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The Fairly Tragic Story of Finland’s “Bjorn Bjork”

Story ID:8809
Written by:John Ward (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Biography
Location:Oulu Finland
Person:Bjorn Bjork
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Bjorn Bjork, was born in Finland in November 1866 and has become known as Finland’s most revered author, with books like: “I am Unhappy Snow,” “My Favorite Color is Clear” and “I Will Not Hang Myself Today” amongst others, Bjorn Bjork showed the world that not all Finns are humorless and dull.

Bjork’s Father was a Lutheran Minister and every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday he would pound the pulpit often evicting hordes of woodlice which would stream into the congregation. He would liken the infestation to the biblical plagues, insisting they were another miracle from God urging his congregation to adopt self-flagellation as penance.

Bjorn spent a great deal of time watching his father browbeating his congregation and learned expressions like “Yordle-yordle” which means “Hell-bound” and “Fresno Pacoima Poughkeepsie” which means “We are all going to burn!”

Because of the natural Finnish abhorrence of anything pleasurable, Bjorn’s mother had only one child and that was still-born. Carl Jung later speculated that it was this experience that made her more nurturing than the average Finnish mother. In fact, at a civil trial brought by a neighbor who thought Bjorn had chuckled at him, housemaid Brunshooeh Quagmire testified in court that Bjorn’s mother touched him on the head twice; once when he was deathly ill and once by mistake when she thought he was the family pet. On one occasion she actually smoothed his pillow before he went to bed. So it is evident that Bjorn enjoyed much more maternal attention than most ordinary Finnish boys.

Growing up in Oulu, Finland was not easy for Bjorn and after an unrequited love affair with a disoriented “Lap” dancer from Lapland; Bjorn spent several years in a small, but charming asylum in Reykjavik. He was sent away because his depression had caused him to run through the streets of Oulu lifting women’s skirts and whistling the Finnish National Anthem Maamme, (known to Swedes as “Vart Land”) to their exposed private regions.

His father was at a loss to explain why his prayers and those of his congregation were not able to restore Bjorn’s mind. The embarrassment of this theological inadequacy was too much for Minister Olie Bjork and he sent Bjorn away.

After a brief twelve years of electroshock therapy Bjorn was released and began writing of his experiences in Iceland, but found that his countrymen could not have cared less about Iceland. As a result many of his works about Iceland have been lost, but a few still remain. Written in hieroglyphics (a side effect of the electroshock therapy) with a number two pencil, these works are archived in the Snoolerpop Institute in Reykjavik and, we are told, will never see the light of day.

Luckily his writings about Finland are available and may be rented from the Helsinki Library if you are a foreigner and borrowed if you have at least 75% Finnish blood in your veins. There is a small booth at the entrance to the library where this blood test is available for 27 Finnish Marks.

Bjorn Bjork’s writing influenced many writers of the day. Luminaries like Antrel Gyorne and Mabarline Foo were heavily influenced by Bjorn’s enigmatic prose. In fact Harlonde Curieltoc once noted: “The enigmatic style of Bjorn Bjork, influences heavily.” Although he was considered an idiot all through Finland Curieltoc made a very salient point, especially when it became apparent that Bjorn’s writing was both enigmatic and influential. For a week Finns saw Harlonde Curieltoc with new eyes, but that changed when he filed a petition to marry a chicken.

Cantaloupe Gustavansenson credits his “Elegy on Country Snow” to Bjorn Bjork and allows that his famous Scandinavian Saga called: “The Famous Scandinavian Saga” was heavily influenced by Bjork’s popular children’s book “How A Wolf Will Eat Your Face.”

His next book “My Rush At A Wall” was written so enigmatically as to be incomprehensible to most Finns, but became Bjork’s best seller because almost every Finn bought the book, thinking it would impress visiting company. I myself have a copy of Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake” on my Mantel for just such a purpose.

His publisher misunderstood the popularity of Bjork’s book and encouraged him to write his next book in Pig-Latin. “I-whay ooday ooyay aaflay, astardbay?” or “Why do you laugh, Bastard?” was written in accordance with his publisher’s wishes and flopped miserably.

For several years after, it seemed no-one was interested in Bjork’s writing, then, as if by some miracle Bjork’s father died from spontaneous combustion. Suddenly Oulu experienced two emotions at once – confusion and relief. Finns had never experienced a mix of emotions before, but sympathy fell on Bjorn Bjork just as he was completing his 47th work entitled “My Father Will Live Forever – Damn It.”

The book was a success, second only to “My Rush At A Wall.” The cognoscenti came out of the woodwork, where they had taken up residence during the winter months, and lauded the work. Glitterati like Gleeb Fellinwok, Anshisto Trimblic, Warnholt Farbweeber and Finland’s most celebrated woman writer Guar Holmenschtuffen all rallied to their fellow writer and tried to get some of the reflected glory.

Bjorn Bjork was ecstatic and due to his new-found fame met a woman amongst the crowd of well-wishers. Magdal Boilingstrupp was an avid Bjork fan and had been since she had read Bjork’s twelfth children’s book: “All Animals Are Dead and Rotting” to her son from a previous marriage: Lutefisk. Lutie had slept very quietly after she read how all animals are really dead zombies and Magdal was very grateful for the peace.

Wedding plans were soon in the air and after an appropriate period of time, seven years in Finland, the couple wed and as the wedding bell tolled and the minister said the final Finnish wedding phrase: “Now, if you really must, you may touch the bride’s sleeve” a cheer broke from the crowd of well wishers; only a single cheer because there is an exponential tax on any cheer exceeding one in Finland.

It was at this time that Bjorn wrote, not his best work, but definitely his most romantic work. In fact, it was hailed as the most romantic book in Finland for two entire days. Inspired by his marriage Bjorn wrote the tome: “I Never Knew What That Was For.”

The Bjork household never knew the thrilling sound of children running in terror, because, as friend and confidant Klo Olafson said: “He still doesn’t know what that is for.”

Bjorn Bjork, Finland’s most influential writer, died peacefully while being driven to church on Sunday Morning. It was January 1907 and Bjorn’s carriage was being drawn by an inexperienced colt called Shoofie. The bridge ice caused Shoofie to slip and after a complete 360 degree skid, Shoofie dropped the cab onto the Oulujoki river ice below. Bjorn left his brain on the surface ice of the Oulujoki. All agreed: that was exactly where he would have wanted to leave it.