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By Darrell Jackson

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With the com­ puter at home, it was possible to stay up all night with it. Every boy stays up "reading" Playboy under the bedcovers. But instead of reading Playboy I would fake sleeping, wait for Mom to go away, jump up and sit in front of the computer. This was before the era of chatrooms . "Linus, it's food time! " Some of the time you don't even come out . Then your mother starts telling her journalist friends that you are such a low-maintenance child that all she has to do to keep you happy is store you in a dark closet with a computer and occasion­ ally throw in some dry pasta.

Farfar died five years ago. Okay: I've never read any of his books . It's a fact that my father points out to total strangers. Journalists are everywhere in my family. Legend has it that 14 j u s t fo r F u n one of my great-grandfathers, Ernst von Wendt, was a journalist and novelist who was on the White side and arrested by the Reds during the Finnish Civil War that followed our independence from Russia in 1 9 1 7 . (Okay. I never read his books , either, and am told . ) My father, Nils (known to everyone as Nicke), is a television and radio j ournalist who was active in the Communist Party since he was a college student in the 1 960s.

I don't think it's any big deal. In remote locales babies are born in 31 saunas-the only places with hot water-and that's where you go to die, according to some traditions. These rules don't apply to my family, by the way, which has a laid-back approach to the whole thing . There are other traits that distinguish Finns from other members ofthe human species. For example, there's this silence tradition. Nobody talks much . They just sort of stand around not saying anything. This is another rule that doesn't apply to my fam­ ily, which I will generously describe as "offbeat.

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23 Internet Myths Exposed by Darrell Jackson


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