nothing says rich like swedes


I’ve often talked about how I adopted the weird, often irrational habits of my former roommates and housemates – like not putting certain paper items in the toilet (Andy Taubman), drying off while IN the shower (Salem), watching TV with only my neck elevated (Scotty, and before that, Kent), baby powder (Mr. The Budster), hiding sugar treats on the top shelf (because of Jiffer), noticing the dogs howling every time the sirens go off (Matt McMichaels) and no doubt other things the rest of you gave me.

However, one of the housemates most influential to my thought processes was Jon G. (or “noj”, as he is still known), whose loopy, absurd-yet-dead-on observations still stick with me, even though they were things he said offhandedly in 1994. I realized this today when Lucy jumped off the couch and yelled “GURGEN FLURGEN!” As far as I know, “gurgen flurgen” was noj’s catch-all phrase for whatever part of a sentence you couldn’t be bothered to say – or, better yet, used as sample conversation of some cretinous buffoon we’d had to endure. Anyway, I must have been using it for decades without noticing it had passed into my family’s lexicon, and now, proudly, on to Lucy.

There was also another bizarre story he’d told us about middle school – apparently he and a friend eliminated all the hard consonants from their speech for several weeks, rendering “I hope we can practice hoops after lunch” into “I hobe we gan bragdiss hoobz avder lunzhh.” I think they were actually sent to the principal because it was so unbelievably annoying. I can only hope Jon and Catherine’s kids are getting quality mileage out of these techniques.

However, the one that sticks with me most is this: he and another friend were talking about using the bathroom in somebody else’s house. His friend said, as a guy, you have aim your pee at the precise space in the toilet that is between the water and the rim of the bowl. Too close to the rim, and (as evidenced by any visit to a Chevron men’s room) we’re not that good at marksmanship. But you can’t pee straight into the water when you’re a guest, because the sound emanating from the bathroom is so heinous and uncouth. Thus we have to be very specific.

But, added Jon, guys always do the same thing when we’re at home, and why? Because WE’RE ALWAYS PRACTICING for the NEXT TIME WE HAVE TO PEE AS A GUEST.

All I can say is… that is something only noj could have thought of. And it is entirely true and I’ve thought about it whilst peeing for fifteen years.


Tessa’s shot about to go in over Jon, in the barn upstate March 2002

0 thoughts on “nothing says rich like swedes

  1. Lyle

    Already my nine-year-old and five-year-old boys care how their pee sounds and where it lands — however for them that means laughing hysterically when the pee sprays everywhere when they INTENTIONALLY leave the seat down and then proceed to spell as much of their names as possible with the pee stream. Fun with urine: Oy vey!
    Noj sounds like he makes a great spouse, roommate and dinner party guest — both pee-wise and conversationally. I hope my pee-spraying boys turn out like that in the long run.

  2. Bud

    I’m a regular user of nojisms. Since Purple House days I’ve often exclaimed “GLÜRGEN FLÜRGEN!” (note the extra L and the umlauts) and occasionally “JÜRGEN FLÜRGEN” to reference a specific (real or fictitious) individual.
    Strange how our personal quirks can transfer to others and live there even after we give them up. I haven’t used baby powder for years, but I’m kinda… touched to hear it’s still a factor with you, Ian.

  3. salem's Little Sister

    I too dry off in the shower and never knew everyone else didn’t. We had to growing up because our house was always so freezing ass cold.

  4. noj

    looove that some of this stuff lives on – still alive in my household, too.
    then there’s the “jews” and “steve” replacing “you” and “me” game e.g.
    I Want Jews To Want Steve
    or the “lung” replaces “love” game:
    Lung Me Do
    Lung Train
    Penny Lunger
    Lung Hurts
    Lung Removal Machine


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.