This is a story about Dad and Andreas.
First, Dad thought Andreas was a spy. Ken was an assassin and Andreas was a spy.
(Ken’s still “the assassin” but I don’t think he is AN assassin. I think it’s just Dad’s nickname for him. I’m pretty sure Dad doesn’t think Ken’s assassinating people. PRETTY sure, I said.)
Now Andreas is “that Finn” or “that man from the land of Finns” or “your friend from “FINN-LAYND” because it makes Dad laugh that I say Finland funny. HA HA DAD. So I guess he’s not a spy anymore, which is nice. Good job, Andreas, I’m glad you’ve moved up in Dad’s esteem. Or, I guess, if you really are a spy, you’ve fooled him. Either way: good job, you.
The other night, Dad had a STORY.
“I have a STORY!” Dad said. “Your friend in Fin-LAYND! He is in TROUBLE!”
“He is?” I said. “Well, I just talked to him today, and he seemed ok? But I guess you’d know better? I don’t know, have you been talking to Andreas while I was at work today?”
“He’s FILLED WITH RADIOACTIVITY! Tell him NOT TO EAT THE FISH!”
“What fish. Is he eating all the fish? What’s happening?”
“I just watched a DOCUMENTARY!”
“About Andreas? Well, crap, I can’t believe he was in a documentary and didn’t tell me. I’m so yelling at him the next time I talk to him.”
“SIGH SIGH SIGH. NO. About U-BOATS.”
“I’m…at a loss, frankly. What’s the connection?”
So Dad explained: he’d watched a documentary about this U-boat that sank in World War II off the coast of Finland and ran on radioactivity so has poisoned all the fish off the coast of Finland with radioactivity so no one in Finland should eat any fish.
“So tell your friend not to eat those Finnish fish. Or he will be like Spiderman. ALL RADIOACTIVE,” Dad said.
“I don’t know, Dad. I feel like Andreas would have told me this. Also, I think he likes fish, so this is a worry for me, frankly.”
“You ask your friend if he GLOWS IN THE DARK. You ask him if he can READ IN THE DARK WITHOUT A NIGHTLIGHT. Because he’s radioactive, get it?”
So I emailed Andreas about this but then we started talking about a billion other things and I never got an answer about this and the other things were totally interesting, it’s not like I was all mad about the lack of radioactivity discussion. That was Dad’s thing.
Then Dad was all, “WELL? What did you find out about your radioactive friend in the land of the Finns?”
“Oh, crap, Dad, he didn’t answer me. Sorry. We got to talking about other things and I forgot to follow up.”
“Well, THAT’S suspicious. Why’s he covering this up?”
“I don’t know if it’s so much a coverup. I think it’s more that we were talking about other things. It’s really not about the government. Promise.”
“IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT!”
So I emailed Andreas AGAIN about the fish thing. This time he answered me. (Seriously, he didn’t mean to not respond. We got to talking about other stuff. It happens.)
Oh yeah, I meant to answer the radioactive thing. I don’t glow in the dark, but I wouldn’t even if I had radiation poisoning. Obviously. Which I don’t.
“DAD. He was KIDDING. He has an EXCELLENT sense of humor. As you can see because of this joke. HE WAS KIDDING.”
“That is not funny. NOT FUNNY FINN FROM FINLAND. You need to tell him that is NOT FUNNY.”
“OK, I’ll tell him. But what’s the scoop on the U-boat? He’s never even HEARD of the U-boat.”
“That’s because it wasn’t even RADIOACTIVE. I never said it was RADIOACTIVE, Amy.”
“What? Of course you did. Because of the glowing.”
Then Dad told a whole NEW story, which was there was a German U-Boat in 1944 that he thought was called U-834 that was bringing mercury to Japan and it went down off the coast of Finland and was just recently discovered, leaking all the mercury into the waters of Finland. So all the fish were filled with mercury and no one should be eating the fish.
(He also kept picking on me about confusing radioactivity and mercury, but I still aver that he’s the one that was confused, because why would he have said Andreas was glowing in the dark if he’d been talking about mercury?)
“So maybe he doesn’t glow in the dark. THAT IS STILL NOT FUNNY. But tell him – you tell him – MAYBE HE IS A THERMOMETER.”
“Dad. He didn’t mean to personally offend you with the glow-in-the-dark comment, you know.”
“I don’t want to talk about that thermometer anymore.”
(Sorry, Andreas, you went from spy to Man from the Land of Finns to thermometer. I don’t know that this is an improvement as you are now an inanimate object.)
So then I researched this and Dad totally wasn’t making it up. Well, he got some major POINTS wrong, but there’s SOME truth to this.
There was a U-boat. It was actually U-864, but he was pretty close. It did go down (1945, close to 1944) and was just recently discovered.
However, one slight issue…
As you can see, Andreas’ Finland is on the right (hi, Andreas’ islands!) and Norway is on the left. NO, not ALL the way on the left, that’s Iceland. On the left as in on the other side of Sweden.
I mean, it’s all the same WATER but it’s pretty far AWAY from Andreas’ water.
I know they’re all in a clump but I think they’re different countries and I’m pretty sure if you call someone from Norway Finnish they’d probably give you a dirty look. (Would they, Andreas? They totally would, right?)
That’d be like someone from FINLAND calling us CANADIAN, Dad, just because we’re on the same CONTINENT. Would you like that, Dad? No you would NOT. (Dad yells at the poor Canadians a lot since he lives right next to the border. See, they drive like normal people? And drive normal speeds? And he drives slow like an old person? So they’ll pass him – as would I – and he’ll yell, “GO BACK TO CANADA YOU SPEED DEMON!” and then look at me all “That taught ‘em!” and I’ll just shake my head and laugh a little but also grip the handle on the door for my life. FOR MY VERY LIFE.)
So, in summation: yes, there was a U-boat; yes, it went down off A coast. Just not ANDREAS’ coast. So I think Andreas can eat his fish. And he is not really a thermometer. I’m pleased, I wouldn’t like Andreas to die of mercury poisoning. The internet tells me the symptoms of that are “sensory impairment (vision, hearing, speech), disturbed sensation and a lack of coordination,” (do you think I have mercury poisoning? I very often have a “disturbed sensation,” usually when I’m thinking about things and getting so pissed about them) damage to the brain, kidney and lungs, and something called “pink disease,” which sounds equal parts stylish and distressing.
Don’t get mercury poisoning, Andreas, I don’t even know how you look in pink.
(Also, side note, you’re not supposed to eat the fish from my Hudson River here for the same reason. Mercury poisoning. We’re all kinds of toxic around here.)
So it seems Andreas is safe. What will Dad call Andreas next? Stay tuned for the next installment of “Dad makes up names for Amy’s friends!” An ongoing serialized dramedy here on the old Football! Whoo-hoo!