1. Norway: the supreme “it” (Norway is Norway, as you out there, who read this faithfully, already know).
  2. Finland: the almost “it” (as a refugee, 20 years ago I ended up in DK, even though I came to Scandinavia on a false visum to Finland. Goddamn the Geneva convention. They stopped me at the gate to Helsinki).
  3. Denmark: the “it” that enabled the discovery of the supreme “it” and the eternal return to Finland - almost making “it” – I now take short trips to Finland some 5 times a year, which means that I can't say a single bad word about Denmark, a country that educates me, hosts me, and employs me well enough to be able to afford both Norway and Finland, even though, in truth, everyday I think of ditching the good will of good Danish people, sell everything and buy a hut à la Wittgenstein in Norway and move there for good – well, perhaps a hut with slightly better amenities (I'm at the point in my life where, after having received some and having given some back, I'm tired).

A flash of emotion connected to the 1,2,3s above went through me today on the plane back from Finland, where I indulged in my pet projects that I do con amore and that only the initiated ones know about – I mean, I discovered that I didn't have a problem rising to the task of delivering a “very very inspiring and clever paper,” as several people had it, and answering the expectation that I be a bona fide Nietzsche expert – which I'm not – rather, an impostor, but then again, you can always fool people especially if you've read everything that's relevant to read.

Although clutching the conference poster that has the image of Nietzsche as a cowboy on it, and which was done in honor of my Americanism, I caught a glimpse of an elderly man in a seat two rows in front of mine. I thought I saw the Finnish philosopher Jaako Hintikka, whom I had just thought about in connection with a description of him given by the writer Guy Davenport in his book The Hunter Gracchus: “Jaako Hintikka: philosopher and critic of Wittgenstein. In private life a reindeer.” I thought I felt an instant connection with the life and times of Hintikka as a reindeer, but no, I was ever so mistaken. I was the hunter, not the reindeer. My fingers almost punctured the Nietzsche poster, as I grabbed it even tighter and swung it over the other seats like an arrow. Hintikka was going to sign it. Or so I thought, until the man in front of me turned his head and I could see that he was another. Oh, the man you want is never there! Save for Nietzsche. He was there, incubated, as my friend Rainer Hanshe proposed in his intelligent and original talk. Yes, I thought to myself, tired or not, there'll always be something that will make us jump in our seats. I went to Finland for Rainer and Nietzsche and Finland itself, and I almost also made “it” - the jump on Hintikka's reindeer back. Vaya con Dionysos, Rainer said to me upon departure, which made me forget how old I was.


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