Friday, April 16, 2010

Gimme the Loot

It was my birthday earlier this week. Just in case any of my students are reading this blog, we’ll say that it was my 45th. I’m not too sensitive about my age, but I am getting anxious about my decreased sex drive, though that may be a side effect from my hair growth medication.

But good news: my body image issues are over, because Gristle’s birthday present to me was this:

Novelty photo holder

Just so we’re all on the same page, this is a bodybuilder’s body with a space on top where you can insert a picture of your face. It’s great. No time to work out? Just print out a picture of your face, put it on a doll, take a picture of the doll, post it on an online singles website, and then use all the new responses you get to bolster your self esteem. Simple solutions for my busy lifestyle. And if anyone asks me why my torso is a radically different color than my face, I’ll say it was a problem with my sunscreen, or an accident involving acid , or that I spend most of my day with my head in a burlap sack. I’d do a lot for those abs.

Speaking of my kicking bod, I was walking down the street with Gristle the other day and he turned to me and said, “Oh, Jon, I’ve realized you have a very well-developed chest.”

If you consider this comment alongside his birthday gift, it seems clear that Gristle and I are moving into the stage of our friendship where he pays me unrealistic compliments about my physical appearance. As long as all this involves is his giving me bodybuilding dolls and saying good things about my chest, I’m happy to stay in this stage of our friendship.

On an unrelated note, the following exchange appeared in my Cantonese textbook today:

“Doctor, I have diarrhea!”
“How long have you had it?”
“Three or four days. It’s quite watery. I only have to go about once a day, but it’s very uncomfortable.”
The sound of a breaking harp-string.

I should say that this follows a pattern I’ve been noticing for a while, namely that Chinese language textbooks (Mandarin ones mostly, but I guess Cantonese ones too) introduce the word for diarrhea ludicrously early. I studied French for a couple years in college and never ran across diarrhée in any of the excerpts from Madame Bovary we had to read, but here I am, still unable to convincingly carry on a conversation in Cantonese about anything except the weather, food, or family relationships, learning how to tell a physician (who for some reason doesn’t speak Mandarin) that I have watery stool.

We all know that the real reason I’m learning Cantonese is to give me some extra points on my online dating profile, but it’s hard to see how the diarrhea dialog would be useful. I also learned how to say “injection in the buttocks” this week, which I’d like to say seems a little more sexy, but frankly that’s a reach.