Archive for the Short Stories Category

Sex vs. Civics

Posted in Articles, Short Stories on October 12, 2011 by Wesley Jansen

I was not sure if I would be able to conclusively prove this or not, but I began to get the subtle notion that the 15-year-old Taiwanese boys in my Civics class were more interested in women than they were in the intricate details of the United States Constitution.

Now, I am generally not a person who likes to jump to conclusions, but the gnawing suspicion that these teenage boys were not 100% interested in the study of American government had begun to saturate my mind with uneasiness. Uneasiness compounded with the undeniable fear that they may actually be more interested in something else…yes…something even more than Civics. Even though I’ll never understand how anybody could ever find anything more interesting than Civics, I still had to allow my mind to accept the possibility that it may be true.

So, I began with a hypothesis. The hypothesis was this:

“15 year-old males [who are forced by law to spend all day in an institutionalized educational structure while subjected to nineteenth century forms of industrial discipline]…are more interested in members of the opposite sex, [namely women], than they are in the intricate details and elaborate workings of the 3-branch governmental structure of the United States.”

I had to be brave at this point and allow myself to realize what this may actually imply. If this hypothesis was tested and found to be true, then it would lead directly to the even more disturbing fact that these students may actually be under the impression that sex is more interesting and fun than a HOLT, RINEHART, and WINSTON-published Civics textbook.

(Dear reader, if this story is becoming more than you can handle at this point, please spare your own sanity and do not read further)

But, even as this disturbing possibility rattled around in my mind like a grenade about to explode, I still had to allow myself to acknowledge the even deeper implications of this dark reality. Since I have spent 7 years earning a Master’s Degree in Education under the absolute, concrete, and firm belief that nothing in all of existence is more interesting or meaningful than the priceless academic knowledge provided by HOLT, RINEHART, AND WINSTON-published textbooks, I had to face the fact that I may have wasted the youthful and flowery years of my early-to-mid 20’s (as well as thousands of tuition dollars) for nothing.

Given my hypothesis that young males are more interested in women than they are in the stimulating details of American government… and the fact that I have been on a life-long crusade to enlighten young minds with HOLT, RINEHART, AND WINSTON-published textbooks, I came to this inevitable conclusion:

“If sex really is more interesting and fun than a HOLT, RINEHART, AND WINSTON-published Civics textbook, then Wesley Jansen’s life is a complete failure” (Any logical person would reach this conclusion, and I definitely consider myself to be a logical person)

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    ARE WOMEN MORE INTERESTING THAN CIVICS?

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I had to think about it for a very long time. Had these students been hiding the fact that they all consider women to be more interesting than the subject I was teaching? It was almost too much to think about…too devastating…too painful.  I tried to push the possibility out of my mind, and I told myself that I was just being paranoid.

But after several weeks of sleepless nights, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to know the truth. And unfortunately, the truth was given to me.

One day there was an all-female school assembly going on in the main lecture hall. Knowing that these female Taiwanese students would soon be entering American Universities, the school had brought in a guest speaker who was going to give a motivational speech (and demonstration) on how Asian woman can successfully ward off the sexual advances of American male fraternity members with the simple yet effective combination of mace, a pair of pliers, and a broken coca-cola bottle.

Needless to say, I purposely kept the classroom door open because I knew there would be lots of female students walking around in the hallway.

And sure enough, just as I was about to surprise and baffle the students with the astounding fact that judiciary procedure requires a case to go through a Court of Appeals before it reaches the Supreme Court…a group of girls wearing jean-shorts walked down the hallway and past the open door of my classroom. And as they did, every single head in my all-male Civics classroom simultaneously turned counter-clockwise away from my lecture podium and toward the open door. I waited for their heads to turn simultaneously clockwise back toward my direction. When they did, an immediate and dreadfully uncomfortable silence settled over the classroom.

As I stared at the students… and as they stared back at me, I knew that the inevitable moment of truth had arrived. I put down my lecture notes and turned off the projector. The silent tension was almost too much to bear, so I decided to talk first. I gave a very stern yet honest look at my students and said this:

“Now Students! I have something very serious to ask you.  Don’t be embarrassed, and don’t try to hide it. Just be honest, and I promise I won’t be angry. Here is my question, … Are all of you more interested in women than you are in the study of the governmental infrastructure of the United States, with its 3 main branches, its amazing system of checks and balances, its historical and legal precedents, and its elaborately written yet flexible constitution?”

They all stared uneasily at their open textbooks, blushing and afraid to say anything. Finally, a student named Tommy Chang, [who had affectionately earned the nick-name, “Ding-Dong,” by half of the female students in the school], got up out of his seat and walked slowly to where I was standing. He gently put his hand on my shoulder and said:

“Dear Teacher Wesley, I am so very sorry to say this…..but….YES, we are more interested in women than we are in the intricate and elaborate workings of the governmental infrastructure of the United States, including all of its historical and legal precedents, as well as its current state of affairs and the implications of its policies on the American citizenry.”

He patted me on the shoulder, and trying to be as comforting as he could, continued…

“We wanted to tell you this a long time ago, but we were afraid that it would hurt your feelings and make you question your career. So we didn’t want to say anything.”

I became a little dizzy at this point as I began to get that dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach…the feeling that I was about to find out the shocking and painful truth…

He continued…

“We think you have done a very good job with your lectures, but please don’t misunderstand us. I am sorry I have to say this to you Mr. Wesley,…

…but we do think that sex is more interesting and fun than the HOLT, RINEHART, AND WINSTON-published Civics textbook that you use in order to teach us… as well as the HOLT, RINEHART, AND WINSTON-published power-point lectures you use every Wednesday and Friday afternoon.”

I was devastated. The hammer had been dropped. I just couldn’t even believe that what I had feared the most had been true all along.

Even though I was shocked, sad, and downtrodden, I realized that this young man had done a very brave and noble thing by being honest with me and by telling me the truth that he and the rest of the class had a preference for beautiful girls rather than textbook-generated knowledge about the ideals of democracy and a 3-branch governmental system based on check and balances.

Even though I realized this, I could still feel the emptiness in the pit of my stomach, and I just stood there…stunned. I couldn’t even get myself to look this honest young man in the face. Throughout my entire life, I had believed that the knowledge provided by HOLT, RINEHART, and WINSTON-published textbooks was the most important and interesting thing in life. And now this belief was shattered in only a matter of seconds. I felt like my entire life had been a lie.

While staring at the tiles on the floor with a dazed expression of endless despair on my face, all I could do was give him a limp handshake and mutter…

“Thank you Mr. Ding-Dong. I appreciate your honesty.”

THE END

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10 Reasons to Quit Your English Teaching Job and Leave a Country

Posted in Articles, Short Stories on October 12, 2011 by Wesley Jansen

If you are an international English teacher with a massive hard-on for adventure, one lesson you’ll eventually learn is that you cannot choose to teach English just anywhere.  There are many bad English schools out there that will do nothing but scam you.  (And of course, the world is littered with dangerous countries, cities, etc.)  In other words, shit can happen to you. 

After spending an intellectually stimulating year of personal growth and enlightenment in South Korea (ie. drinking my ass off; puking almost every weekend; accidentally destroying various forms of property; getting turned down by women from just about every country and culture; eating dog soup without realizing it; and spending an interesting evening in one of those “special” karaoke rooms dancing with 3 drunk Koreans who couldn’t speak English and a half-naked Korean hooker whose nipples could have cut glass)…I decided to “party on” by getting an English teaching job in Istanbul, Turkey.  This turned out to be a BAD FUCKING IDEA!!!

To make a long story short, I lasted less than 2 weeks there.  The school that hired me lied about my teaching hours and about pretty much everything else as well.  In addition to this, the building we had to live in (called a “lojmon”) was an extremely creepy, dormitory-style, 6-floor building in the middle of Taksim Square, which is a rather dangerous tourist area.  Without ranting further, I will just say that everything else was pretty much a big scam.  

These things considered, here is my list of ten reasons to quit your English teaching job and go back home.  If any of these things happen to you…RUN AWAY!!!

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1. The school that has employed you assigns you a co-ed place of residence in the loudest part of the city. You are almost 30 years old, but the policy of your residence hall forbids men from being on women’s floors and women from being on men’s floors. The building is old and decrepit, and the owner has irreversible mental problems.

2. You are told that some guy drank himself to death in your residence hall a few weeks before you arrived.

3. You see other westerners leave the immediate area when a group of local police pass through the street, and you are later informed that the only difference between the local police and the local mafia is that the police have uniforms.

4. On your first visit to the school, your head teacher says, “Welcome to Hell.”

5. On your first visit to the school, you meet another teacher who tells you (with a big, beaming smile of confidence on her face) that she is very strong because she “survived” one full year of teaching at the school.

*6. Upon completion of your first visit to the school, you are privately informed that the school’s head office has become aware that you have a “drinking problem.” You are also told that the only reason they know this is because the owner of your residence hall spies on the teachers who live there and reports them to the head office. You are then told that your best option is to leave your residence hall as soon as possible and find your own place.  (You are told this right before someone pick-pockets your newly purchased cell phone)

7. You would like to leave your residence hall and find your own place, but you meet other western teachers who are willing to sleep in other people’s hallways in order to avoid getting scammed by local landlords.

8. You tell your new students that you taught English in South Korea last year, and they predict that you will probably want to go back there in about 2 months.

9. You become so used to the school lying to you about your contract, your teaching hours, and your living conditions that you become slightly nervous whenever you suspect that they might be telling you the truth about something.

and finally…

10. You are walking up the long, narrow, spiral stairway of your 6-floor residence hall with a couple of your fellow teachers. One of them is holding onto the thick wooden rail leading up the stairs when suddenly a large chunk of it comes off in her hand. You all laugh gleefully at the incident…but deep down you start to wish that you had a hard hat, a rope, and a degree in archaeology…because you get that uncomfortable, instinctive feeling that if you stand in the wrong place of your residence hall, you will crash through several floors and layers of earth only to find yourself in a deep, dark, underground labyrinth full of dead teachers who used to work for the school at which you are now currently employed.

*A further note about #6:

I still consider number 6 to be a point of contention. What does “drinking problem” really mean, anyway? The phrase, “drinking problem,” means so many different things to so many different people. I was accused of having a “drinking problem,” but they never gave me their definition of what they consider a “drinking problem” to be. I remember that night very well, and I didn’t have ANY problem drinking my 17 beers.

And…just because I drank 17 beers, went back to my residence hall, walked up the stairs, and urinated off the 6th floor balcony onto the street accidentally hitting a group of angry-looking rival Turkish gangsters which in turn caused an amazing chain-reaction of events that resulted in two gun-fights, three massive street brawls, a few burning buildings, a small riot, four people dead, and numerous others permanently injured…is still no reason to get all upset about things. I mean, we all make mistakes sometimes, right? (Well, just replace the words “we all” with the word “I” and the word “sometimes” with the word “repeatedly.”) But either way, it’s no use crying over spilt milk. Whatever happened to “Forgive and Forget?” I forgave myself for the incident, and I’m willing to forget about it…so why won’t the Turkish community?

I guess some people just can’t let go of the past.

THE HELPLESS FEELING OF BEING IN LOVE…PART 1

Posted in Articles, Korea-Inspired Material, Short Stories on March 2, 2011 by Wesley Jansen

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Introduction

“The single young man can build a comfortable fortress of indifference from which he can observe relationships as an unbiased spectator”

I have gone through many significant personal changes since I’ve been in Korea. It’s amazing how being a foreigner in another country can teach you a lot about yourself, yet it is even more amazing how you go through personal changes that you couldn’t possibly predict. My dear friend and reader, I would like to invite you, once again, into one of the many fascinating experiences I have recently had here in Korea. Please read my words and consider my thoughts, for I am ever-compelled to share my feelings with you. Let us walk together as I tell you about my dramatically changed perspective on love and relationships.

……….

On the plane ride to South Korea, I truly wondered how I would emotionally adapt to being alone in a strange environment. More specifically, I wondered if I would find a significant other, a beautiful and sensitive young woman to share my experiences with, someone to be with me so that I wouldn’t get lonely. I must confess that during my first month here, I kept hoping that I would meet someone special. I was very uneasy about being alone. Every morning when I woke up I would ask myself, “Will today finally be the day when I meet her?”

But as time went on, my feelings began to change. I slowly began to stop anticipating when I would find someone else, and I found that being alone was not so bad. After learning how to get around the city of Changwon and do things on my own, I began to recognize the value of my freedom to use my spare time to do whatever I felt like doing. In fact, I learned to really cherish it.

While I was in this process of becoming emotionally independent, I began to look at relationships differently. When I lived in the States, being single all the time actually bothered me. Not only was I lonely, but I also felt like such an outsider because it seemed like everyone else I knew had a significant other. Whenever someone would ask me if I had a girlfriend, I would say no and then feel embarrassed. I really thought that I was strange for being single, and I always wondered if I was that one piece of the puzzle that just didn’t fit anywhere. It was almost as if I was an unusual specimen to be observed by other people who were in relationships, like I was an example of “what NOT to be like.”

A couple of months in Korea changed all that. I no longer cared if I was perceived as being strange for not having a girlfriend. (Hell, I’m already strange to everyone here because I’m a foreigner.) And I didn’t feel bad about being single…I loved being single!! I loved making my own plans, going on my own whims, and structuring my free time as I wanted. I felt free as a bird because I could enjoy my own imagination and my solitude. I thought it was so ironic that I learned to enjoy being single in a country that is just as romantic as it is mysterious. And believe me, Korea is a romantic country. (Well…South Korea is anyway) Married couples get along very well, and it is easy to see that they have built relationships based on mutual love, warmth, affection, and strong family ties. Younger couples constantly walk down my street at night holding hands, and it seems like the majority of Korean songs, both traditional and modern, are about passion, love, and romance.

So there I was, in a country full of romance, and I wasn’t making the slightest effort to start a relationship with anyone. Despite the abundance of beautiful and intelligent women, I was content to just sit back and observe other couples. I thought I was such a strong and unique person to be able to observe a happy couple and to take delight in the fact that they had found each other without feeling jealous or lonely.

As I continued to develop this inner-peace within my own solitude, I also reflected on my own personality. I thoughtfully acknowledged the reality that I have certain elements of my personality that would actually make it difficult for a woman to have a relationship with me. I have a very strange imagination, and my mind often wanders off on its own. Because of this, I tend to become withdrawn and absent-minded in social situations, and people can easily perceive me as insincere because I don’t always pay attention. I also tend to forget things that people tell me about themselves due to the fact that I am usually lost in my own little world. This would be very aggravating to a significant other, and I realized that this would fuel the perception that I wasn’t emotionally involved in the relationship. In addition to this, I also acknowledged that many of my personal habits, namely smoking and drinking, do not appeal to young, healthy, intelligent women. And it doesn’t take an active imagination to understand how these two behaviors alone can create multiple inconvenient problems in a relationship.

But personality weaknesses aside, I also had to accept the fact that I was very selfish about my own needs and wants, that I didn’t want to change anything about my personality or behavior to accommodate anyone else, and that I was too wrapped up in my own individuality to share my time or my feelings with someone. In a strange way, and I even chuckle at this, I got the idea that keeping myself single would benefit both me and the opposite sex. I would be free to explore and enjoy my own strange mind without frustrating someone else with my impulsive, absent-minded behavior or letting them down in any other way.

Strangely, I began to perceive relationships as a burden. I suppose it was because I projected my own unique needs and wants onto the couples I was observing. I asked myself, “How can all these people be truly happy when they have to devote so much time, energy, and emotion into another person?” I imagined that these individuals would have very little free time to do what they wanted to do or even to explore their own interests. I also pondered the emotional strain of being in a relationship, and I asked myself, “How can any of them be happy when they have to compromise so much by investing their love in another person who may let them down or disappoint them? How can they find inner-peace when they allow themselves to become so vulnerable by trusting someone else with their feelings and emotions?”

I continued thinking about these things, and I really am sorry to confess this, but I even began to perceive myself as better than they were. I allowed my own foolish pride to take over as I began to think of myself as some kind of “bad ass” because I was so strong, tough, and independent that I didn’t need a special someone in my life. Yes, there I was, in a romantic country full of happy couples, thinking, “I’m Wesley Jansen, master of my own fate. I’m so tough that I don’t need love or personal attention, or any of that emotional garbage.” And I thought, “Hey. The world is too interesting for love anyway. There is too much to see, too much to do, and too much to explore. To Hell with love, I’m going to be Indiana Jones!!” Little did I know that I was about to have yet another change of perspective…

There is a small mountain in Changwon that I often like to climb on weekends. In fact, the city of Changwon is cradled within a valley of beautiful mountains. Mountain climbing is a very popular activity in this city as there are numerous mountains to choose from. Because all of the mountains have hiking trails and rest areas, anybody can climb them for exercise and leisure. It is not uncommon to see elderly people, young people, and even families on any given mountain trail. All of the mountains have small parks. These small parks are actually kind of neat. They have benches to sit on, water fountains, and even exercise equipment such as chin-up bars, bench press stations, monkey bars, incline benches for sit-ups and stretching, and sometimes even hula hoops. All in all, they are very quaint little outdoor recreation areas.

The small mountain I frequently climb also has one of these at its base. The mountain itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to climb, which makes it a very convenient area for brief exercise or even just a place to enjoy the outdoors. (without the strenuous physical activity of climbing a bigger mountain)

One Sunday afternoon, I decided to go and climb my favorite little mountain so that I could enjoy my newly found pride and individuality in a beautiful place with lovely weather. I walked from my apartment to the mountain, which took about 25 minutes, and I did a few chin-ups in the small park at the base of the mountain before I began climbing.

The scenery at the top of the mountain was just as fascinating as it always was. I could see the entire city, with all of its tall buildings and houses, from a view that was unobstructed by the numerous trees that decorate the mountain. I remember thinking, “Wow! I can see the entire city, and the view is all mine…the view is all mine, just like the rest of my life…it’s all mine, it belongs to me and me alone.” I was truly pleased with myself for finally obtaining a solid, individualistic perspective that would permit me the power to create my own experiences without worrying about someone else.

With this state of mind, I began my descent….

THE HELPLESS FEELING OF BEING IN LOVE…PART 2

Posted in Articles, Korea-Inspired Material, Short Stories on March 2, 2011 by Wesley Jansen

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Upon returning to the park at the base of the mountain, I decided to rest my body and sit on one of the benches overlooking the rest of the park. I sat there for a while and just watched several small groups of Korean people going about their routines. Some were drinking from the fountains, some were reading books, and some were even walking their dogs. Everyone in the park was pretty much minding their own business, so I opened my small green backpack (which I always take with me to the mountains) and took out a book to read. It was a book about ancient and modern philosophies. I read for over an hour. As evening began to settle in, I put my book away and was about to get up and leave when I suddenly noticed a young Korean couple sitting on a bench about 40 feet opposite me. The young man, who couldn’t have been older than 25 years old, had a handsome, slender face and short black hair. The young woman, about the same age, was absolutely stunning. She had big brown eyes and long, straight black hair that went down past her shoulders. They both had medium builds with heights near 5 feet, 9 inches, and they both had perfect features. My very first glance at them told me the entire story. They were holding hands and looking deeply into each other’s eyes, completely oblivious to me, everyone else in the park, and the rest of the world as well.

I wanted to leave, but I found that I could not take my eyes off them. They just sat there looking at each other as moments went by, lost in each other’s gaze. The young woman moved her hand behind the young man’s head and began to gently caress his hair as she drew his face closer to hers. They then proceeded to softly rub their noses together like two deer in a mystical forest. Without a care in the world, they rose from their park bench and started dancing slowly, moving their bodies in perfect rhythmic harmony to the music of their own souls. The young man had his hands around her waist while his head rested comfortably on her shoulder. She had her eyes closed, and her cheek was pressed lovingly against the side of his head as she continued to caress his hair and his neck. I couldn’t believe that I was even watching two individuals. Every movement they made was in such perfect harmony that I truly wondered if I was witnessing the movements of two bodies occupied by one soul. It was clear that they were no ordinary couple. They were inseparable.

As I kept watching them, I was drawn further and further into their world. I was like a welcome visitor who was allowed to observe the beauty and mystery of their love. The softness of her loving caress and the bewildering depth of her soul-penetrating brown eyes created the soothing bed of feathers upon which his spirit rested. I could hardly blame him for submitting to her eyes…eyes that exerted impelling yet pleasing dominance over the rationality of his thoughts, the changing seasons of his emotional being, and the vulnerability of his human heart…for those eyes could halt the wildest ocean storm. I could see that it was a cosmic impossibility for him to escape the magnetic force of those luminous, sad brown eyes…eyes that contained his entire world…and I knew that he would experience infinite languishing if he were separated from her. And if they were never together again, he would remember her sweet fragrance…and it would bring a waterfall of tears.

I could no longer escape. I was hopelessly drawn in by the unique and powerful aura that encompassed this eminent couple. In some strange and mysterious way, I was able to obtain a full sense of how deeply these two felt about each other. All the hidden secrets of the world, from the blue skies above to the depths of the oceans below, did not concern this young man. He would give them all up just to hold her in his arms for but a brief moment. And she as well, would cast away a glorious lifetime of experiences, with every promised moment of individual happiness and indeed the very feeling of soaring through the stars above, just to hold him close and calm the rhythm of his beating heart.

While I was in a state of being completely absorbed by this couple, a strange feeling slowly overtook me. It felt as though some hidden essence from within me rose from the pit of my stomach, tugged gently at my heart, and sent small mild waves of tenderness throughout my entire being. I could feel my chest tighten a little bit as a small lump began forming in my throat. Suddenly, my eyes began to well up, and my lips began to tremble. I had to look away for a moment…I had to regain my composure or else they would realize that I was watching them. I tried to focus my thoughts on rational things to calm myself down. Anything, anything…my weekend plans, my goals for the future, my favorite books, my favorite movies…anything! All of a sudden I heard innocent giggles of joy. I looked up and saw the two of them laughing delightfully at a couple of small puppy dogs that were blissfully playing and pawing at each other in a small patch of grass nearby. As the puppies continued tumbling around and pawing at each other, like young puppies often do, I kept watching the young couple. They chuckled at the two puppies for a few moments…and then…their eyes turned slowly toward one another…and they embraced each other in a kiss that could make the sun rise.

I was subdued gently by their harmonious, exquisite happiness…swept away by their captivating, youthful companionship…and settled gracefully within the easy confines of my own solitary existence. I realized that I had become hopelessly lost within the sweetness of the moment. And when I found myself again, sitting silently on my lonely mountain bench, I reflected on my own situation, I looked deeply inward, and I calmly and quietly asked myself a very serious question…

“What if this couple were suddenly blasted off the face of the Earth by some unknown, truculent entity and hurled ridiculously across the Universe and directly into a black hole only to be spewed out into a horrifying reality dominated by ugly, vengeful, man-eating spider-fish monkeys?”

I stared at the dirt by my shoes and pondered this question with much concern. When I looked up at the couple and saw that they were still holding each other, I found that instead of being “captivated” by their “companionship,” I was actually quite annoyed with them. I was annoyed with them because it dawned on me that they had never even given serious thought to this question. It was as if they weren’t even worried about it at all!! I became more and more pissed off at them. Who the hell did they think they were, anyway? Were they so damn special that it could never happen to them? Did they have some kind of special “divine” protection against the spider-fish monkeys? As these questions ran through my mind, my frustration at their lack of concern for this issue turned into a deep, cold anger. I asked myself, “What would happen to their precious love if they were actually cast into the world of the spider-fish monkeys? Would they still hold each other so close if they were being relentlessly pursued by multitudes of seven-foot tall bloodthirsty creatures with eight giant spider legs, monkey torsos with monkey arms and monkey hands, and football-sized fish heads with razor-sharp teeth?” And I answered myself, “Yes, of course they would because they’re just so damned better than everyone else!”

Much to my surprise, I suddenly began to wish that they WERE being chased by spider-fish monkeys. “YES,” I said to myself. “That would put a swift end to their”…I suddenly realized that they were both looking at me, both with perplexed and somewhat concerned expressions on their faces. But I didn’t care. I was furious, and I was going to let them both have a piece of my mind. I got up and threw my green backpack on the ground. I pointed at the young man, and in a language he didn’t understand, shouted,

“You foolish young lover!! Will you retain that lethargic, tranquil, love lost countenance when you come face to face with those merciless, unfeeling fish eyes…fish eyes that crave nothing more than to trample you with spider legs and feast on you with monkey hands before swallowing your soul deep down into a cold, fishy, dark, watery abyss of insubstantiality?”

Then I pointed to the young woman, and in a language she didn’t understand, shouted,

“And you!! You hopeless ‘love stricken’ young woman!! Will you still hold this young man close to you with the deepest, most secretive depths of your passionate love when he confronts that spidery, fishy abomination with all the courage and bravery of a four-year old girl? And will he still retain that cherished place as the true love of your eternal heart when you see him run away…screaming wildly and urinating himself uncontrollably …as those eight spider legs dance gleefully after him?”

Needless to say, the young couple took their leave from my presence…with a very hurried pace. And I thought to myself, “Yes, that’s right. You’ll both be moving a lot faster than that when the spider-fish monkeys are after you.” I could see it vividly in my own mind. The couple is stranded in a vast desert: no food, no water; no plants, no trees; no beautiful rivers, no magnificent mountains; no little puppies, no pretty flowers…and no hope…just spider-fish monkeys.

I had no doubt in my mind that the very first spider-fish monkey they encountered would immediately attack the young man. Why? Because he is bigger and would provide more food. Also, he will run faster, which would make it even more fun to catch him. I could see it happening…

“Running desperately through the sand, the young man tries to escape the eight-legged monster. Any thought or concern for his lovely female counterpart now completely vanishes as the unholy beast looms larger and larger behind him. He runs faster, he screams louder, he cries harder…and then he trips… Clumsily, he tumbles to the ground, face-first into the hot, unforgiving sand. Just as he tries to get up, he is trampled by the creature and knocked around hopelessly within a violent hurricane of spider legs. He lies on his back, bruised and bleeding. The spider-fish monkey bends down gracefully, all eight spider-legs shift appropriately to accommodate its upper-body, as it grabs the helpless lover off the ground. Clutching him firmly with powerful monkey hands, the creature brings him closer and closer to its ugly fish head with its cold, dead fish eyes. It opens its fish mouth and bears all of its razor-sharp, prehistoric fish teeth. The doomed lover tries to utter one last pathetic little sand-choked scream as his face is brought closer and closer to those horrible fish teeth from Hell. He can smell his own cold, fishy death right in front of him as the spider-fish monkey opens wide and then… … …”

Ok. I’m going to stop here because I realize that this lovely bit of fiction is starting to show you how demented I am. But since it is already embarrassingly apparent that I either have numerous, irreversible psychological problems or I am just a profoundly hopeless asshole, I may as well provide some insight into the inspiration I used to create this wonderful little work of art. The cute couple I observed was not actually in a mountain park. I observed them on a bus as I was going to some Korean city the name of which I cannot spell, pronounce, or even remember. (Whatever city it was, I had a good time) The couple was sitting in the seats just in front of me, and I was sitting in one of the seats in the very back of the bus. My seat was elevated, so I was easily able to observe them. They were a couple of teenagers, and it did truly seem that it would have taken a couple of pry bars to separate them. In other words, they were the closest couple I had yet seen in Korea.

I could tell immediately that I was gaining some “writer’s inspiration” from watching them. But before I wrote this, I had to ask myself, “Do I really want to devote and exhaust my artistic abilities describing the most romantic couple on the face of the Earth only so that I can heartlessly plunge them into a black hole and have them devoured by imaginary creatures?” After a thorough questioning of my morals and personal values, and after much soul-searching, the answer was…ABSOLUTELY!!

After all, wouldn’t they do the same thing to me if they had the chance? Let us consider this very seriously by asking ourselves the following rhetorical question: If it is completely possible that I, as a single person, can observe couples who are happily in love and then sacrifice a tremendous amount of precious time and energy constructing an imaginary world in which they meet their humiliating doom…is it not also completely possible that they would observe me and construct a similar (if not worse) fate for me? After a considerable amount of personal reflection on this matter, I would have to say that the answer is…ABSOLUTELY!!

And why, you may ask, would I do such a thing to them? Because I have nothing better to do…and I think it is tremendously funny.

And why, you may ask, would they do such a thing to me? Because secretly they are really bored with each other, their public displays of affection are nothing more than a deceptive mask they wear every day that ironically fools only them into thinking they actually like each other, they have nothing better to do…and they think it is tremendously funny.

But far be it from me to claim that romance and true love do not exist. For I have no doubt in my mind that every couple that stays together has a hidden spark deep down that will burst into a flame of passion at just the right moment. And I always pride myself on being able to see the positive things in life. So after I was delightfully granted the opportunity to observe those enchanting young lovers on the bus, so romantically enthralled within each other’s warm and caring embrace, I thoughtfully formulated 4 ways in which I could use the inspiration I so blessedly received from them. I could:

A) Devote my time and energy to helping others and improving the lives of those around me by engaging in socially meaningful activities.

B) Improve my personality so that I could spread blessed cheerfulness to others and strive to awaken the beautiful radiance of many smiling faces.

C) Absorb myself in a captivating, spiritually enlightening book that would enhance my knowledge, bring out the best of my spirit, and transform my outlook on life in such a way that I would embrace each and every morning as a new opportunity to change the world in my own small, humble way…

-OR-

D) Ruthlessly cast this couple into an ugly world full of horrible, repulsive creatures that would cold-heartedly tear down the sweet fortress of their love by frightening the young man so bad that he urinates himself and runs away terrified, only to be trampled on and then eaten by razor-sharp, prehistoric fish teeth.

I submitted myself to a lengthy personal struggle as I sought the inner-truth that would guide me on the right path… and a big, beaming smile broke out across my face as I began to see the light.

With a sparkle in my eye,
an overwhelming amount of joy in my heart,
and a sweet little tear of happiness rolling down my cheek,

I chose option D

The End