Aligning yourself with good examples is not bad in itself, but our alignment was more angry, especially manifesting in glee if the Estonians did not succeed. Maybe because of that, or maybe for no reason anyway (although probably with a reason), we didn’t shy away from making fun of Estonians. If an Estonian crossed the road while you were driving a car, you are Finnish, we used to say, mocking the slowness of Estonians. We used to say that Estonia is the richest country in the world, because Estonians do not have time to spend their salaries. There are many anecdotes about the slowness of Estonians. But I found it more interesting that after telling a few such jokes to my Estonian friend, I got the answer that these jokes are not about them, but about Finns. It turns out that Estonians make fun of Finns’ slowness and make jokes about them.
When I asked the Estonians if they had any jokes about Lithuanians, I was told that they did not. True, later he remembered one. An Estonian comes to the doctor and says that he wants to become a Latvian. Then I’ll have to remove 50 percent of your brain, the doctor tells him. Est agrees. When he wakes up after the operation, the doctor regretfully tells him that he mistakenly removed not half, but three-quarters of the Estonian brain. Okay, okay, the Estonian answers in Lithuanian. So, a joke about Lithuanians was heard in Estonia, but it is just dust in space compared to how many anecdotes we have about them.
When I asked if they were as competitive with us everywhere as we were with them, I was again told no. We maybe looked a little more towards Latvia, they told me, but not much. We look more at those who are doing better, especially Finland, they said. Then I remembered another laugh. A plane is falling. The Ukrainian, Russian and Estonian people who are in it are offered to save themselves by parachute and take the most precious thing with them. A Ukrainian grabs a coat of bacon, a Russian grabs a bottle of vodka, and an Estonian grabs a Finn.
Just kidding, but I haven’t noticed such unhealthy comparisons in our media for several years, maybe even more. Either I’m dumb, or we’ve matured as a nation and started not looking at our neighbors, but rather taking care of our own backyard. Why did I even remember him? Because Estonia has become famous in the world again.