Secret Pop

Nov 4, 2006

The cream on the mashed potatoes.

A few weeks ago, Sarah and Paul were in Anaheim and wanted to visit Disneyland, so I drove down to shepherd them around on a Saturday night. It would have been much more fun had it not been Gay Days. Not because we have any problem with gay people, make no mistake. But because I have never been to Disneyland that late at night and seen it that crowded. As a result, we didn't really get to do much but wait in line and elbow our way through red-shirted crowds. But we still had a good time. And while we were waiting in line for Space Mountain, Paul was teaching me some of the idioms that the Swedes have that approximate ours. For instance, where we would say "bite the bullet" to reference the act of enduring something painful or unpleasant, Swedes would say the equivalent of "bite the sour apple." And where we might call it "icing on the cake" when something great comes after something already very good, Swedes would call that the "cream on the mashed potatoes." I love this. And I loved the fact that, even after our somewhat stressful Disneyland visit, Paul sent me a lovely email and told me that I was in fact the cream on the mashed potatoes.

While I'm on this language instruction kick, here are some additional Swedish idioms you can use at your leisure or when you're hanging out with Paul.

"The important thing [here] is to get away alive."
Det gäller att klara sig undan med livet i behåll.
It shrieks to clear one self out of the road with the waist intact.

To totally abandon someone.
Lämna någon vind för våg.
Leave someone wind by wave.

A cheerful expression of surprise.
Hej hopp i blåbärsskogen!
Hello, jump in the blueberry forest!

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen.
Better a bird in your hand than ten in the woods.

"Don't count your chickens until they hatch."
Ropa inte hej förräns du är över bäcken.
Don't yell hi until you're over the stream.

A party that got out of hand.
Det var ett riktigt sjoslag.
It was a real sea-battle.

"You're in deep shit now."
Nu är det kokta fläsket stekt.
Now the boiled pork is fried.

"Run like hell."
Lägga benen på ryggen.
Put your legs on your back.

To make things worse
Att lägga lök på laxen
To put onion on the salmon

"Calm down."
Kiss och gå lägg dig!
Pee and go lie down!

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
Det är skönt med den goa värmen, sa kärringen när stugan brann.
It is nice with the heat, said the old woman when the house was on fire.

"Now, you've done it!"
Nu har du trampat i klaveret.
Now you have stepped into the accordion!

To come into a lot of money
Lägga rabarber på klöver.
Lay down rhubarbs on clover.

Talking nonsense
Han pratar i nattmössan.
He is talking in his nighthat.

"Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades."
Nära är bara bra med en atombomb.
Close is only good with an A-bomb.

"Good gracious!"
Milda makter!
Mild forces!

"It doesn't work."
Den är paj.
It's pie.

"Fat chance!"
Inte en sportmössa!
Not a sportscap!

"You'r talking out of your ass."
Nu är du ute och cyklar.
Now you are out and cycling.

"Caught with his pants down"
Med skägget i brevlådan
With his beard in the mailbox

"No kidding!"
Dra mig på en tallpinnevagn.
Drag me on a pine-twig wagon.

"You've really made a fool of yourself."
Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet.
Now you've shit in the blue cupboard.

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