“Crying Is Frowned upon in Reykjavík”—Letter to My Nine-Month Old Son


SKE English

                                                                                                           August 7th, 2019

Dear son,

If you are reading this, it is probably
too late.


Nonetheless, I must say what I must

To begin with, crying is frowned upon
in Reykjavík—as it is
looked down upon elsewhere—and
it is not,
even among the sissies, an accepted form of communication; if
the Poles can speak our language, so can you.

Second, if you cannot go into
the toilet, at least go in your diaper. Defecating in the
bathtub is unacceptable, especially if you are not its sole occupant
(also, excretion, one may argue, runs directly counter to the purpose
of bathing).

Third, it is unseemly: the expectation
of being carried around everywhere. Even the disabled get
around the best they can—without expecting gratuitous carriage from
the able-bodied.

Fourth, eat your food. I know I
once told you that it was just “edible sunlight,” but I realize
now that you have taken my chemical witticism as a gross
simplification. In Iceland, food doesn’t grow on trees. Nothing grows
here. Just the tumors.

Fifth, and finally, sleep is the single
most important aspect of health. Rebelling against it, every evening, so vigorously and so melodramatically, is in no one’s interest—least of all your own. 


PS: Try to comport yourself like a man. It is
embarrassing, being told, over and over again, by well-meaning
strangers, that one’s “daughter looks pretty.” I grow tired of redressing misconceptions.