Greetings from beyond the grave!
In case you’ve never been hungover before, let me tell you something (excuse me for lapsing into Charles Palantine mode–in case that reference makes no sense to you, please refer to Martin Scorsese’s dark early masterpiece, Taxi Driver, a film based on my childhood memoirs): it’s not pretty, and it’s no picnic. I woke up about fifteen minutes ago to take a piss and my head feels like a cobblestone in a street in Pamplona, Spain after the annual stampede of the bulls.
Which is redundant, considering that as a Taurus I’m already full of bullshit, not that I really go in for horoscopes or any of that claptrap. I had a good time getting caught up with an old friend who was visiting Seoul last night from England, but since I’m pushing fifty my mortality is also a bit more of a factor than it used to be. Now I know why my wife is so vehemently anti-drinking. Too bad she often gives me so much to drink about.
My brother is also in town; I haven’t seen him for nearly a year, and we’re going to get together in the near future and no doubt drink lots of beer. This is a predictable ritual for many Western men, as it lubricates the social gears and helps the raconteur’s jaws flow (which reminds me: I read a very good review of the re-release of Steven Spielberg’s early dark masterpiece, before he went all E. T. on our ass–even though I sometimes blame him, perhaps a tad unfairly, for helping bring about the near-extinction of so many species of sharks, not that it’s really his fault for making such an indelibly terrifying portrait of my great white cousins; a bowl of shark fin soup at a local Chinese restaurant will set you back fifty thousand won–about forty-five U. S. dollars–but at least it’s not as expensive as losing your whole species, not that I’ve had the gall to ever try the stuff, as it might be bad karma the next time I go for a dip in the ever-rising Pacific–or Atlantic, for that matter, thanks to the melting glacial lakes in Greenland, as per Bill McKibben’s report in a trenchant article online at Rolling Stone magazine’s website).
Ever since I came to Korea six and a half years ago, people here have been carping about Japan’s insistence that the Dokdo Islands, which reside off the south coast of this country, in fact belong to Japan. I’ve never met a Korean who says they belong to the Japanese, just as I’ve never met a Japanese person who’s said there’s anything wrong with eating whale meat, although I’ve met several Korean people who’ve admitted that dog meat is delicious, along with a number of Americans who’ve consumed actual beef (not that I’m equating Korean people’s grievance over Dokdo with any of those doubtful culinary practices; evidently there’s some disagreement between Israel and Palestine over a piece of land in their neighborhood as well that’s been going on for quite some time; sorry I couldn’t tell you why they’ve had so much trouble resolving the issue; I’m sure they’ll iron out their differences in the near future, as they get along so swimmingly).
Apparently this dispute has been going on ever since Japan last relinquished their hold on their Korean colony after my country dropped–oh, I don’t know–fifty or sixty bombs on all major Japanese cities, at least according to the late Robert McNamara, Vietnam’s best friend, in the dark masterpiece The Fog of War (forgive me for misplacing the director’s name; I promise I’ll get it to you later–Errol Morris), wiping out sixty percent of the people of said cities. McNamara claimed that the U. S., under the psychopathic tutelage of bomb-dropping aficionado Curtis LeMay, incinerated a hundred thousand people in Tokyo overnight, since their apartments consisted of wooden buildings.
Humankind is such a gentle creature!
Of course, the Japanese army had been slightly cruel, to say the least, to the citizens of Nanking, along with those of Korea and other parts of China, as well as P. O. W.’s of the Western powers. Nonetheless, as Chris Hedges pointed out in a recent column on Truthdig’s website, written on the sixty-seventh anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, when the U. S. unleashed the atomic bomb on that city, we pretty much jettisoned our moral credibility (or gave up the moral high ground, as he put it, and showed that we were no better than the Nazis; to Germany’s credit, at least that country has undergone some serious cultural sensitivity training, unlike either the U. S. or Japan, who are too squeamish to admit that we have the propensity to wax barbaric from time to time, allergic as we are on occasion to decency and brotherly or sisterly love. But at least we know how to make a frickin’ delicious hamburger).
Anyway, I’m due to meet another friend tonight, also visiting from England, and drink lots of beer and get caught up with him after his recent world travels. I don’t think I’ll drink any makgeolli this time (Korean rice wine), as I did last night, or microbrewed beer either as mixing drinks tends to give your brain a run for its money on the monkey bars inside your skull.
Have a great weekend, and please let me know if you have any surefire hangover remedies in case I survive to wake up and pop another naproxen caplet as a defense against self-inflicted pain.