"I don't know!" By Daniel Nest

I moved to Denmark from Ukraine at the age of 14. I spoke no Danish at the time, because Russian and Danish languages are a bit different. Shocking, I know.

I did learn one phrase though. That phrase was “Det ved jeg ikke”, Danish for “I don’t know”. From that point on I used that phrase liberally to get out of all conversations. I was exactly 4% more eloquent than Hodor from "Game Of Thrones", who only ever says “Hodor”.

One day I was on a bus, when a kindergarten teacher with 10 children in tow got on. She took all the kids to the back of the bus where I sat and started talking to me.

I countered with my perfectly rehearsed “Det ved jeg ikke”.

Suddenly, the woman looked very upset and, in an angry voice, said “Det VED du ikke?!” (“du” = “you”).

I shook my head “no”, puzzled by her violent reaction to my poor Danish skills. How could I have upset her so much with my limited vocabulary?

Then she grabbed one of the kids, sat down sulkily next to me, and plopped the kid onto her lap. She kept glancing at me and shaking her head in frustration.

It was only after a few stops that I’d managed to piece the puzzle together in my head. She must have asked me whether I could move to another seat, so that she could sit down together with all the kids. When I said “I don’t know” she heard “I WILL not“.

Fun fact: “vil” (will) and “ved” (know) sound remarkably similar.

So I have effectively told her and the kids to go screw themselves.

Class act, Daniel.

in Copenhagen, Denmark


A Ukrainian guy who lives in Denmark and runs an English humour blog: Nest-Expressed.com.

I also freelance. You can find my work on Cracked.com, Listverse.com, TopTenz.net and other places online.

See Daniel's profile.

Daniel's website.


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