Saturday, December 22, 2007

Top Ten Mysteries of the Orient

10. Why can't Korean doctors prescribe a full course of antibiotics? Why make you come back every three days?

9. Where did Koreans get the idea that no pizza is complete without corn and sweet potatoes? It's tough to get a pizza that doesn't feature at least one of those toppings, even if you don't order it. While we're at it, why can't they make pizzas to order? Why must you stick only with their pre-ordained combos? Which, again, tend to include corn or sweet potatoes.

8. What's with Koreans and their love of wet floors? Why can't the shower drain in the shower? I nearly broke my neck this morning stepping into my bathroom, because it had slipped my mind (ha!) that after a shower, my entire floor is sopping wet for hours because the shower stall drains out into the bathroom. The main drain is under the sink. I'm just glad I finally got an apartment that doesn't have a washing machine that drains onto the floor, like my last three apartments.

7. Would it kill Koreans to put erasers on their pencils? I pass out pencils to my students and two seconds later I'm bombarded with pleas for erasers. I used to keep a supply of erasers in my basket but I got sick of the kids bouncing them off the floor and started just saying, "If you make a mistake, cross it out. And when you grow up, become a pencil manufacturer and put erasers on the ends of the stupid things!"

6. While we're on the topic of Korean pencils, could they improve the overall quality just a bit? The leads are ill-centered and fragile. One Korean pencil is usually good for three or four sharpenings and then it's nothing but a stub. And you have to sharpen them constantly because the leads break all the time. Conspicuous consumption has found its acme in the Korean pencil industry. Which may be why they don't bother putting erasers on them. You're going to throw the darned thing out before you have a chance to use the eraser anyway.

5. Other than the drunks, who smell like soju and kimchi, Koreans don't smell bad. How to they manage that in a country where you can't buy underarm deodorant?

4. Why are the standard envelopes in Korea too small to fit a standard sheet of paper into unless you fold it into strange configurations?

3. While we're on the subject of envelopes, why don't Koreans gum the darned flaps? You have to seal them with Scotch tape. See pencils and erasers, above. And why don't they gum their postage stamps? You have to glue them to the envelopes.

2. Why do Koreans put sugar on garlic bread?

And the Number One Mystery of the Orient:

1. How can a country so oblivious of safety be so densely poplated? Given the number of Koreans that must be flung through windshields because they never wear seatbelts, having their necks snapped when they roller-blade down the stairs, crushed between their mom and the dashboard because they ride on her lap, hit by the cars that get the signal to turn onto a street just as pedestrians are getting the green light to cross it, killed by falling material in constrution sites that pedestrians are free to wander through, run off the road by maniacal bus drivers, electrocuted by ungrounded outlets, and flattened and killed skatboarding without helmets in traffic, it's a wonder there are any of them left to reproduce.

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