[ITAEWON WANDERINGS]A Hite, Hite Christmas

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[ITAEWON WANDERINGS]A Hite, Hite Christmas

Chances are, if you're a single expatriate and reading this, you'll have a blue Christmas.

All your co-workers will be home for Christmas. Their families and friends can count on them. You wanted to save a few bucks. You're all alone.

It looks bleak.

But you can still make it memorable. It's Christmas Eve -- don't stay in and watch movies on AFN. Think about it: When your friends call to ask what you did for Christmas, they don't want to hear a synopsis of "White Christmas," and how Danny Kaye's Phil is the perfect foil to Bing Crosby's Bob. They want to hear how you got drunk with total strangers.

There are festive things to do, so you will have to do them. Santa Claus is coming to town, so you will need to paint it.

Don't worry, all the Itaewon bars will be open, and plenty of other lonely people will be there, wishing they were somewhere else.

Try Geckos, Seoul Pub or Nashville. Sit and order a cup of cheer, and down it in due course. Order another, and one more for your new friend next to you.

Now you've got an ear. When the time is right, tell him the greatest Xmas joke of all time:

"Knock knock."

(Prompt him to say) "Who's there?"

"Mary."

"Mary who?"

"Mary Christmas."

Now you're a witty fellow, and it's his turn to buy you a drink. If he objects, try another classic: "Why does Santa Claus go down the chimney?

"Because it soots him."

That should do it. If he tries to avoid getting that drink for you by matching you joke for joke, just sigh after each of his and say, "Oh, you sleigh me."

Once you've got your buzz on, get away from the bars with all the brass, and move to those with all the yuletide spirit -- the hostess bars.

Don't laugh. If it feels wrong, just ask yourself, "Where would Jesus go?" The hostess bars are the most Christian places in town. Go in and look around. You'll find a Bible, guaranteed -- probably on the counter. The girls read scripture between bilking you out of your bankroll. And they're doing you a big favor: Jesus said rich men can't get into heaven, unless they ride there on really skinny camels.

Several hours later, with your cash almost spent and your Visa scuffed from the swiping, it will be time to make Christmas really special. First, pick up a few things. Stagger into 7-Eleven and buy six cans of Hite, a disposable camera and a dried cuttlefish. Then swing by KFC and strip the Santa Claus suit off of Colonel Sanders. Start walking home, but stop as soon as you see a car parked under what passes for a pine tree. Climb up on the car -- steady -- and snap the top off the tree. Haul the booty home, grinch.

Once home, prop the tree in the corner. Then don the suit and down the Hites. With string, hang the cans from the tree -- Christmas balls. Then tie the squid to the top of the tree -- star. Then stand before the tree and snap some self-portraits.

On future Christmas Eves, with your family, you won't have to tell the jokes. Just show the photos.

by Mike Ferrin

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