Oh, the ideas

Had to write an e-mail to my department head today.

Our department not being all that formal — or so I hope — I began it with a “Hei.”, your basic Finnish version of the English “Hi.” with a crazy ethnic vowel added to it.

Then I fought myself for two terrible seconds, because I’m a horrible, inappropriate person, and managed to send the message without adding an L after the I. Because the likely outcomes would have been cold quiet outrage, or a message to the mailing list telling the head had a huge new retro idea for addressing him. (“Und fur ze Graduate Students, schnappy black Uniforms!”)

Because, you see, the Finnish word for your departmental head is “laitoksen johtaja”, or “the department’s leader”. And “leader” is what that German F-word means. Also “driver”, as in “Führerschein”, German for a driver’s license. Which I’m sure has caused plenty of horrible humor from young ones that’ve just got theirs.

Hans, to Gretel: “I’ve got the license! Let’s take a car and go invade Poland!”

Gretel, to Hans: “We are no longer friends.”

As you may gather, Finns are not that good with either respect or taste. And the head is actually a nice guy and not likely to become a fascistic dictator at the first opportunity; but to quote an old office proverb, illustrating the problem of orientation in hierarchy and its consequences in perception, “bosses look down and see shit; underlings look up and see assholes”.

* * *

In other, non-fecal news (though I could argue…), the NaNoWriMo novel is at about 40 000 words — which means, 4/5 of the required minimum after 1/2 of the time; woo hoo!) — and just had a climax in it. A sane, skilled writer would say “that’s it!” and write “the end”, but I am a) too interested in the fallout, b) not satisfied with the abruptness, and c) 10 000 words shy of victory.

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