Copenhagen is a fascinating city for an American to visit. The people are friendly, it's beautiful, easy to get around and the beer flows like delicious water that has been mixed with hops and fermented. In fact, the one real problem with visiting Scandinavia is the fact that everyone who resides there is a thousand times more beautiful than I will ever be.
And I'm not even talking about the women. A day spent at the beach taught me that the Danish men are freaks of nature, gifted with an additional set of abdominal muscles. You've heard the term 6-pack? These freaks have 8 packs.
How is that even fair? They're rocking an additional ab while I'm stuck with a wine pouch flopping around in front of me. It's like their Viking ancestors needed a way to prove their superiority to everyone else so, in the midst of their plundering, they STOLE an additional muscle from some hapless fishing village, pillaging it along with the wealth and the women and then, somehow, attaching it to themselves and bequeathing that chiseled beauty to their lineage.
In some part of the world (where the men rarely take their shirts off), there are people with only 4-pack abs, victims of Viking violence… so sad...
I'm so off topic it’s not even funny. So I was spending the summer in Copenhagen learning about the Danish health care system, which, it turns out, is fundamentally flawed. The overriding concept of using Danishes, as well as other pastries, to cure diseases isn't the most effective treatment. It really limits effectiveness to certain cases of Diabetes and general low blood sugar situations.
That’s RIGHT! It's a blog entry with puns. Get excited. Get fucking excited.
So there I was in Denmark, surrounded by abdominal muscles, and we decided a fun way to spend the long summer night was to have a barbecue in one of the city parks. They had grills set out for general use, large fields for extended games of Ultimate Frisbee and a summer sun that wouldn't be setting until 11:30 PM.
Now, one aspect of Denmark that is a lot better than the United States and less embarrassing then muscular perfection is their recycling program. In Copenhagen you can buy a six-pack of beer for about 100 Kroner, but you could then take those six empty cans back to the store and return them for 30 Kroner! JUST FOR RECYCLING!
Great grandmother's whisky! It's like the entire country operates on some sort of magical, fantastic Buy-Three-Get-One-Free program! This is the zenith of human evolution! The country should be getting the Nobel Peace Prize every year… AND the Nobel Prize in Physics just because of the gravity of the situation.
See? A veritable fountain of puns! Huzzah!
So in Denmark beer is a valuable commodity, both before and after its ingestion. We had, of course, bought many six packs of beer and carted them over to our little party in the park. Most of them were drunk during the course of dinner, but six remained, carefully wedged into a cooler by the rest of our stuff.
Meal finished and bellies distended with Danish hot dogs we started tossing around the Frisbee, but finding the grill area a little crowded a few of us moved the game to a field about sixty yards away from our friends who were less enamored with the flying disc.
After about an hour we were tired and walked back to the grill to get some more food, but as I crested the hill and started walking back down towards our stuff, I could tell that something was wrong. Everyone I knew was standing by our grill, frozen like a pack of Meerkats staring in the same direction. I walked down to join them and asked what was wrong. They all pointed in shakily in unison, like some Disney animatronics display, at an old man slowly pedaling away on a bike.
"He took the beer," one of them said quietly. "And the rest of our hot dogs."
"What!?" I yelled. "He just took it?"
"Yeah, he just got off his bike, walked over, picked up the bag with the beer and the hot dogs, and walked away."
"Why aren't you stopping him?" I screamed, voice fueled with indignation. I turned and looked back up the hill. The man was now about a hundred yards away slowly pedaling up the garden path. With a bellow like a velociraptor who has just had his beer stolen by meddling paleontologists I thundered after this aged alcohol absconder.
Now, I am not a runner. Remember the condition of my abs as mentioned earlier? That kinda applies to all of me. Beer, hot dogs and general hedonism are a lot more fun then exercise, so I tend to lean that way. But this event taught me that exercise should always be an important part of one's day, even if its purpose is only to enable you to catch people who steal your more hedonistic pleasures.
So I'm huffing and puffing after this guy (because there is no way in HELL that I am going to lose my hard earned calories) all while screaming "Stop" and "That's my beer" over and over again as I give hot pursuit. The interesting thing is that this man is neither slowing down, nor speeding up. It is as though he knows he has done something bad, but by maintaining his present course he hopes to eventually overcome my sense of fury.
That's right: he is employing the "Turtle vs. Hare" tactic on me. Now, it is completely possible that the Danish version of the Turtle and the Hare is a little more sinister then our version, (God knows their version of the Little Mermaid is as fucked up as all creation: she commits suicide at the end… look it up) but I would be hard pressed to assume that the Danes are recommending alcohol theft as a metaphor for life.
So I'm chasing him and chasing him and chasing him like there is no tomorrow. We are two titans locked in a combat of wills. Who will give in first? Who will be the first to accept defeat?
Tune in tomorrow to find out.
(That's right, not only does it have puns, it’s a two-parter!)
The conclusion can be found here.