The Move

The move to our new locale at the other end of the country is complete, I’m freshly back online with a 10Mb/s line (comped, along with a host of other fringe-benefits, hooray!), and I’m off to Japan again (Osaka rather than Fukuoka, and staying at the Nikko on the company dime this time, double hooray!) tomorrow to get my sparkly new work visa glued into the passport.
My email address is defunct, a little prematurely, so if you’ve tried to mail me within the last few days, it probably bounced. Send mail to anything your fervid mind can come up with at, and I should get it. Claim an wonderchicken email namespace thingo now†! Supplies are limited, offer void where prohibited by law.
Pics and tangentially-related blather, coming soon. Stay tuned to this bat-channel.

†You know, or not.

Digital Revelation

My birthday present this year, back in early August, was meant to be a digital camera. I’d done my research and come to the conclusion that the best bang for the most minimal buck was the Canon Powershot A70.
Unfortunately, that was right around the time that I became unemployed again. This usually does not worry me in the least, but seeing as how I’m all adult and bewifed and all, we decided to defer the purchase of any non-necessary stuff until I got re-employed, which I recently have been.
Hooray for me, skyrockets in flight, doves are released into skies of deepest azure, the baby jesus laughs with glee, etcetera.
Point being, friends, that the camera was delivered yesterday, and it’s been well over a year since I’ve bought anything for myself other than food and beer, relentlessly frugal as I am and downright cheap as She Who Must Be Obeyed can be, and I’m like a kid with this thing.
Now I don’t know the first goddamn thing about Art and Photography and all that crap, I just want to use this amazing new technology to help me remember. As regular visitors to the ‘bottle may know, I’ve had me some Amazing Adventures, mostly lubricated with whatever chemical stimulant easily came to hand. The problem with that, unfortunately, is that in my dotage I have rapidly fading memories, and rapidly fading images in my brain of who I did, and how what and when I did what I did, never mind why. And very few pictures to help the stories emerge, when I’m in a story-telling mood.
From regret at this deplorable synaptic deficit, therefore, I’ve resolved and now have the technology to make images, on the fly and without expense, to document for myself my life. My Life. Starting now! Not unlike Matt’s new thang, or Shelley’s new photo projects and pursuits (and hopefully career), I guess, but more artless, naturally, and less public. I plan to share little things that I particularly like, but it can be assumed that they may not have anything like the significance for you out there, my friends, that they do for me. Me and my brainfarts.
I am interested in becoming more skilled at seeing, and at capturing images that approximate what I see, but that will come with time and practice, I hope. I have little of either thus far. In the meantime, though, what fun!
Here are a few for you out of the dozens I took today. I don’t know if they’re ‘good’ or not, and I don’t care. I like them and that’s all that matters at this point, and I’m thrilled with the effortless alacrity of it all. I hope you like them too, if only to help you get a better mental image of the place whose portrait I’ve been trying to paint with words alone.

Komedy Korean Kontracts

[Update : It’s a hoax. A good one, though, and not far off reality by any means.]
I’m busy with getting ready to move house again — yet again — and so haven’t written what has become my weekly essay here on this incarnation of the ‘bottle. In lieu of that, I offer you this Komedy Korean Kontract, which had me damn near peeing myself with laughter. This comes to me third-hand, and its veracity is possibly a bit suspect, but I have seen ones nearly this bad out there, so I’m just going to throw it up for your amusement and elucidation, dear readers. Be assured that Korean labour laws are being violated and loopholes exploited (like people frequently getting fired at the 11 month mark, arbitrarily, so the employer can weasel out of the paid return airfare regulation) both in fact and in clear future intent all over the map here. Not that they’re enforced or anything, of course.
There’s a goldmine in Korea! ‘Course, you’d have to be f–king loopy to actually go down in there…

Employment Agreement for English Teacher
This Employment Contract (hereinafter, the “Contract”) is entered into between Krazy Korean Konglish Institute the Republic of Korea, (hereinafter the “Employer”) and the native English speaker XXX (hereinafter the “Employee”) a XXX citizen residing in XXX
Article 1. (Term of Employment)
[1] The Term of Employment shall commence on xx/xx/2003 and end a year later.
[2] If the Employee or Employer wishes to terminate the employment contract prior to the date of expiration, the Employee agrees to have the final pay deducted to reflect the cost of airfare, recruiters fees, housing deposit early termination fees, utility shut off fees, and an inconvenience fee which is to reimburse the school the trouble that early termination causes both the staff, students and the school.
Article 1a. (Conditions of Employment)
[1] The Employee attests that they cannot speak or read the Korean language and that this will not change significantly during the duration of the contract.
[2] The Employee attests that they are of Caucasian (white) descent and that they have no blood Asian relatives.
[3] The Employee attests that this is the first trip outside their county of origin for the purpose of work.
[4] The Employee attests that they are between the ages of 18 and 28.
Article 2. (Salary)
[1] The Employee shall be paid 2,000,000 Korean Won per month.
[2] The Employer will deduct any and all Employer deemed necessary deductions, to include but not limited to Korean Income Tax and Pension, as needed on a month-by-month basis.
[3] The Employee’s salary will be paid at some time on the 10th day of each month. Where that day is a Saturday, Sunday or School Holiday, the Employer will pay the Employee on the next business day.
[4] A fee of 700,000 won will be deducted from the first pay check as security against damage to housing, unpaid bills, and sudden breach of contract by the Employee. After said employment concludes the Employee must submit in writing a request for the balance (if any) of this deposit to be sent to the Employee somewhere out of Korea. In no circumstance will this be paid to the Employee while the Employee is still in Korea.
[5] If the Employee has been absent from his designated work place without prior approval, the employee will forfeit 50,000 won per hour of absence. A 1-hour fee will be automatically deducted after the employee is late one hundred and sixty (160) seconds for any class.
Article 3. (Working Hours)
[1] The Employee shall teach 120 hours per month. In Korea, as well as in the rest of the world, 1 hour equals sixty minutes.
[2] The workweek will be Monday through Friday.
[3] The Employee shall work any and all hours that the Employer specifies. This will change on a month-to-month basis.
[4] The Employer will pay overtime for all working hours in excess of 120 hours. The rate for overtime is calculated at 12000 Won per hour.
[5] That the Employer will require the Employee to work a different schedule during the government school vacation periods and other ‘special’ times.
[6] The Employer may change the working hours at will.
[7] There shall be a 10-minute break between each class regardless of how long said class lasts. In no event will a class be ‘split’ so a break may be taken. Employees are expected to behave in a professional manner and not leave the students unattended for any reason.
[8] In the event that the Employee teaches for less then 120 hours (7,200 actual minutes spent teaching) the Employer will assign various chores to the Employee to complete so as to be paid in full. An accurate count of all teaching minutes will be conducted on the 3rd Friday in the month. The following Monday the Employee will be given a list of tasks to complete to compensate for the lack of teaching hours. These tasks must be completed to the satisfaction of the Employer for the Employee to receive credit for them. Any tasks completed unsatisfactory or unfinished will be deducted from the pay.
Article 4. (Working Conditions)
[1] The Employee shall be assigned a classroom. Any decorating of this classroom, to include posters, is the responsibility of the Employee. It is expected that the Employee is a professional and, as such, will properly furnish the classroom with materials conductive to learning the English language.
[2] The Employee will be issued 2 (two) whiteboard markers every 3 (three) months provided a properly filled out requisition slip is submitted.
[3] The Employee shall be given a code to use the copy machine. The Employer assumes no responsibility for lost, forgotten, stolen, or misused codes. The code will credit the employee with 5 ‘free’ copies per day. Any copies over the initial 5 will be charged to the employee at the rate of 500 won per copy.
[4] The Employee shall be expected to keep the classroom presentable. This includes the floor, table, chairs, walls, door and windows. The employee shall empty the classroom trash at the end of each day. A broom, bucket and mop will be issued to the employee at the beginning of employment. These must be returned as serviceable or a replacement fee of 30,000 won will be deducted.
[5] The Employer will provide 1 internet connected computer for every 2 teachers. A login system will be used and tracking software will be installed. Any attempt to circumvent said software will immediately result in loss of login credentials. Additionally the Employer reserves the right to monitor and record any and all activities on the Employers computers.
[6] The Employer will offer a meal plan to the Employee. The meal plan will cost 9,500 won per meal at the Institute. This will give the Employee an opportunity to eat healthy and delicious Korean meals at a deeply discounted price.
[7] A list with all Foreign Employees names shall be posted on the first of the month assigning common area and school / Korean staff vehicle clean up duties. Those Employees with vehicle duties will be expected to completely wash and wax the vehicles they are assigned to once a week. Additionally the vehicles must be cleaned daily after the last vehicle has returned to the Institute for the day. The vehicle operator will make the final determination on vehicle cleanliness.
Article 5. (Housing)
[1] The Employer should provide the Employee with housing. Housing may include a leased room in someone’s house, officetel, apartment, or in a Korean type ‘Study Room’ or Yogwon.
[2] The Employer may provide temporary housing not exceeding 185 days until appropriate housing becomes available.
[3] The Employee may be required to share the said housing with anyone the Employer so sees fit.
[4] The Employee is liable and responsible for all fees, namely utility charges, gas, electricity, telephone, incurred whilst the said Employee is in residence.
[5] The Employer should provide the Employee’s accommodation with furniture, (one bed or rakuraku style bed, a tray or rack for hanging clothes, a few assorted kitchenware utensils, mini-refrigerator, bedding, washing machine).
[6] The Employee must take all due and reasonable care of said furniture and equipment, and that the Employee shall be liable for the cost of replacement to any equipment or furniture damaged in any way by the Employee.
[7] In order to conform to Koreas strict fire codes the Employer shall have the right to conduct safety inspections and fire drills at the Employees home at any time.
[8] The Employee may not change or tamper with any lock or safety device in the Employees home. There will be a 75.000 won locksmith charge if this provision is violated.
Article 6. (Airfare)
[1] The Employee’s economy airfare to Korea via the most direct route from outside Korea to the nearest airport near the place of employment will be reimbursed in Korea by the Employer.
[2]The Employer will reimburse half (50%) to the Employee on the first pay day.
[3] Where the Employee completes the contract as stipulated in Article 1 hereof, the Employer must pay to the Employee no later than 1 day prior to the end of the contract, the most current inexpensive return economy airfare to the country the Employee is a citizen of.
[4] Where the Employee is hired in Korea, the Employer shall roundtrip airfare for the Employee’s visa run to the nearest non Korean mainland Embassy.
[5] Where the Employee terminates this contract within 11 months of the commencement date, the Employer will deduct all the air fare paid to the Employee.
Article 7. (Medical Insurance)
[1] The Employer should pay the half medical insurance coverage of the Employee.
[2] That the Employer should provide the Employee a medical insurance booklet during the contract period. This typically (due to insurance company paperwork) is done around the 4th month of employment.
Article 8. (Sick leave)
[1] The Employee shall be entitled to 2 semi paid days sick leave per contract, calculated as one day per 6 months accumulative.
[2] If the Employee is sick they will call the institute and arrange to be brought to a doctor. In order to help the Employee with any language problems the Employer will and must remain with the Employee for the entire duration of said trip to the doctor. If the doctor and the Employer agree the Employee will be awarded a ‘sick-day’ at 50% of the specified rate of pay. If the Doctor or Employer deems the illness to be minor then the Employee will be expected to work that day. Failure to work that day subjects the Employee to the penalties outlined in Article 2 clause 5 for the duration of that day to include the lunch period as well.
[3] The Employee must advise the Employer in advance of the sick leave and expected duration thereof.
[4] Sick leave above and beyond the said 2 working days stipulated in [1] hereof, shall be unpaid.
Article 9. (Job Description)
[1] The Employee shall carry out all duties required by the Employer to (a) provide English language lessons to students and or Korean teachers.
[2] The Employee shall be required to work at any place of employment seen fit by the Employer. If travel is involved then the Employer must pay the Employee public transportation traveling expenses, and where travel exceeds 90 minutes via any one-way transportation, the Employer will pay 60% of the hourly wage for the said travel time.
[3] The Employer requires the Employee to attend any meetings or functions the Employer sees fit. These will not be compensated.
[4] During the term of this agreement, the Employee will accept, obey and comply with the instructions, supervision, training and discipline of the Director and any Korean staff of the Language Institute. These duties will include instruction for regular classes, administrative duties related to the Employee’s classes, student placement testing, attendance at scheduled instructors’ meetings and workshops and extra curricular duties (such as Bus classes, Lunch-time table classes, Field trip etc. would be included) as may be assigned by the Director. The Director is to set standards of performance for the Employee and is empowered to take reasonable steps necessary for assuring that those standards are met.
[5] The Employee will sign a ‘no compete’ contract stating that they will not teach any students not specified by the director and if they break the contract, agree not to teach English in Korea for a period of 5 calendar years.
Article 9a. (Employee Conduct and Appearance)
[1] The Employee shall post a ‘code of conduct’ in the teachers break room that shall be followed by the Employees.
[2] Breaching this code of conduct will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. However the minimum fine for a breach of the code is 75,000 won.
[3] The code of conduct is in force 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
[4] While in Korea the Employee is the public face of the institute. To that end the employee’s behavior has a direct effect on the perception of the institute by other Koreans. Damage to that perception will be dealt with severely harshly.
[5] In order to maintain the good will the institute already enjoys in the community the institute will hold bi-monthly ‘fun days’. These special days will always fall on a Friday. During that day the Employee will entertain prospective students during the regular workday. This entertainment can include taking part in a pie toss, the application of performance make up and the wearing of costumes, participation in the ‘dunk tank’ event, and other activities as required by the director. A special meal will be provided at the conclusion of the event, free of charge.
[6] A de facto professional dress code will be enforced for all foreign Employees. A poster displaying proper work attire will be displayed in the Teachers break room. Teachers who vandalize this poster will be fined 30,000 won.
[7] Employees must be ‘camera ready’ at all times during the workday as there will be sporadic photographs and video shot during the year.
[8] Male employees will shave daily. Male employees will take reasonable steps to ensure that their personal odor will not become disruptive.
[9] Female employees will take all reasonable steps to ensure that their personal and menstrual odor does not become disruptive.
[10] Employees will wash their hair at least once every 2 days and maintain proper nail hygiene at all times.
[11] Employees must endeavor not to dramatically change their appearance during the period of Employment. Planned significant change to the Employees physical appearance should be discussed with and agreed on by the director in advance of such change.
[12] Employees shall refrain from consuming alcohol during the week and shall never use illegal drugs while employed at the institute.
[12a] Additionally a 12 am curfew will be imposed Monday to Thursday to ensure that the Employees are receiving the proper amount of sleep.
[13] Employees may be randomly screened for the use of illegal drugs or the presence of communicable diseases, to include AIDS, by blood test.
[14] Single employees shall refrain from engaging in romantic relationships with Korean citizens while employed at the institute. Interracial dating is still a social taboo in Korea and reflects poorly on the Employee and the institute.
Article 10. (Vacation)
[1] The Employee shall be entitled to 5 working days annual leave per contract.
[2] The Employee shall be entitled to all public holidays stipulated on the official institute yearly calendar. These may vary from those holidays specified by the government.
[3] That where the Employee has worked the entire contract without absence, the Employee shall be granted a lunch at ‘Carne Station’ (various locations in Seoul) with all you can eat of food and beverages that are normally offered during lunch to be paid for by the Employer.
Article 11. (Termination of Contract)
[1] The Employer may terminate this contract upon any serious occurrences
[2] In the event that the Employer terminates the contract for a serious reason the Employer shall pay the Employee up to the date of termination minus any and all expenses previously referred to in this document. Additionally the Employees visa shall be cancelled within 24 hours. The Employee will vacate the apartment prior to any money being paid to the Employee.
[3] In the event of clause (a) termination, the Employer may terminate the contract forthwith, and further, that the Employer shall, if this section occurs within 11 months of the start date hereof, not be liable for the return airfare of the said Employee, and (b) the Employer may seek reimbursement of the airfare paid pursuant to Clause 6 hereof.
[4] It is a condition of this agreement that the Employer must provide the Employee with 2 days written notice of Intention to terminate the Contract, setting forth the reasons therein, and allowing the Employee to remedy the situation within that time.
Article 12. (Renewal of Contract)
[1] As no contract renewal issue has ever been addressed this will be taken care of on a case by case basis rather then having a ‘policy’ to address it.

Yeah! Where do I sign?
[found at ESLCafe]

Death and Bali, A Year Later

It’s been exactly a year since the bombing in Bali that killed my old friend Rick Gleason and 201 other people.
Is there a statute of limitations on mourning? Should there be? If we stop feeling that skip in the heartbeat and stab in the gut when we think of someone we loved who was killed, have we stopped caring? Should guilt then rush in? Should we try to leave behind our grief, and get on with it? What is left of the dead one, a year after they’ve gone, in the world? What do we learn from their lives, what can we learn? What have I learned?
A year on, I wish I could say confidently that I’ve consciously changed my life for the better after Rick’s death, taken the lessons his life and his sudden death taught me, plowed up some fertile ground. I wish that in the decisions I’ve made in the intervening twelve months, a reflection could be seen of some nebulous tribute to him, and the things we both believed about life. Maybe it’s there, and I can’t see it. When you’re too close to the mountain, you can’t see how high it really is.
I’ve lived my life with death all around me — not in the way that the billions of poor people on this planet do, perhaps, with family members dying slowly in the corner of the shack, or ripped apart under American bombs — but with frequent visits from the reaper, until he became a familiar presence in my life, neither feared nor hated. I have no fear of death, but I resent it, and the curtain it throws around our brief little lives.
My father died when I was about five years old, my younger brother, right in front of me, a few years later. Aunts and uncles, great- and otherwise, died with regularity through my teens, as did my dearly-loved maternal grandfather. The rest of my grandparents were gone by the time I was in my mid-twenties, and then my step-father, who’d married my mother not long after my father’s death 20 years before, also died. I have friends who never lost a family member or dear friend until their mid-thirties, for whom Rick’s death was a shock more singular, and I always wondered how they thought about death. Did they fear it? Do they hate it more now, or less? Do they put it from their minds, and go on with the humble daily things, keeping the stink of terror well hid?
Scars were left on me in the wake of those deaths in my young life, furrows and welts in my brain some of which are even now just working their way into the light. This is as it should be. My great and abiding love for the drink, moderated and benign as it has become in my later years, as much passed on genetically and nurtured environmentally as it may be, certainly has some roots there. My fear and loathing of the very idea of having children, absolutely. My carefully-chosen expatriate existence, yearning contrapuntally as I sometimes do for the deep, cold coniferous forests of my youth. The vigour with which I counter those who I perceive to be attacking me, yes. All of these and more. I have made my peace with the ghosts, made it many years ago, and carry my wounds with awareness and a quiet understanding that what happens is good by virtue of the sheer fact that it has happened, and that to claim otherwise and rail against our experience is to refuse life, and shrink from it. To say no, rather than yes.
But Rick’s death marked me, more than I could have expected. I still feel that weightless skip in my heartbeat, that stab in the gut, when I think of him. One year on, there are more questions than ever, about what my life is to mean to me, and what it has meant. About what is important, what is indispensable, and what is good. About how to reconcile a love for individuals with a deep, heart-squeezing loathing for humanity, and particularly for the sort of people that knocked down the World Trade Centre, that set the bomb in Bali, and that ordered the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. About the preachers and the haters, the ideologues and the god-fearers, the killers and the martyrs, and about how deeply stupid and damaged, greedy and afraid they must be.
And in the end, of course, I’m left with more questions, and I’m left with a rising knot of choking rage and resentment that I consciously push down, squeeze back, and try to transform into something useful, into words and actions that don’t feed the killer monkeys, that keep the bloody chaos at bay, and I’m not usually very successful.
I said this, about 18 months ago, long before my friend’s death :

To regard the death of those you know and love as a natural thing, to turn the painful experience of their loss into something that enriches and strengthens your own life (because, face it, they ain’t got one anymore) – that’s the mostly truly reverant eulogy and memorial one can make. Which is trite, perhaps, but people seem to forget it, again and again.

and I suppose I still believe it to be true.
But Rick’s murder marked me, more perhaps and nearer the surface than any death I’ve lived past since I was very young. I suppose I am a better man because of that mark. I would be a happier man, and one less uncertain and questing, if it had not happened. Would that Rick were still walking around in his loose-limbed way, falling in love at the drop of a hat, laughing and drinking and seeing. Would that he could share a drink with me tonight.
But that is not the way it happened, and I’m still not sure of how to live with that.

Biting Through Meat

The sound that is made when you are biting through your own flesh is a little like that of thick rubber being torn. It’s wetter, and when you hear it inside your head, it’s kind of terrifying.
I bit a hole about the size of a dime deep into the top of my tongue, near the centre, the other day. I don’t know how the hell I managed to do it. I was eating some soon-dae (potato noodles spiced and stuffed into pig intestines, with boiled, sliced organ meat on the side – tastier than it sounds) when suddenly the molars on the right side of my mouth met a bit more resistance, there was that odd sound, loud enough that my wife beside me started and stared, and the hot, salty flood started. No pain, not right away.
I went to the bathroom and let a mouthful of blood pour out — a real Wes Craven moment, which made me once again wish we could afford that digital camera I want — and had a look. Great meaty flap, deep hole, reddish-black blood gushing out. Cool.
I hate doctors, so I applied ice and didn’t eat for a few days. The nub of flesh that pokes up out of the scar and the crater beneath it will be with me for life, I suspect. This is, in its way, good.
The sound that the small bones in your foot make when they break are not so much a crunch as a crack, startlingly loud. About 3 months back, I drove the corner of a doorjamb between my third and fourth toes on my left foot as I walked calmly into the bedroom to get the ironing board. Broke both toes, and a couple of bones in my foot as well, judging by feel. I did the ‘apply pressure/apply ice/elevate above your heart’ routine to minimize swelling, and bound the toes together.
I hate doctors, so I self-medicated, went back to work the next day, and limped around for the next 6 weeks or so while my foot slowly changed colour. I don’t think some of the bones set properly, and the area is still a little tender if I poke or prod it the wrong way. This is, in its way, a valuable reminder to watch where the hell I’m walking.
I’m not sure precisely what led me to my wholehearted loathing of the medical profession, although I do have a few ideas as to the antecedents.
My hometown, an island of a couple of thousand brave and drunken souls isolated in a sea of trees way up in the part of British Columbia where the map merely notes ‘Here Be Monsters,’ was served by an odd, sullen, ragtag crew of medical practitioners over the years I grew up there. Most were South African, and were bound by contract to be there in order to get their residency in Canada. How much our town benefitted from the Immigration Department requirements that doctors migrating to Canada spend their first few years dealing with family violence and alcohol-related injury in the Boonies was debatable, perhaps. Still, they were a novelty, with their funny accents and poorly disguised, simmering resentment.
I particularly remember one Vietnamese doctor who was, in fact, one of my favorites (and a rarity in a town where there was precisely one Asian family – the Chinese folks who ran two of the half-dozen restaurants), and who, thanks to his redneck comedy gold inability to pronounce /r/ and /l/ according to my expectations, precipitated one of the funniest conversations in which I have retrospectively been involved when he handed the 10-year-old me a plastic cup and a small wooden ice-cream spoon and asked for what I swore was a ‘stew’ sample.
One of the various medical mistakes, blunders, and life-threatening f–kups (back before the first thing I did upon injuring myself was Google up some advice) that I was either the victim of or a witness to was, for example, my bottomless prescription for tetracycline (a broad-spectrum antibiotic) as a teenager, intended to combat the Aetna-shaming eruptions that my face and body produced. Not on-and-off, but on, for years, nonstop. My body, strong as it is, is still paying the price for that. And this was in the early 80’s – not before medical thought had come around to understanding that continual massive doses of antibiotics might just have a deleterious effect on the patient overall.
My step-father, who pulled Dad Duty from not long after my father died until about 20 years later, died, I am certain, as a direct result of the interactions in the cocktail of drugs prescribed by his doctors — by this time another ragtag gaggle of Africans, mostly — but not after going quite mad beforehand. Or if not bibbledy-bibbledy mad, so far sunk into full blown paranoid delusions that it was painful to carry on a conversation with him on anything but the most trivial matters.
My current step-father, ‘Ol’ Number 3,’ a tough, boozy, no-bullsh-t ex-cowboy, experienced runaway heart fibrillations and tremors and pitty-patting for more than four months this year, to the extent that any kind of physical labor would sometimes make him lose consciousness. This was deeply embarrassing to him, and made life extremely difficult for him and my mother. He visited the docs over and over again, several times a week, a situation made more difficult by the 140 km of unpaved road between the fishing lodge where my folks live and the nearest town. Bamboozled, they merely scratched their heads in confusion, and ordered more tests. Finally, after months of this, unable to take it any longer, he just stopped taking his meds (including the new ones the doctors had prescribed), and the problem simply went away.
(There are more stories, and I’m sure you have a few too. C’mon – share!)
To hell with doctors. They can keep their pills and their guesswork. Unless I need a limb sewn back on, I’ll be taking care of myself. This attitude draws great chagrin from the wife, who is a big believer in the power of The Doctor, like most Koreans I’ve known, who tend to run in panic to the nearest doctor (and Korean doctors are a worry in and of themselves, let me tell you) if something flies out of their noses when they sneeze.
I tell her that whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. I’m certain, as she shakes her head in annoyed bemusement, that in her mind she replaces ‘stronger’ with ‘stupider.’
I can live with that.