Friday, November 19, 2010

Gristle Speaks

Great news: The Guangzhou Story is now the number one Google search result for “gristle guangzhou”. Second place goes to a website called Invest Guangzhou, which has this to say on the Gristle Question:

Caizhilin, founded more than 200 years ago during the reign of Emperor Jia Qing (1796-1820) of the Qing Dynasty, produces 12 soup blend series in three categories - glossy ganoderma, fish maw, and shark gristle in light of Guangdong people’s fondness of “long stewed tasty soup”.

I can’t speak for all of Guagndong, but I know Gristle at least has a serious fondness for “long stewed tasty soup”. I mean that in the gayest way possible, if it wasn’t already clear.

A story, from the archives. This happened a while ago, but I didn’t get a chance to write up this story about Gristle because I’ve been busy writing up other stories about Gristle. It’s a surreal Sisyphean experience I live here.

This one’s short, though: Gristle and I were out to dinner with some friends, and since everyone there spoke English, he decided he wanted to try and speak some of his own. Of course this took a while since his English is what could jocularly be called “rusty.” So, as he pulled his English sentences bit by bit from some great linguistic lockbox inside himself, we continued to eat and talk (quietly, don’t want to be rude!) between his words and phrases.

Under these conditions, what would normally be a Gristle line to laugh about and then forget became a slow-motion master class at the Gristle School of comedy. Observe:

“My…friend?”

(“Can you pass the lamb?”)

“went to Hong Kong”

(“Oh, really?”, “Hmm”, “I see”)

“he took an…”

(“Waitress, can you bring some napkins?”)

“exam?”

(“Yes, that’s the right word.”)

“for training.”

(“Training! Great.” Everyone makes appreciative noises to communicate that they have heard and processed his story. And then, just as we’re about to move on to what someone else has to say…)

“Dolphins.”

Gristle’s friend went to Hong Kong to take an exam because he wants to become a dolphin trainer, an anecdote that, as it turns out, becomes much, much funnier if you just take your time.