Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Your temperament's wrong for the priesthood

Today is a happy day for me. Today I did not have breast cancer. Since November I have been sure I had it but this turned out to be a false alarm. Thankfully. Before walking into the cancer diagnosis centre I made a pact with myself – if they tell me I have it I will walk out of this building a non-smoker. If they tell me I don‘t I am going to buy a gym membership and become a fitness addict. Tomorrow is Thursday. My deadline is the end of the week. By then I must have become a fitness addict. I don‘t want to jinx my luck. If one makes a self-pact one must stick to it.  

I have no idea what this new status entails. Gyms and sneakers are not my thing. But this like other things can change. I think.

When you live in a small country it is easy to become famous. The flip side is that it is also easy to become infamous. One such person is Iceland‘s original „flugdólgur“ – flybully – a term used to describe passengers that repeatedly act up when on-board an airplane, usually intoxicated.

This man was infamous, even before he became synonymous with air-rage. Were he alive today he would be approximately 70 but his lifestyle was not to be synced with old age. He was extremely smart and despite becoming a heavy drinker quite young he managed to get into the dentistry department of the University of Iceland, much to the chagrin of the professors and other university staff. His classmates were no less annoyed but not because of his personality or his drinking. They were pissed because the university was so set on getting rid of him that they kept making the exams harder in harder in the hope that he would fail and get kicked out. But he never did. The rest yes but not him. He drank like a sailor and missed half of the classes but always made top grades. Enter infamy.

While at university this future flybully travelled around the countryside in summer under the pretence of being a fish-inspector. At the time fishing was the main industry in most towns and everyone intent on making sure the fish-inspector remained a happy camper. So he went from town to town, drinking, eating and sleeping for free – giving the local fish a passing grade before heading off to the next town.

After graduation as a dentist he began to practice and is believed to have been drunk most of the time – at work and off. His patients did not mind as his dentist work was impeccable. I somehow cannot imagine him giving lectures about the virtues of flossing and using a soft toothbrush - maybe the main reason for his popularity. I would consider going to a drunk dentist if I got to skip that bit. But for whatever reason no one lodged a complaint to the health officials so he was left in peace to continue his non-stop partying while drilling. It was only when he killed a woman that he lost his licence.

She was not a patient but a guest at one of his weekend parties. She had too much to drink and he decided to revive her by taking her downstairs where his office was situated. Hooking her up to laughing gas he went back upstairs to refresh his drink and then forgot all about her. So while the other guest and their host chatted and drank the night away the woman died from laughing gas poisoning of some sort. He never went to prison as the death of the woman was accidental, but bye-bye licence to practice dentistry. So he took up air-raging. Even before it had been defined and given a name. He might actually have been a pioneer in this respect. To honor his infamy status the dentist in the play "Little Shop of Horrors" is named after him in the Icelandic translation.

When my sister and her husband bought their house they ended up as his neighbours. On the balcony was a dentist chair occasionally used by his wife/girlfriend for sun-bathing. I am almost certain it was the same chair in which the woman died. Why buy a new one when you have lost your licence?
Another Icelandic airline passenger has now become infamous. World over. He drank too much – a bottle of spirits according to his fellow passengers and not one of those miniatures. After hitting out at the people sitting next to him and running up and down the aisle yelling  about a doomsday crash the crew stepped in and shut him up. And kept him from running around. With duct tape. Score one for the crew - crafty and no nonsense.

I am so happy to not have breast cancer. Looking at the photo I must say that I am equally happy not to be alcoholic. I travel too much and take too many flights. Never would I want to end up like this. It is bad enough not being able to get back into one's shoes upon landing. Can you imagine the pain when they ripped the tape off? Bet he did not have to shave for a week.

Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. Terrific news, Yrsa! God bless you. And in celebration of your good news I join in your vow to work out every day...without any smoke breaks.

    By the way, when I saw the photo of ducktape dick on the front page of the NY POST I thought of sending it to you, but thought it might seem like piling-on. Little did I know he was only following in the footsteps of a national legend.

  2. I am very happy for you: so often the things we dread never happen. It would be nice if we remembered that each time the unknown plows into our lives.
    Working out isn't likely to be anywhere on my agenda but maybe I should try to cut back on coffee.


  3. Yrsa, I can't wait for regular updates on your fitness regimen!

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  5. Yrsa, so glad to hear that your health news was good! I'm back on the fitness regimen after four months off with a screwed-up arm (not from working out, long story!). I'm enjoying the workouts; hope you do too!

  6. Great to hear your news. I have that naughty little cancer gene - which is good in a way as the health service in this country fast tracks me for any wee bumps and lumps. But anybody sitting in that waiting room knows that it's a lottery. Some will be lucky. Some not.

    Do you not have a midnight marathon in Iceland... always good to have a goal for the fitness regime.......???? Only 26 miles....?

  7. Great news! Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Wonderful news. The waiting to hear is the worst. I think there is a story here -- the bargaining aspect as you wait.

  9. So glad the news was good!