Wednesday, October 15
A teacher in one of the other offices gave me a sausage. I don't know why. It came in a golden wrapper that was covered with brightly colored, childish Korean writing. When I started to eat this strange gift, I noticed that, hidden among the Korean characters, there was a message written in English. It said simply, "Be Patient." Naturally, I thought this was bizarre. I asked the other teachers why a sausage would advise me to be patient. They discussed it, becoming increasingly offended by the ambiguity of the message. They had never even seen English writing on these sausage wrappers; presumably, due to their impatience. I explained that the message might have been poorly translated from Korean. It was probably meant to advise the person that purchased the sausage to eat it slowly, not to choke. Or maybe it was recommending that the consumer patiently keep the crab flavored sausage in his or her pocket for a while, which would gently warm it and make it more delicious. The teachers continued their debate. Mr. Kim became determined to find the sexual innuendo that he thought was hidden in the sausage label's advice, "the sausage is... the symbol of man, no?" There was this feeling that the world was betraying us. Even sausage labels are supposed to be chosen in some sort of logical manner. And this is especially true in Korea. Chang-Ju, a Chinese teacher, finally gave up and called the company. The person who answered told him that the words on the sausage label were not meant to convey an eternal truth, but that the company prints random phrazes on its labels to teach some simple English to the kids that buy their products. I didn't want to know that. Chang-Ju blew it. And the sausage wasn't very good. It looked like cheese. Be patient.
at 10:22 AM