Childish Finnish jokes

A Finnish boy is asked by his mother to go buy cucumber, eggs and liver. He goes, buys, and on the way back home skippety-skips to the path of a careless driver.

The driver rushes out of his car, yelling: “Boy! Are you okay?”

The boy stands up, sways, and answers: “Oh, oh, cucumber cut, eggs broke, the liver flown out there, but other than that I’m fine!”

* * *

This is a funny joke if you’re Finnish and about ten years old.

The necessary explanation is that kurkku, the Finnish word for cucumber, is a homonym for the word for throat; munat (eggs) is universal slang with the same anatomical meaning as “balls”; and maksa (liver) occurs in humans as well as in the foodshop.

Well, actually the eggs are sort of anatomically hazy. Eggs (plural) is balls (potku munille, a kick to the balls), but an egg (singular) can be the associated rod (ime munaa, suck a dick).

Also, to the best of my recall the saying about making omelettes and breaking eggs does not occur in Finnish except as a clumsy, children-amusing foreign import. Which could be interpreted to mean castrati make the best cooks. “You can’t get an omelette done without breaking a few balls, ey?”

Yes, this is not going to be a philosophically profound post. Let me tell you a few more youth jokes from a few decades ago.

* * *

Three generals, a Swedish, a Norwegian and a Finnish one, get into an argument over which of them has the bravest soldiers.

The Swede marches them to the base of a great big skyscraper, and tell a soldier of his: “Go to the top, and jump down!”

The soldier does this, and also splatters.

The Norwegian general admits this is a little bit brave, and then barks at one of his soldiers: “Get to the top of that tower, then jump down in parade salute, and don’t break it no matter what!”

The Norwegian soldier does this, and to the moment of impact maintains a perfect parade salute. After it, not so much.

The Finnish general agrees this is somewhat brave. Then he yells up one of his soldiers, and commands: “Get to the top of that building! Along the outer wall! Upside down! And then jump down and sing the national anthem as you do!”

And the soldier yells back: “You do the stupid fucking stunt yourself, sir!” — and walks away.

The Finn wins.

* * *

A third, too.

* * *

A Norwegian, a Swede and a Finn get into a competition over who is the toughest.

To decide this, they resolve to see which can stay in a sauna with a skunk the longest.

The skunk goes in; then, the Norwegian. After five minutes (and two ladlefuls of water) he comes out, crying, sobbing, saying “The smell! I can’t take it any longer!”

The Swede goes in next. Five minutes pass, and three ladlefuls. Then five minutes, and the sound of the entire ladle-bucket being poured. A great hiss of steam. Five more minutes. Then the Swede crawls out, gasping, choking, saying “The stench! The ungodly stench! I can’t take it any longer!”

Finally, the Finn goes in. Five minutes pass; then ten. Occasionally, the hiss of a ladleful of water on the stove is heard. Fifteen minutes, twenty. Sobbing is heard from the inside. Thirty. Gnashing of teeth, and dribbling water. Forty. Great wracking hopeless sobs. Fifty minutes.

Then the skunk staggers out, nose running, tears in its eyes, and moans: “The reek, the reek! I can’t take it any longer!”

* * *

And a fourth; this is a good one to stop with.

* * *

A little boy is staying with his grandparents.

One day in the middle of a dinner with the neighbors over, the boy blurts to the grandfather: “I need to go piss, pops!”

Later that shameful day the grandfather, being a delicate old sort, tells the boy: “Dear boy! Don’t use language like that ever again in this house! Never! If you need to go, just say ‘I feel like singing’ and you will be let to go.”

That night, the boy wakes up. He terribly needs to pee, but the house is dark and unfamiliar, so he creeps to the grandparents’ bedroom, shakes the grandmother awake, and whispers: “Gramma! Gramma! I… I feel like singing!”

To which she answers: “Oh? Don’t wake Grampa up, dear. Do it quietly and in my ear.”

3 Responses to “Childish Finnish jokes”

  1. Tavya Says:

    Sometimes you find answers in the strangest places. I’ve been idly wondering what “ime munaa” meant ever since a Finn happened to say it to me sometime last summer. I suppose I should thank you for that?

  2. Masks of Eris Says:

    Tavya: Well, I don’t think this is the sort of enlightenment that calls for thanks.

    (Also: In Tolkien’s the Hobbit there’s a part where Gollum-Smeagol recalls his Hobbit childhood and the activities involved:

    But suddenly Gollum remembered thieving from nests long ago, and sitting under the river bank teaching his grandmother, teaching his grandmother to suck — ‘Eggses!’ he hissed.

    Which is innocent in English but in Finnish is this same thing, and pretty much the rudest way of communicating it that I know of. And as I recall the translator either hadn’t know this or had thought no reader could actually have such a dirty mind. That was wrong. And, well, somehow I never had trouble with understanding why Smeagol was ostracized.)

  3. Tavya Says:

    I’ll admit it’s not the most gratifying piece of information I’ve ever come by, but still, my curiosity has been satisfied, and that’s worth something, at least. So, thank you.

    It’s actually rather funny that Finnish has this phrase, since in English there’s a somewhat outdated saying about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs. According to the authorities of Wikipedia, it is used when “a person is giving advice to someone else about a subject that they already know about (and probably more than the first person).” (Possibly Tolkien was having some fun with this. After all, that whole section of the book is about riddles and word-play.)

    I suppose the same meaning could apply in Finnish, but it would be a lot more disturbing, as I doubt the average person wants to think of his grandmother having superior knowledge in this particular area.

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