While it is not true, contrary to popular opinion, that polar bears prowl the streets of Stockholm, it is true that Swedes eat reindeer. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolf, cooked in a delicious stew with chantarelle mushrooms and cream, served with lingonberries and potatoes. Quite tasty, and oh, so seasonal. Which is what A., the TV producer fixed last night for me and the husband, preparing us for our upcoming Christmas trip to the far north of Sweden. Except the husband didn't come, he was in a foul mood and chose to stay home. So the three of us, A., me and C., the fashion photographer sat and yakked it up about Christianity, soccer and Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize speech, which was quite a hit over here.
Then, after we'd cleared away the dishes, A. cried, "I've got to show you something!"
It was a comic book. Rocky. Not Rocket J. Squirrel, but a daily strip that runs in the No. 1 Swedish newspaper, a thinly veiled autobiographical strip starring a slacker dog and his slacker rat, crocodile and other strange animal friends and enemies. It is, without a doubt, damn funny.
"Read this!" she said.
It was a strip in which Rocky was on an airplane going to Malaysia to meet his girlfriend (slackers who become popular comic strip artists may still be slackers, but they have plenty of money to fly first class) and behind him a TV personality appears, exclaiming about the champagne and signing autographs, to which Rocky says she can sign his ass. Then an even more annoying TV personality shows up.
It was, well, sort of funny to see the TV personality as a silicon-enhanced bimbo dog, but...
"No, no, you don't understand, that really happened, I was on that plane on the way to Malaysia! I was there! That was when we were doing the show in Kuala Lumpur!"
When she read it, A. was at first horrified that she would appear in the next frame, but then when she didn't appear, she was terribly disappointed.
"I could have been immortalized as a Rocky comic character! Damn, how come he didn't put me in, too?"
The Swedish word for the day is tecknad serie. It means comic strip.
- by Francis S.