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Doug Clark: ‘All for Sweden’ sure to propel Spokane man to Scandinavian stardom

What a summer it’s been for Patrick Glass.

He won an audition in LA. He spent six weeks being filmed on a hit reality TV show. He was written about by an attentive press. …

There’s just one little wrinkle to the Spokane man’s rocket ride to stardom.

That hot show is, um, in Sweden.

“Allt for Sverige,” it’s called. (That’s “All for Sweden” for you few non-Swedish speakers out there.)

“I went nuts. I ran out into the street and about scared a kid into traffic!”

That’s Glass talking excitedly about how he reacted to the call last May from producers.

They told the 31-year-old food services worker and cook for Eastern Washington University that he had made the cut. Glass was one of 10 Americans with Swedish ancestry selected for the show’s sixth season.

Andy Warhol was right.

The pop artist observed way back in 1968 that, “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

Oddly enough, Warhol was in Stockholm at the time.

“The Stockholm Syndrome is real,” Glass added of his affection for the country.

“This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I took full advantage of learning about my family and relatives I didn’t know.”

The must-Swede TV season starts Oct. 23, by the way. Coleman will have special access to it online. So the rest of us will have to book a 14-hour flight to Sweden.

Glass is bound by contract to keep his lips zipped regarding anything that happened during filming. Nor can he say whether or not he won.

I know about that stuff.

Before appearing on the game show “Weakest Link,” I actually had to sign a contract stating that I would NOT run for president.

I signed and, well, the rest is history. I tossed away my chance to make America marginal again.

Anyway, Glass is free to say that “All for Sweden” is sort of like “Survivor” with a genealogical twist.

Can’t be any worse than City Council reruns on Channel 5.

Contestants compete against each other in various challenges. The ultimate winner receives a big party with his or her newfound Swedish relatives.

Really?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d hold out for a new Volvo. I know way too many of my relatives to ever want to party with them.

So how does an average young Spokane man wind up on a Swedish reality show?

Patrick has his sister, Sarah, to thank.

Sarah, 29, had been interested in the Swedish side of her family as represented by Hilda, Patrick’s and Sarah’s late grandmother.

This interest in her family history compelled Sarah to visit Sweden four years ago. It wasn’t enough. While living in Seattle, Sarah signed up for group Swedish lessons.

That’s when she heard about Sweden’s No. 1 television show. In addition, she learned from classmates that a woman from Gig Harbor, Washington, had previously been on the series.

“The whole show’s about finding your roots,” Sarah said.

She couldn’t apply fast enough. Until, that is, one of the game show rules loomed at her like a stop sign.

All for Sweden wants newcomers only. Previous visitors need not apply.

Thus began Sarah’s campaign to recruit her older brother.

Patrick put it off at first. Then last February, on the last day possible, he applied.

No wonder he made it. With his long and scraggily brown beard and hair, the guy already could pass for a Viking.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I haven’t raped or pillaged anything lately.”

Glass was wearing the yellow-and-blue jersey of the Swedish national hockey team when we met the other day. A huge Swedish flag, yellow cross set over a field of blue, covered the front window of his North Spokane home.

“I do honestly believe that I’m gonna make Sweden fall in love with me,” he said.

Win or lose, Glass said he plans to return to Sweden one day and maybe run a restaurant. Or maybe there’s a career in Swedish television waiting for him.

And what about a Swedish sister city?

Why not? We’ve practically got one everywhere else.

“Patrick is very comfortable in his skin,” his mom, Laura, told me.

I can see that.

Glass found Sweden to be a congenial place, filled with polite, if not reserved, people.

Some of his takeaways?

Mead, an alcoholic honey-based drink, was interesting. “I tried two sips and I was on my lips.”

And take this to the bank: If anybody ever offers you a bite of something called “surstromming,” run – do not walk – away.

Surstromming is along the lines of Norway’s dreaded lutefisk, but far more egregious, Glass said.

It is made from Baltic Sea herring, which is salted barely enough to keep it from rotting.

And the smell?

“I saw some kids playing with some,” he quipped. “They don’t have stink bombs in Sweden, they have surstromming.”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at dougc@spokesman.com.