Monday, January 05, 2009


I can’t believe how many opportunities have presented themselves, now that retirement is looming. Just the other day, a headline reading “Reality Show Seeks Norwegians” in the Fargo Forum fairly jumped off page 1 of the Metro/State section.

Here’s the the story: A Scandinavian television production company (the same company that produces Norway’s version of American Idol) is putting together a reality TV show in which “fun, outgoing Americans with Norwegian ancestry” compete in “extreme cultural challenges” for a prize of $50,000. According to the article, on a budget of $100 US per day, the contestants are given a variety of challenges, presenting opportunities to be “in a strange country doing foreign things.”

To be honest, I’ve been in a strange country doing foreign things before, and nobody was paying me $100 a day to do it. In fact, I believe I was the one paying $100 a day for the privilege of being lost, confused, culturally disadvantaged, and not speaking the language. That’s why this seems like an infinitely better way of traveling.

There are a few strings attached: 1) contestants must be of Norwegian heritage (any percentage will do); 2) contestants must never have visited Norway before; 3) contestants must be between the ages of 18 and 60; 4) and, of course, contestants must be fun and outgoing.

Am I perfect for this show or what? I am 100 percent Norwegian (all great grandfathers came over on the USS Krumkake in the 1800s). And although I’ve been to Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, I’ve never set foot in Norway. I am exactly 60 years old, just at the cut-off age—and I can fake being fun and outgoing during a 5-minute entry video and a half hour personal interview. (Actually, the fun and outgoing is kind of an oxymoron—a fun and outgoing Norwegian? Isn’t Norway the country that invented clinical depression?)

For anyone out there with a bit of Norwegian blood flowing in their veins, there’s a website that explains the contest rules: There are some forms to fill out and a video to shoot before January 25, the application deadline date. But I think I’ve got a shot at it.

My hidden advantage is that I can also speak a few words of Norwegian: Jeg er så glad hver Julekveld, ja, nei, tusen takk, vær så god, lutefisk, lefse, and ufdah (translated: I am so glad each Christmas Eve, yes, no, thank you very much, you’re welcome, stinky fish, potato tortilla, and oh crap).

Yes, I think I’ve got a shot at it.

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