Quality is back on top with this one, I laughed several times and learned at least two new words too!
Very nice indeed sir, very very nice.
Quality is back on top with this one, I laughed several times and learned at least two new words too!
Very nice indeed sir, very very nice.
同意， totally agree. Keep them coming!
I hope you also have an installment in the oven AhDohGah?
Haha, I’ll mull over that one.
Maybe a vote:
Give me 24 hours to eliminate incriminating info and I’ll post my “gang initiation” story here.
This made me lol
Ahdohgah, Grew your mole hair long lol. I want to hear all about the “gang initiation” too!
Sort of tangentially related to my only ever Chinese manicure is the story of my only ever time wearing over-the-top makeup (also in China, where else) ̶p̶o̶s̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶C̶a̶l̶v̶i̶n̶ ̶K̶l̶e̶i̶n̶ ̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶w̶e̶a̶r̶ ̶m̶o̶d̶e̶l̶ having a steamy professional photo shoot in old man woolen underwear. If it wouldn’t bore (or disturb) 大家, I guess I could kiss and tell…
I would also like to order the number 2
Does that include a drink and a dessert?
Please do “kiss and tell” about the old man woolen underwear “steamy” photoshoot. My number two will be posted tomorrow, I think. I hate to build up expectation, since it’s not THAT interesting.
Pizza Papa Giovanni Paolo II
Marco was a bad bastard. He had it written all over him. He muttered ‘porko dio’ every second word ‘porko dio cane di merde’ says he ‘porca puttana’ grinding his teeth as he slaps the steak against the filthy wall, cigarette hanging from his mouth and beads of sweat across his forehead. If you didn’t know better you would think he was throwing a tantrum. But this was his normal state. He would touch the waitresses. They would be wary of being in anything resembling a confined space with him. He rarely spoke besides cursing. His main mode of communication was throwing things and glowering.
Francesco was a very decent old man. Jolly like a Neapolitan Santa. He would be genuinely upset if food came back uneaten. I remember him close to tears on one occasion. He almost came close to saying nice things to me too:”hai fatto questa pizza?” Says he one evening with surprise. He looked at the pizza as if to say. ‘this is indeed a shit pizza, yet it is not as shit as I would have expected from the hands of an idiot boy like you’.
Marco’s wife was very well spoken and ran the restaurant. She hired me in the mistaken belief that I was Calabrian. Then Marco fired me in the mistaken belief that I was gay. I came to work one week and my name was no longer on the roster. Everyone in the kitchen looked at me, and then at Marco. I just shrugged and walked back out.
Some restaurant, some town, some city, some state, New England. You are looking for a Kook?. The manager type guy asks me to repeat myself. I am a kook, you are looking for kook, for your restaurante? The managers eyes bulge with confusion and then he bursts out laughting: you mean COOK buddy. KOOK means crazy, you’re not crazy are you? Are you from Italy? He takes me aside for an impromptu interview. Asks me all about myself and why I want the job. I start selling him the line about moving to America to pursue a life long dream of getting a degree in food engineering and he throws his towel on the table in disgust. All right all right buddy, you don’t need that, you got the job.
Says she do you want to hear something bad? No says I. It’s about me says she. Oh says I. You didn’t notice how I was taking phone calls all day? No says I. It’s a man says she. Oh right says I. What would you say if I told you I had a boyfriend says she? Oh says I. She hands me her phone and shows me a text. “I love you” it says. Now I feel bad for this guy, and worried in case he is waiting outside to beat the shit out of me. It had been a perfect day up to that point, and hard to pick a most memorable moment. Everything was special. The pizza was something else. Then get this: the chef – a bona fide Italian guy - emerges into the restaurant from the kitchen as if straight out of super Mario. With great apparent anguish and drama he loudly declares: Signore e signori, ho notizie terribili: il papa è morto! Il papa è morto!!
I had to struggle hard to repress a strange urge to ask for some more pope on my pizza.
That is one hell of a post! My feeble attempts to entertain with my limited interesting experiences pale in comparison. I am reluctant to even attempt to regale you with my rather mediocre experiences, and not very eloquent or flowery in my speech, which makes the banality of my existence even more stark in comparison.
Tale 2. (On sale due to lack of freshness)
I have promised to provide my tale of “almost” being initiated into a gang and I shall deliver.
It all started with me traveling from one city to another city to do my doctoral research (wow! great start, huh?). As a result of this weekly trek for a full year, I happened upon the same shady group of fellows nearly every week. We grew closer, as people tend to do as they get to know each other.
When I moved to that city, I stayed in touch, as we were now 兄弟. Furthermore, I, being elder to many of them, was addressed as “X哥” (for the sake of anonymity; essentially I was on the road to being a big brother). No longer did I pour the drinks, the drinks were poured for me. No longer did I frequently offer a 七星, I was the one being offered and having his cigarettes lit for him. Sometimes I would buy the beers - they had their preferred brands - otherwise one of the youngsters would stumble to the local convenience store to buy a fresh pack.
We continued to drink beer, eat betel nut, and smoke like chimneys into the midnight hours. We laughed at the “pretend gangsters” who provoked us from the relative safety of their vehicles. We yelled profanities (me less so, but I picked up a fair bit, so I knew what was being said) at the aforementioned drivers-by. I was shown the watermelon knives and bats and where they were kept (just in case). One of the higher ranking brothers showed me a very ornate, and sharp, blade. We had great conversations covering everything imaginable. They asked if I could bring them back some guns from abroad (I told them “not in a million years” and they settled for good Cuban cigars).
One day I had a pretty deep discussion with the highest up brother. He mentioned that it was that time of the year to “patch in” some newbies. He would sponsor me. I would get my vest with my X哥 label on the front, and the group’s name on the back. I had to know some things first. There were club rules. Once a month meetings. We had to attend social events (mostly KTVs, 小吃部s, Shrimp Fishing). If I was called to “action,” I had to answer. Basically be on-call, if there were brawls and such. I had to keep my oath and pay my dues (more than the younger ones, since my salary was higher). As the bossman said, “You will always need friends on this island” which was an obvious promise that we had each others’ backs. The decision on whether or not to “patch” me in was a month or two away, and I would be out of the country. I told my mother of my newfound friends and, in tears, she begged me to avoid them at all costs. Probably a good idea.
Back to the island and I gradually saw less of them. Mostly because of the demands of work. A working man can’t stay up every night drinking after midnight. Partly because I gave up the nasty habit of smoking (except for social smoking, which doesn’t count). Partly because my mother was right, and she would know better than anyone, I am not gangster material. Who knows what path my life would have taken had I been a loyal member. Truth be told, they were not triads, so it was more of a social club than anything. But there were stories, and lurid ones, so, better safe than sorry.
I knew my story (not so much a rant) would come out as boring
My friend has better stories. He only knew people who knew people (the kind of people that know the exact price for a pinky vs a thumb). It never got that far, however, he was given a business card to show a boss who refused to pay him. My buddy got paid in one hell of a hurry. Sure, I knew local tough guys in another city (ones you could call if you were caught drinking and driving, not that I ever did). Heard tell of a brother who did get caught. Turns out there was a new kid (cop) in town. He said, “Go ahead and call him. If he answers you at 3 am, go free. If he doesn’t answer, you will be charged.” Name cards aren’t what they used to be.
Dear Esteemed Elder Brother,
When you said “initiation” I was expecting something like… well if not circumcision as in African tribal initiation ceremonies, then at least something like a US street gang “beat-in” or doing something with a turkey as with the freemasons. A colourful story nonetheless!
But seriously what kind of lame gangster initiate has to go and ask his mum for permission to join first? And you refused to smuggle guns? Come on …
I always wondered what went down in those shrimperies… or shrimp fishing arenas…or whatever they’re called… I imagined they were the kind of place you took that special lady in your life when you wanted to spoil her for her birthday/your anniversary. But thanks to your story, I now know they’re a hangout for the Taiwanese underworld!
Dutch Sausage Soup
There were three occasions in my life on which I felt I was possibly approaching death’s door. One was the Jaundice, one was the unidentified African Lurgi, and the third was the Dutch sausage soup. The story that I recount to you today is that of the sausage soup.
I reported to work with a spring in my step. I had been accepted to the most prestigious food engineering University of them all: MIT. Without giving a reason I declared to my manager that I would no longer have the time or resources to work in his restaurant. He looked disappointed but also strangely happy for me. He offered me an increase. What are you on now 15$, how about 20$? No I replied I will be too busy studying in MIT. Medici School of Italy he asked? No, Massachusetts Institute of Technology! It didn’t seem to register with him, he shuffled in his shoes a little and said 25$ final offer. I said no. In that case he said, please take this, my prized wrought iron frying pan as a token of my appreciation for your hard work and cheery disposition in the kitchen. For to be honest I have vicariously experienced the old country again through your presence and I am sad indeed to see you leave. I walked out of the restaurant backwards waving to the staff, all 6 of them. Best of luck. They looked at me with eyes like dogs that I was abandoning on the highway in the wee hours.
I arrived at the MIT school of food engineering reception counter. A woman there told me to wait, the professor would come and collect me at the reception counter due to the fact that I did not have a security pass. He swiped his pass and we walked down several very scientific looking hallways to arrive at his office. We went inside. We sat down. He handed me a cup of coffee and a finely engineered biscotto. We waited for another academic: a doctor Russo, apparently also an Italian. He arrives and sits. The professor turns to me and says: I am very sorry to say that my secretary issued an offer of a place to you in error. I looked at him wondering if I was on one of those hidden camera wind up shows. But the letter is signed by you, Professor Whackoff? It is - said the professor - but there is no place on the course for you. He turned towards Dr. Russo who began to speak: Sir you do not even have a high school diploma. I began to reply: I I I. Sir can you tell me about your food research area of special interest, an area that you left blank on the application form? But - I replied – I was specifically instructed by professor Whackoff to leave that section blank! Sir, I have taken the liberty to enroll you on an alternative course in our sister community college cookery depar… at that point my ears became fuzzy and I became enraged. I cursed the fuckers out of it, I used explicative’s that would have made the bold Marco blush. I stormed down the hall. I then had to awkwardly wait while professor Whackoff returned to the security door to swipe me back out again.
I could have returned to the restaurant, but I felt ashamed, and in a way happy that at least my former colleagues believed I was ascending to higher planes, even if in reality I had fallen off the end of the cart. I decided then to instead accept my second choice. A tiny “Hogeschool” in the most obscure corner of the Netherlands. A place so obscure that Dutch people would look at you strangely, and then snigger to themselves quietly, if you spoke the name of the ‘town’ to them. This obscure town was inhabited mostly by central and western Asian immigrants, who spoke their own languages, but also the local variant of Dutch, which in this town was not Dutch at all. The food engineering course turned out to be a sham. Most of the students were Iranian and could not speak a word of English, others were African and attended only for the visa. There was only a small handful of genuine students. I fell in with a Lebanese Armenian, Greek Romanian, an Indonesian Chinese, and a Scots-Irish-American.
Jambodian Jalleyian his name was not quite as sonorous as that of the Kardashians. But our Lebanese-Armenian did have the requisite –ian at the end of his name. He didn’t look or speak like a person of western Asia. Indeed you could have easily swapped him with the Scots-Irish-American who would himself have easily passed at least for a Yugosalv, if not a Turk. Jambodian however looked like a Scotsman with his thick red beard, although he sounded like a slick American MIT student. For many weeks I did not believe his story at all. However I later learned it to be a true. Jambodian was one of these multilinguals. He spoke native Armenian, perfect Arabic, perfect French, perfect English, and perfect Turkish Dialect of Cilicia. In that exact order. His body language and general attitude to life changed with each language. When he spoke Arabic he appeared as an Arab, when he spoke French he appeared as a Parisian. His Dutch was not so good though, and he spoke it with what I presume was an Armenian accent and associated inhibited body language. After a couple of beers he would speak at length of Armenia, a place that he had never visited: his grandmother had fled with his mother through the desert during the genocide. He could not entirely return to Armenia as it was in a confused state of existence now. The Armenia that was left behind after the genocide, eastern Armenia, was not really Armenia at all. The true Armenia was on the slopes of mount Arrarat. It stood as a pale blue triangle a single Himalayan monster that had lost its way. All Armenians looked to it as the center of their people. And mount Arrarat and therefore Armenia was now in Turkey, dissolved, a great pain to his people. In the midst of the turmoil of the middle east his family practiced their Armenian Christian faith, which he explained was closer to the pre-Christian beliefs of the Indo European people as much as anything else. Dating from before the time of the upstart Noah.
It was a rainy day in town. Plumes of smoke rose from the twin towers. I initially thought it was a new batman movie as I sipped the Dutch Sausage soup. It tasted strange but I was ravenous and kept eating. Everyone was glued to the television in disbelief. They began to interview people on the street covered in ash. One woman was crying, traumatized by what was going on around her. Jambodian leapt to his feet suddenly electrified with rage he shouted at the woman on the television. You fucking stupid bitch! Now you know! Now you Know, you fucking bitch! Nobody cared when we were fucking dying!
An hour later I had my own global crisis to deal with. I have hazy memories of the vomiting and diarrhea that lasted for three days and culminated in hospitalization. In fact the only reason I know it was three days is because they told me it was three days. I was weak for six months, and would get dizzy spells, and I would reach if I heard a person utter the word, sausage, or soup. I was not able to bring myself to return to the school canteen, although I did graduate, with honors.
True. I should have been clear that it was an aborted initiation. I think it might have involved getting another tattoo. Maybe some kind of mild violence towards rivals. It wasn’t explicitly stated.
It didn’t exactly go down like me “asking permission” but mothers have their ways of getting you to confess. She threw one hell of a fit when I chewed Copenhagen snuff in front of her. First time I’ve ever heard her cuss.
I’ve been there with high school kids. It’s innocent enough during the day. Those shrimps are hard buggers to catch. We only caught a few. BBQ facilities on sight. I also think you could buy some if you didn’t catch enough. Pay by the hour. Beers a plenty. At night, they are almost as dodgy as pachinko joints. I’m sure I was being eyed up for a beat down playing pool with my white buddy at a gambling joint. But, heck, they let anyone gamble there. Lost every penny I went in with. It’s rigged.
JEEEEEE—ZUUUUUUSSSSSS. That was a properly captivating story. Any sense that you were poisoned? That’s a tough one to top. To be a fly on the wall at MIT whilst you were cathartically cursing…
Great story, Geajvop! However, I do have the nagging suspicion that you might have gilded the lily and exaggerated a detail here or there J
For what it’s worth, here’s my woollen underwear photoshoot anecdote. Pretty dull compared with Geajvop’s food engineering shenanigans, but I’m ashamed to say that this actually did happen…Hearing Ahdohgah’s story, maybe China’s not so different from Taiwan after all. In big bad Beijing you also need to cultivate your guanxi . You also need to poke your appendage in many pies. Sometimes, when everything’s running smoothly, it’s almost as if you’ve set your miniature clockwork universe running and there’s nothing left to do but kick back, an unmoved mover, parring your nails while listening to the Pythagorean music of the spheres. The corollary of this, of course, is that it only takes a moment’s misplaced nonchalance and your sleeve’s liable to gets caught in the wildly whirring machinery. If you don’t manage your guanxi carefully, you’ll get pulled headlong into a churning vortex of cogs and made into a mangled memento of the perils of the metropolis.
Like every other man, woman and child in Beijing, I also had my cogs, my contacts. One of the more peripheral spheres in which I moved I was the glamorous world of modelling and fashion, and ̶i̶n̶ ̶o̶r̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶m̶a̶i̶n̶t̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶c̶c̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶e̶x̶c̶l̶u̶s̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶a̶p̶r̶è̶s̶-̶c̶a̶t̶w̶a̶l̶k̶ ̶o̶r̶g̶i̶e̶s̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶p̶y̶g̶m̶i̶e̶s̶ for reasons I am not at liberty to disclose, I helped out when I could and kept the right scrotums scratched. One evening an associate from a modelling agency called me and because ̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶o̶u̶l̶d̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶f̶i̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶e̶l̶s̶e̶̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶d̶e̶s̶p̶e̶r̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶s̶c̶r̶a̶p̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶a̶r̶r̶e̶l̶ ̶n̶o̶w̶ of my rugged good looks asked me to go to Tianjin for a photoshoot, and so early the next morning I found myself sitting on the fancy new high-speed rail from Beijing to Tianjin.
Beside me was a lackadaisical blonde bombshell in oversized shades, her porcelain-pale hands wrapped around a starbucks venti. Let’s just call her Lyudmila Leggynova from Retrograd, Ukraine. She claimed to be eighteen, looked twenty-one, which ̶b̶a̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶e̶x̶t̶e̶n̶s̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶e̶x̶p̶e̶r̶i̶e̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶u̶n̶d̶e̶r̶a̶g̶e̶ ̶E̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶E̶u̶r̶o̶p̶e̶a̶n̶ ̶g̶i̶r̶l̶s̶ probably put her at about fourteen. If she really was fourteen, then going by examples of precocious early fatherhood common in certain US states (not looking at you, Kentucky ), I was almost old enough to be her father. That would explain the dad jokes I made all the way to Tianjin. From the Ukraine, huh? Terrible business, that Chernobyl. Still, ’splains the length of dem legs… Hey Lyudie (pointing out window at two men standing in misty winterscape, saying in my best faux Chinaman accent), I see two man. Too-MAN*, get it? Haw haw.
*An egregious pun. Fog is pronounced Too-MAN in Russian.
We were picked up by our minders at the station and taken to a spacious upstairs storage room in downtown Tianjin. Makeup seemed to take forever, but when the make-up artist was done the metamorphosis from fugly foreigner to androgenous K-Pop boyband heartthrob was complete.* The client paying for the shoot looked just like you’d expect an older Chinese man to look who’d made his fortune manufacturing dorky but practical woollen wear: pants strapped up around his titties, old-skool cell phone clipped to one side of his belt and the obligatory keychain to the other. He was promised genuine foreign models and judging from the way he kept nodding his head approvingly and even rubbing his palms together every time he looked at us, I’d say he was real satisfied with his purchase.
*which makes you wonder how many fugly foreigners lurk beneath K-Pop boyband heartthrobs
Everything happened slowly right up until the point where someone cranked up the portable radio, we went under the lights, and all hell broke loose. Hitherto sleepy-looking Lyudmila, evidently a real pro, was as if electrified. She was all over me like a rash, and we were snapped in all kinds of compromising #metoo positions. The phlegmatic photographer had also suddenly burst to life also, snapping away while yelling like a porn director, “Give me more sexy, baby! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” We modelled all kinds of woollen wear, from long-johns to singlets to boxer shorts.
Oh yeah, when the shoot was done I was sent home in my makeup . I was able to hide my head more or less on the bullet train, but when I got to the Beijing metro it was standing room only. Of course the inevitable happened and a pack of schoolgirls got on. After much subdued squealing, one of the braver ones came up and showed me a message written on her cellphone: ‘My friend want to take photo with you. Can?’ And so after the official photoshoot with an underage schoolgirl there was another impromptu photoshoot with a bunch of underage schoolgirls. Just a typical day in Beijing adding more material to my already hefty Interpol dossier.
I believe that the soup was the dear homeland of a tribe of rebellious pathogens, that lived there in defiance of the esteemed cooks of the school of food engineering.
The story is toned down rather than up. So they are dezaggerated if anything.
I got laughs out of this again, and a touch of cognitive dissonance. Very nice
I presume you are being disingenuous
There is an angry Chinese man in Manchester - a good friend of mine - who does not approve of gangsters
This is pure gold! I’m simultaneously aroused (if she was of age) and repulsed.
The whole thing is pure gold though.
For my next rant I am considering a lengthy preamble on the failings of my own profferings