Memory is silly. Crap lodges in our brains for no apparent reason and which gives us exactly zero benefit in how we live our lives in the present. Anyone who has ever been drunk at a party and argued over details from the 80s television footnote Small Wonder can attest to this. You know who you are and you know the parties at which we've argued. With the beginning of
Finland's aerodynamic native son
My interest in all things Scandinavian had little to do with vikings or gravlax, but grew out of an admiration for the quick, precise finesse play of certain hockey players. This was a bittersweet obsession. As Europeans entered the NHL in greater numbers in the early and mid-1980s via
Anders Kallur: Penalty Killing Viking
So, I was thinking, "What has Matti been up to?" Is there Finnish reality television programming which has him living in a house with the Finnish Flaavii Fläv, hilariously negotiating how their respective dried up fame translates to a division of labor on the chore wheel? Or maybe he's retired to his hometown of Jyväskla and is raising a family is relative, hearthside peace and quiet.
WRONG! It wasn't enough for him to be the greatest ski jumper of all time and go into coaching or attending fan conventions wearing his four gold medals and signin autographs. Nope.
Sure it's cliché, but he had to beat his wife...well wives and be a drunk. To be fair, he did throw in being a male stripper for good measure.
Like many who rose to meteoric fame, he ended up stabbing a friend in the back. Except he did it literally. And twice. And used a 5-inch blade. Oops. Don't worry, he's no punk-ass OJ. He served 11 months of a 26-month jail sentence.
Finally, and most egregiously, there was the siren song of pop. Perhaps it was the language barrier or simply hubris, but he couldn't look to
Samurai: On eighty-four Top 10 Lists for 1993
Among his more insightful and poetic lyrics are the sexually charged, "Hai! Hai! Hai! I am your samurai!" and the starkly introspective "Vain mäkimies voi tietää sen" ("Only a ski jumper truly knows"). It must be lonely, Matti. It must be lonely.