Only in Europe

Letters from Iceland (Saturday, May 13)

Two stories that have nothing to do with anything or each other.

First a little television.

Last night, there was a commercial from Great Britain that began with a boy, around 10, rooting around in the family attic. He pulled out a box and discovered inside a stack of papers, paraphernalia, pictures, and a watch, too big to wear, which he wore anyway. He then ran downstairs and asked his mother, “What was dad like, mum?”

“Your father,” she says, grabbing his hand, surprised by the question, “was big and cuddily and he had coarse hands, unlike your smooth ones,” she says lovingly.

The camera then follows them out of their house — we don’t know where they’re going — and the kid asks, “What else, mum?”

“He was great with the ladies, he’d smile, they always smiled back,” just as some school girls walk by. The boy smiles at them. They ignore him.

He’s invisible.

The mother and son stop to watch a neighborhood football match.

“And your father was a great football player, he was captain of his team,” just as an errant soccer ball winds up at the boy’s feet. He tries kicking it back by whiffs on it badly, falling backwards in the process.

“Did he have blue eyes?” asks the boy, as we see them walking.

“No, brown.”

The kid is crestfallen, he doesn’t feel like he measures up. He doesn’t measure up.

We then see the two of them at at lunch.

“But you’re dad always ordered that,” the mother says. You can see the kid light up behind a fish sandwich.

“Really?” he says smiling.

“Yes, and that always happened, too,” she says, near tears. There’s a dollop of tartar sauce on his chin.

The screen fades to black to reveal a … McDonald’s logo.

It was a fucking McDonald’s commercial. An ad about a family without a father, a son without an identity, and a mother with all the wrong answers.

Someone thought this was a good idea.

It oddly was.


As for the photo above, tonight at Hamborgarafabrikkan (Hamburger Factory) — where Melissa ordered a burger with salsa, chips, and guacomole on top — the waiter, after literally putting two hands on a drunk’s chest and pushing him out of the restaurant, brought Melissa the above for her birthday.

Her birthday was in December.

“I came all the way to Iceland for a Mexican hamburger. I don’t want to go back to reality.”

Oh, yeah, this happened, too, today.

America, Trump, tweets seemed very far away.

P.S. We just found Law & Order on Icelandic television.

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