Finns are great communicators.
Did I hear a snort of disbelief? I indeed said that Finns are great communicators. And the key word here is ‘communicator’ — as in “Communicator? You mean one of those mobile phone thingies?”
An astounding percentage of Finns owns a mobile telephone. Even elementary school kids tote their personal game- and sticker-studded phones, and now and then one can see an old lady, swearing profusely and commanding her phone to call Pollyanna. Businessmen carry one phone for work, one for family affairs, and one for the, um, affair. When a student moves to live on her own, she needs a phone to keep in contact with her friends and family, and it is almost inevitably a mobile phone. The writer had a rude shock yesterday when an exchange student asked him if the housing complex had a line phone. After several minutes the writer conceded that the complex didn’t, and that he had never even noticed the thing before, despite living for years in the said place.
(This is partly because the writer is a dangerously impractical student of mind-breaking mathematics, but I digress.)
So Finns use mobile phones. And these electric communicators are the reason why Finns are great communicators. When talking through a phone, you don’t have to see the other person, and you don’t have to be seen. There’s none of that awkward eye contact and body language stuff, with which Finns are absolutely helpless. There’s no fuss. One can talk and scratch one’s naked genitals at the same time without the other screaming in disgust.
Well, unless you are uncivil enough to say: “Wait a minute, I just gotta —”
Enough levity. A mobile phone is a pleasantly impersonal way of conducting personal contacts, and it goes with one everywhere. If you need to tell the girl in the back row at school that you deeply and madly love her, you can call her! None of this blushing and wandering eyes and fidgeting hands hullaballoo, and if you botch it, she can’t even slap you! Perfect solution!
Or, being more trendy, one could propose to one’s girlfriend with a text message. “U want 2 marry me? Plz answer.”
If this seems a bit callous, consider then the elegant ease and immense usefulness of breaking up with a text message. No dodging flying skillets, no nothing! Finally a way of conducting human relations that the Finns can understand and cope with! And you don’t have to moan that even her last words are forgotten when you have this message squirreled away: “Hi. I’m getting a divorce. –Vic”
Phone calls, text messages, and so on. Very suitable for Finns. Even Nokia is Finnish. You know, Nokia, one of the most famous and capable manufacturers of mobile phones worldwide? The fifth most valuable global brand in 2007? The Finnish company that generates more revenue than the state budget of Finland?
Okay, that last one is maybe not such a major achievement.
One final warning, however. There is a terrible looming threat that will, when it comes, and come it must, destroy all of these social inventions of ours, and which will plunge Finland back into barbarism from which there may be no return.
On the day they perfect the videophone, we Finns are toast.