Markku Parviainen

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Old man

One Friday afternoon, when I was in my mid-twenties, I saw an old man approaching the same bus stop where I was. I thought the man looked familiar, and suddenly realized it was one of my friends from school.

Actually, we weren’t friends. He was one of the kids who bullied me when I was a child. He came closer, and all the memories of name-calling and poking fun of me came alive again.
He didn’t recognize me, but I could always remember his face. I started to watch him more closely, and holy shit, he looked 20 years older than me and was in horrible shape. He was shaking, and I could smell alcohol of him.

First, I felt happy. He looked bad.
You got what you deserved. Then I started to think. What about his life? What had happened to him? It seemed that he hadn’t had an easy life, and most likely he will suffer more. And here I was, a successful top-ranking athlete, with great body and my future looked bright. Perhaps I should feel sorry for him, be a bigger man and let my hate go.

No, I didn’t hate him anymore, but I didn’t feel sorry for him either. If I am frank, I felt happy because he had not had a good life.What does that tell about me?

I don’t know, but he made my life a living hell.

Women and me

Now, going back to the memory lane, there is one more kind of funny story. This time, we were in Turkey, Ankara, for another sporting event.

This time, I was in the hallway of the competition venue and very distinguished looking gentleman with a beautiful young woman beside him stopped me and said: “Excuse me, Sir I am a doctor (I can’t remember his name), and here is my daughter and she would like to have dinner with you.

When would that suit you?

Again, red face, with my voice shaking I said: “I am sorry, but I don’t have time right now, I have to go and meet with our coach”.

I ran, again.

What a moron I was; all the lost opportunities and gorgeous women.
Damn, I remember another moment where I made a total fool of myself. I was on my way to the north by train, and I was waiting at the railway station. Suddenly, I saw one woman I met before when I was studying to become an instructor.

When she recognized me, her eyes went wide, and she gave me a hug. She said I looked great and I could only agree. I had a white blazer jacket, black trousers, and black shoes. I looked great, you know old “Miami Vice” style from the eighties.

Quite fast, we understood that we were going on the same train, and we decided to sit together. I was witty, charming and frankly speaking, I was just irresistible (but I didn’t know it at that time).

The sun started setting, and suddenly, she asked where I was planning to sleep, and as idiotic as I was, I said I will stay here and just study more. Then she suggested that she had her own cabin and I could just sleep there.

Again, as a true idiot, I refused and thanked her. She said goodnight and left. Suddenly, I realised what just happened! A beautiful woman asked me to sleep in the same cabin with her and I declined.

I was King of the idiots.

Car troubles

Sometimes, I wonder how we survived without any serious accidents when we were kids. Here is one example. I remember when we bought our first car. Now, mind you. We were a group of kids aged 14-15, and one of us got a brilliant idea about buying a car together.

Of course, it wasn't legal because the owner of the car must be at least 18 years old, but we knew a junkyard where they were ready to be flexible with the law if you bring some cash.

We got our car, and it was a piece of shit, but we didn't mind. We had a car! Our rules were simple. When we went to the city, then the biggest kid was the driver (of course, he had a pillow under his butt when he drove).

We drove everywhere. But we tried to avoid areas where traffic was heavy, and we drove mostly on smaller roads. We had a great time, no crashes, no accidents, but eventually, we had to get rid of the car. We just didn't have enough money for gas and oil.

We went back to the junkyard and sold it back to the dealer for half the initial price. We were pissed off about price, and at that moment, we thought of coming back at night to burn the place down.

Thank God we didn't do that.

Mad teacher

Let's talk about cruel kids again. I remember when kids from our class drove our teacher to a mental hospital. I don't recall all the details anymore. It was over 40 years ago. But I think you will get a picture of how fucked up we were.

I remember that teacher had a military background, and he tried to be strict with us, but frankly speaking, numbers were just on our side. We just outnumbered him.

We didn't show any mercy. Whenever we met him, we made fun of him, how he looked, his clothes, how he spoke, just anything that might hurt him. Eventually, it was too much for him.

The last stroke came during a lunch break. One of the kids went and spat on his plate, and the next kid did the same thing and then another kid. The teacher ignored everything and just continued eating. He started crying but kept on eating.

Everyone was stunned. Finally, the school principal came and took him away.

We never saw him again.


It’s strange. When I think about my childhood, I mostly remember bad things more vividly than all the good things. My father was an alcoholic, and my parents divorced when I was 7 years old.

My stepbrother shot himself, and I was bullied in school for the first 3 years (I just like to set a stage). The area where we lived with my younger brother and my mother was very poor, mostly working-class people. Most of my friends’ parents were divorced, and we kind of understood each other.

It was common to see our fathers come home drunk like hell, and we, as kids, thought that was just normal with every family.

Hell, now when I think about it, it’s a miracle that so many of us are still alive today. Some have died due to drugs and alcohol consumption, some committed suicide later in life.

Perhaps I was the lucky one?

When I wrote the poem “My son”, I was just thinking about my own childhood and what I had to go through. Unfortunately, I can see so much about myself when I look at my older son.
He is smart, shy, and has an explosive temper.

So he is screwed.

Ok, perhaps, I am overdramatic. He has a safe childhood, and he has both parents with him all the time, and I try to be a good father to him. I won’t repeat the same mistakes as my own father did with us.
Sometimes, I just hate my father and wonder why he couldn’t be there for us.

So FUCK YOU and Thank God you stayed away from us.

Shy boy

As a child and teenager, even in my early twenties, I was painfully shy, and that made my life so much more difficult with girls. Thankfully, some girls felt I was attractive enough, or they just felt sorry for me, so I could get some dates.

I remember there was Elin (not her real name), we went jogging every evening. She was a beautiful woman with a stunning body, but I just couldn’t make any moves toward her because of my shyness. Fortunately, she saw through me, and one evening when we met outside for jogging, she casually took out a bottle of wine and suggested if we skip our workout, and go to her place.

Holy Moses! I couldn’t believe my luck. Free wine, a beautiful young woman, and she took matters into her own hands.
With a shaky voice, I said yes, and we went to her apartment.
We drank all the wine and we didn’t sleep until morning. (I am a gentleman, so I don’t go into details)

There is another funny moment I will always remember. We were in Barcelona attending one big sporting event. (I was a member of our national team) One day, I had to go back to the hotel to get some rest, and I had to take the underground train, and in tunnel towards train station, I saw a big group of beautiful Spanish women and I had to go through them to catch my train.

I walked forward and muttered, “excuse me,” and when I had passed the group, I suddenly started hearing loud whistling. The idiot as I was, I turned around and realised that the women were whistling at me!
Those women started applauding loudly, and I became red (and I mean RED) in my face. They began laughing and cheering more.

I ran so fast I almost got a heart attack.