Warnings in January 2006

I’ve got a sister that just kicks ass. She applied to early admission to one of those old and prestigious east coast schools, and not only did she get in, but she got a scholarship that dwarfs my pay—bad comparison. My pay is so low that her college book fees put it to shame. The scholarship’s huge, whatever, she’s the queen. I don’t know her that well because we haven’t lived in the same house since she was still watching Barney on TV, but I can be confident and write that she works like a pig looking for truffles. She writes her homework assignments on paper, reads throughout the summer, plays sports, heads the student council, goes in early for extra classes, and prepares for tests. Me? I used to steal from my stepfather’s penny jar to go to the movies, copy my homework on the hallway floor, bronze myself on the beach, memorize formulae five minutes beforehand, read statistics on the sports page, and used to get screamed at by my Spanish teacher for exposing too much skin. It was the fashion. Give me a break, and I had a fit bod; didn’t study at all, but did train with reckless abandon. Then I went to university: I organized parties, got the garbage cans of punch, made beer bongs, invited the bands, printed fliers, and got my house put on probation for flashing my ass out the window. Some things never change I guess. What I am trying to say is that though my sister and I have the same juice flowing through our veins, we’re not that alike—academically speaking. For the past year you have seen my inadequacies, and I tell you that they aren’t going to stop anytime too soon. Slowly but surely, I’m learning; bear with me. I warn you all to keep learning as well.

You see, I was on the internet the other day, and some dude was just going off on something. He was talking about this guy’s disgusting habits, and that girl’s bad breath. Then I came to a complete halt. “Jung Wa isn’t what it…” What the hell is “Jung Wa”? Oh, he means Zhong Guo—China. What a complete idiot. Fine, fine, fine, we can all be forgiven for our shortcomings, but we should at least be aware of them ourselves. Here was this guy on the internet spouting off about this and that, and he couldn’t even do the simplest pinyin. That’s like going off on a movie after only seeing the trailer. Wait a minute, I’m supposed to be the idiot. Alright, I guess I am. It has taken me eleven years to speak the gutter Chinese I do, and when I got here if you didn’t speak, you went hungry. I didn’t study because I wanted to, I learned because I had to. If you don’t have the time, and are a little bit smarter than me, then do yourselves a favor, and study a few things before going there or coming here. We’re not dogs—learn new tricks. Go sis, you’re the queen!

By Tim Hoerle