Behind The Design: Ei Tartte Auttaa Perkele

"Ei Tartte Auttaa Perkele"-design may seem like a darker piece when you first look at it and mainly cause it has a figure that looks like he is about to lose his mind. And in a way he is but only through this inner struggle Finnish people have when it comes to receiving help from other people. We are very much aware many Finns while reading this might think "these people have no clue what they are talking about" but deep inside they know exactly what we are talking about.

This design was particularly a fun one to do as it’s all about the stubbornness of Finnish people. Well I am sure this applies to people in general as well but speaking as a native Finn I know for sure our stubbornness is like our country, one of a kind.

By default Finnish people feel they don’t need help with anything. If you happen to stumble on a Finn in “need of help” and offer to help, you will most likely get “No no I am all good thank you”. You move along but hear the Finn murmuring something behind you. What is that murmur you will never know but most likely it's Finn murmuring “Do I look like I need help perkele grr” or something of the sort. You need to understand that to a Finn it’s almost like a sign of weakness to need help.

Now this is where it gets complicated. While we seem we don’t need help with anything, we do. We just don’t want to show that we do. But if the Finn is already doing something you can pretty safely assume help won’t be accepted. However if the help is offered based on a conversation or something but it’s done before, you might just get lucky. Like over a conversation such as “Yeah I am planning to fix my car on the weekend” and to that you say “Oh I can come and help you with it. What time are you starting?” Then your help is not only accepted but even appreciated. It’s not about not needing help but it’s all about feeling while we are already doing something that we need help to finish what we are doing. And there comes this “Ei tartte auttaa” and in some extreme cases PERKELE is added to enhance the fact that no help is needed. And that facial expression on the design represents the conflict of not needing help yet needing help and struggling with asking for help when you could need it but you don't want anyone to think you would need it. Simple eh?

While we seem we don’t need help with anything, we do. We just don’t want to show that we do.

Sometimes this happens with senior citizens if you offer your help to a grandma or grandpa crossing the street and they seem to struggle and you walk next to them and offer help you might get a very firm “Ei tartte auttaa!” but also you might get a gentle smile back saying “Oh thank you very much” So you never really know unless you try. By no means I try to say Finns are complicated people. We are just Finns.

I can say I personally still struggle with this whole help-concept. I am slowly learning to accept help if it’s offered but going to the lengths of asking for help does seem like a bit of stretch still.


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