Norway! I went to Norway a few times, once for about a week, and... yeah. Nothing really struck me about Norwegian culture. Well, except, of course, for the fact that Norway spawned the likes of Thor Heyerdahl, the Twentieth Century's greatest adventurer. I saw the Kon-Tiki in a museum in Oslo and bought a slide that looked like this:

Fast forward fifteen years and...

I volunteered to be a guest teacher one day in a high school special ed social studies class. I had recently found a box of slides labeled, "Norway". I had no real way of looking at the slides, except in the teeny tiny view, but I was pretty sure I could wing it when I saw them. I mean, who doesn't remember pictures they took in a foreign country, even after fifteen years?

I introduced the slide show to the class- "These are some pictures of Norway I took when I was your age," blah blah blah. I turned on the slide projector, and that slide- the picture up above there- came up. And I, naturally, had absolutely no idea what that slide was meant to represent. I paused. A feeling of panic slowly came over me. Then, out of the blue, a voice,

"The Kon-Ticki!" yelled a man in the back of the room. He yelled it with gusto! With joy! Apparently, he was a substitute for one of the assistants in the class, and he was a great fan of *Thor Heyerdahl, the Kon-Ticki, Norway in general. And so was I, suddenly. It all came back to me! He saved my life, for the moment. Or, at the very least, he saved the social studies lesson.

* For those of you not in the know, Thor Heverdahl sailed a raft around the world, in an (I think successful) attempt to prove that primitive peoples could have travelled the earth in rafts and moved from one continent to another.

I think he had a lesser-known adventure when he lived on an island with his wife for two years. I only remember mostly that in the documentary they mentioned that they were naked almost the entire time, because they liked feeling the leaves brush against their skin.


  1. Wow! How lucky are you that some random dude was sitting in your classroom that day?
    Had it been me, with my luck, there would have been at least one drunken picture of me in the slides, when I was their age.

  2. That possibility had never occurred to me! Mostly, though, because I knew I didn't get drunk in Norway- though I could have looked drunk, just because I naturally did look drunk, of course. And I hung out in bars.

    That dude is still out there, subbing. I ran into him a few months ago. He's great.

  3. I love that I learn stuff here!Seriously, the only thing I know Norway for is the death metal bands that my brother listens to. Then again that could be Sweden.