I just found a snail-mail letter exchange I had with humorist/journalist Joe Bob Briggs back in... 1992! I had no idea that was on the web. Weird world.
[Apparently my first letter and reply was not archived.]
Dear Joe Bob,
Yes, I'm a genuine Dane. But I like slang, especially American slang. It's, like, totally rad. I like the way it just goes for broke; mows em down, scoops em up; slices and dices em; chops and drops em. Total annihilation, sunk without a trace. I mean, like, no holes barred. Like, go ahead, make my day; may the best man win; take your best shot; a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Thank you, sir, can I have another?
Is your hometown really called Grapevine?
By the by, I would like to acknowledge you for have a really rare quality, which is the ability to evaluate importances. It's amazing how rare that is--e.g., that actions are more important than thoughts or statements. Or that people are more important than color (whether one way or the other). Even that some popular super-controversial subjects are glaringly insignificant.
Is it true that condom commercials can't get on TV in the U.S.A.? Is that country for real? In Denmark two years ago we had four-meter condoms on commercials on our buses. We also can have nude broads on the front (and regularly on page 9) of the national newspaper with the greatest circulation without anybody getting offended.
Send me some Danish slang so I can use it in my everyday life. Like "Skoal me, man." Or "Your armpit smells like herring." Anything. - Joe Bob
Like, Dear Joe Bob,
You ask for it, you get it. After many sweaty hours of field work, here is a compiled, concise list of contemporary Danish slang. It turned out not to be easy, for the reason that most Danish conversations seem to be about either the state of the national soccer team (sometimes great, usually lousy), or the I.Q. of Brigitte Nielsen as compared to that of the leader of the Labour Party. (A difficult comparison, unlike the one about who has the greatest breasts. But then she cheated. She went to high school.) I don't like sports, I'm not interested in politics, I don't watch television, listen to the radio, or read newspapers, so you see it isn't easy. (For completeness' sake, I also don't smoke, drink, or date . . . or date anybody known to be a sister of mine.)
To make many excuses few, I had to invent a couple to make it look like a list. I'm not telling which ones.
"Fat Times" (Something you say when getting good news or just in a generally good mood. Means, like, "Golden Years.")
"Respect" (Said in double speed and pitch. A quote from a techno-rock heavy-metal tune. Ministry: The mind is a terrible thing to taste.)
"Don't throw books when living with illiterates . . ."
"It's colder in the country in the winter than in the city in the summer." (An old rural saying used to confuse small children as a warm-up to school.)
"You are talking too much compared to how much you are saying." (Biting retort to people who usually don't understand it.)
"A tomato as big as a balled-up child's head."
"Keep the city clean; walk a Swede to the ferry." (The Swedes can't drink alcohol until they are 21. So they come to Copenhagen.)
"Like cacti in the bed." (About unwanted guests and old lovers.)
"It's like I'm saying, always have said, and say now tearfully . . ." (Girls under 16 shouldn't look like that--or whatever you find sad or noteworthy.)
Thanks is due to my father, God rest his dear, promiscuous soul, for a few of these.
Still hanging in there,
My favorite one is "a tomato as big as a balled-up child's head." That's really sick. I don't expect it from Denmark. Congratulations. - Joe Bob