How lovely! Do you suppose there’s a Port-o-potty at the top?
Fireworks rocketed heavenward, fizzling and popping, exploding into colour and light. They shone across the curvaceous roof of the Golden Temple, out across the nearby streets, and all throughout Amritsar. Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim alike were celebrating the festival of lights under a blanket of stars, walking barefoot in the night, necks craned back to scoop up so much of the fiery sky.
It was beautiful and serene and majestic. At least, I’m pretty sure it was, as I mostly watched through my hotel window.
A day before I had ordered something called “stuffed potatoes” at a restaurant, assuming that it would be maybe one potato, jammed full of spinach and curd and curry paste. In fact it was a half-dozen potatoes, stuffed with this and other such delicious detritus, and also possibly rocks and moustachio trimmings and shaved gold, and I felt duty-bound to at least make some sort of valiant attempt to consume the mighty offering placed before me. It seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea at the time.
More times than I can count, I have been assured that various mediocre-to-disgusting foods are basically really good for my wang. No one will say these things outright: everyone decides to play coy, like we’re in an erectile dysfunction medication commercial or Victorian England, and thus everything is covered in sheathes of euphemism. But the message is still clear. Eat these squid brains: they’re good for man. Good for man strength. Good for speed. Good for stamina. Good for staying power. Good for man health. Depending on who I’m talking to, these turns of phrase are accompanied with various nudges to try and make sure I’m getting the point, in case I don’t understand figurative language. A wink, a nod, an actual nudge. Once, a coworker said the food we just ate was good for man, and after several moments of consideration, pointed, with both hands, to his crotch to illustrate. Just to make sure I got it.
Take 34 of these and call me in the morning.
What I had been wilfully denying as a real threat to my health, claiming it to be a cough, a minor cold, just a reaction to the air quality, finally drove me to a doctor’s office. In actuality, I had decided to stalwartly endure all the breathing problems: I’ve had asthma and various and sundry kinds of bronchitis throughout my life (in grade 4, I had the “100-Day Cough” which is exactly what it sounds like), and no pitiful phlegmatic expulsions were going to get me down. It was the sudden onslaught of an ear-infection that made me whimper and seek out the medical profession, where my entire head was declared largely infected, and also I had bronchitis in both lungs. And thus began my interaction with the intriguing and bewildering world of Korean medicine.