out what the picture means.

The instructions for ruining your afternoon begin by showing just what you're going to need to put together your BÅGVIK SINGLE KITCHEN FAUCET and what they should tell you is, besides the two screwdrivers and hammer, the other thing you need is to be hiring the pantless man shown at the left, since he is the only person who knows how to handle your BÅGVIK.

And that's really an ömka (Swedish for "pity.")

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