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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

My name is Jón Jónsson ...

many options can be added to finish off this sentence. In Iceland, however, it could easily be completed with ...and I am an alcoholic. Riding the bus home this evening (and it was only 18 o´clock) the seat next to me was taken by somebody who was not in control of his body movements.
In the spirit of not being judgemental I entered a half spoken, half spitten and mostly incomprehensible lecture about the Icelandic drinking gene. Now this man likes to maintain that there is really nothing that he can do about drinking all the time, it is something that has been passed on from generation to generation.
And it all goes back to gods that dwell in Ásgarður and Valhalla. These deities are not known for their virtuous behaviour, but rather for their ability in battle, throwing of hammers, but above all: booze. You know the ones called Thor and Óðinn. And that is what early vikings here in Iceland aspired to. They believed that if they are brave in battle, they would die proudly and be carried to Valhalla...doing battle over day and drinking at night.
Until christianity!
I had to give this guy some credit for at least trying to defend his drunkenness in an imaginative way... skál!

Posted by Minka :: 7:35 pm :: 6 Royal Subjects

Link to this Royal Decree!


At 22:59, Blogger Ásgeir said...

Who wouldn't be an alcoholic if he was unfortunate enough to be called Jón Jónsson?

At 11:40, Blogger Lisa Skvísa said...

:-) Very true Ásgeir! But yeah this guy could be onto something or it could just be another Icelandic excuse to pardon the inability to stop when the bladder is almost on exploding point. But the problem is... that like with the cancer gene in our blood, because we're all related, many people are passed down these unfortunate genes and they do say alcoholism is heriditary... but I've always thought that the whole not legalising beer for ages had something to do with it... if you ban it, an Icelander's gonna want it, so it kind of had the opposite effect and I still hear stories of the things people used to do to get some illegal beer from the American soldiers at the base... it started an unheathy trend and now that we can get beer when we want, our generation is well and truly immersed in it all... I blame the parents!! ;-)

At 12:03, Blogger Minka said...

The guys name was not Jón Jónsson...I just chose the name as a representative of Icelandic names...like I would have picked John Smith if it had been a text about an English speaking person.

At 12:47, Blogger Ásgeir said...

well, I suppose if the name was John Smith he'd only drink about five days a week ...

At 19:02, Blogger Kolbrún said...

Interesting topic Monica. As I am one of those people who seem to lose control sometimes when I drink without even knowing what happened I do believe that alcoholism is a disease. But I really did try to control my drinking and finally I just quit. What worries me is that I think a lot of alcoholics, like this "Jón Jónsson" character you met on the bus give themselves freedom to drink like this because they are alcoholics instead of trying to do something about it for real. Some actually don't have the social background to support them in their soberness and therefore just go on drinking for the heck of it. But like Lisa said - it's in the genes just like cancer and diabetes for example. BUT I also believe (since I've started commenting on this) that a large part of our (Icelandics) drinking habits (I think we discussed this once Monika) is learnt behaviour. So what I'm saying is that some truly are alcoholics while others just have bad drinking habits. Makes sense to me.

At 20:11, Blogger Johnny Newt said...

You speak of his Viking roots as they were a bad thing!!
The only drinking problem I can see that he has is people like you looking down on him for it !! I've always admired someone who embrasses there vises without making excuses, be it wrong or right ! you aint cool until you pee your pants!


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