Moving on from the weighty story of the rude lawyer who insulted morning television news anchor Jennifer Livingston — on a much lighter note there was the overlooked news involving a questionably more judicious use of a jurisprudent’s interaction with the fairer sex.
Finnish lawyer, Taisto Miettinen, with Kristiina Haapanen on his back, won the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland for the fourth time this past summer. Traversing hurdles and water, Miettinen ran a 250m obstacle course to win in just over a minute.
Yes, indeed, it’s an odd ‘sport’ that involves carrying one’s wife in a race, especially in the way apparently favored by most contestants. It’s no gentle piggyback ride. It’s upside down on the man’s back with the woman’s legs draped over his shoulders — not an especially comfortable or flattering ride for the spouses who sometimes wear bicycle helmets either to protect from falls or from bouncing hubby haunches.
It’s also a far cry from being proverbially carried over a threshold. And weight enters into it, too, along with beer, which like bacon apparently goes with everything. The winner’s prize is meted out via the better half’s weight in beer. Besides the beer and the glory, there’s also a cash prize.
As for the origins of competitive wife carrying, there are various supposed theories, including one involving Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, a 19th century Finnish robber who with his gang stole not only food but women from villages, carrying them off on their backs. The other explanation mentions a practice referred to as ‘wife stealing.’
But who can really say where wife carrying started? In the words of Terry Pratchett, “I don’t think I’ve drunk enough beer to understand that.”
In any event, the ‘sport‘ has also found footholds in many places around the world, including Hong Kong, Ireland and the United States where that same peripatetic Finnish couple entered the North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River in Maine.
Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen took 1st place in the Maine competition, which was held October 6th. Miettinen, who besides having won 11 medals in wife carrying, is also a competitive runner, swimmer and snowshoer. He is a credentialed economist and has authored a book on corporate tax law. Also see his homepage at Etusivu at http://taisto.net/Etusivu.php