Are Norwegian jokes part of your family gatherings? I grew up in an interesting culture. I’m third generation Canadian, but my grandparents were raised as Scandinavians in Canada. We tell a lot of specific jokes.
Because my grandparents were Scandinavian I believed I was Scandinavian too. In fact, it took me actually going to Norway to realize I wasn’t actually Norwegian, but Canadian.
I know, right?
But the thing is, when you’re told your whole life you are something, you believe it. In my case, it was Norwegian. It was also Lutheran. These were the things that defined me when I was young and it seeped into everything we did at home and church. In life really. It was awesome. A lot of fun. But I like what I’ve become too.
If my Grandpa Roste had been alive at my wedding he would’ve given me some good old Mid-Western American Norwegian Lutheran marriage advice. In the form of what we call Norwegian jokes.
This marriage advice is from the perspective and experience of Ole (the Norwegian) and Lena (the Swede) of course.
Norwegian jokes AKA marriage advice
Here’s what my grandfather probably would’ve told me, if he had been alive when I got married.
Ole and Lena had been married seven years. Lena was getting worried that Ole might be getting the seven year itch. She thought he was cheating on her. Lena says to Ole “You never tell me you love me. Is there someone else?”
Ole replies “When we got married I told you I loved you. If I ever change my mind I’ll let you know.”
Lar’s friend Ole stopped by for a visit one day. “How’s it going vit your marriage, Ole? Is da honeymoon over yet?”
“Vell, da marriage is doing fine.” said Ole. “And Lena she treats me yust like a Greek god.”
“Dat’s great,” said Lars. “How do you get treated like a Greek God, Ole?”
“Vel, you see, Lars, every night da wife serves me a BURNT OFFERING!” replied Ole.
Ole and Lena got married. On their honeymoon trip they were nearing Minneapolis when Ole put his hand on Lena’s knee. Giggling, Lena said, “Ole, you can go a little further now if you want to”…so Ole drove to Duluth.
I know, right? And yet…that’s my grandpa. I don’t know how many times I heard him tell these jokes over the years but I never tired of them. Even thought they’re SO lame. Groaners. Yeah, I love Norwegian jokes.
My new husband was not raised in this culture, so he doesn’t really “get” a lot of what goes on when the Sven and Ole jokes start coming and the “uff dahs” and “you betchas” start sneaking out. Actually he looks kind of terrified when it happens.
I don’t mind because I know how culture-specific all this stuff is, and that it’s an acquired taste…like lutefisk. It’s interesting that these things which defined who I was growing up are no longer a part of my reality.
It makes me curious to know what my new reality will be, now that I seem to be making new definitions.
More about me
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