So I have been reading Andrus Kivirähk's Ivan Orava mälestused või helesinised mäed -- a faux memoir of a fictional elder Estonian who remembers the day when young lovers would gather at the home of President Konstantin Päts to play billiards and celebrate their honeymoons.
Even though my Estonian skills aren't up to the task, I bought a handy dictionary to help guide the way. I figured that it would be an excellent opportunity to build my vocabulary while enjoying Kivirähk's absurd humor. So, of course I was the idiot on the Tallinn-Tartu bus trying to contain my laughter as I read about Johannes Lauristin and his golden egg-laying dog. I almost wanted to turn to the button-down Estonian student beside me, her face buried in her mobile phone, and say "hey, this Kivirähk is some funny shit."
At the Lennart Meri Conference I saw Andrus' older brother, Juhan, who is something of political analyst sans absurd humor. I wanted to grab him by the arm too and talk about the tallalakkuja (bootlicking) Leopold Pakt, the imaginary third cosignatory to the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop-Pakt, but I had a feeling if there was one made-up historical figure he did not wish to discuss, it was the lipitseja (brown-noser) Leopold Pakt.
Tallalakkuja and lipitseja are indeed useful words, but some of the other ingredients in this modern-day Tammsaare's vocabulary are less useful. One such word was 'porihing.' I consulted my dictionary and even the excellent aare.pri.ee dictionary, but there was no definition. Finally, minu kallis naine informed me that it was a made-up fusion of 'pori' (dirt) and 'hing' (soul). Literally, dirtsoul.
I am unsure of what I will do with this potent Kivirähkism for the time being. But rest assured, I will make good use of porihing before the month is out!