[ITAEWON WANDERINGS]Gone home to Lurleen

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[ITAEWON WANDERINGS]Gone home to Lurleen

As long as everyone else is bashing America, I'm coming along for the ride. I wasn't able to make it to the big rally downtown Saturday, but I still want to do my part. And I don't want anybody to think I'm pro-American or anything.

A sound that used to be far too commonly heard in Itaewon -- and mostly America's fault -- was the anguished wailing of young Korean women. Until 10 or 15 years ago, every time you walked up Itaewon's notorious hill you'd hear crying and sobbing. You'd ask someone what the poor girl was broken up about. "Oh, same old thing," he'd say. "Her soldier boyfriend went back to the States without telling her."

Back then, the GI's M.O. was to pick up with a beautiful local girl from a poor background. He'd promise to make an honest woman out of her and take her away from all this. She'd see him as a savior from poverty and oppression.

Then, one day, he wouldn't show up for their Friday date. She'd call his phone number -- disconnected. She'd go to his house -- empty. She'd start to call his friends, then realize she didn't know any of them. What else could she do then but go to the hill and howl?

Of course, Americans weren't the only men to pull this kind of stunt. Occasionally the baddie was a Swiss businessman. But let's stay on topic.

Imagine the GI back then, stationed here, lonely and missing the lovely wife or girlfriend he never had. Now put some flames around his head to make him look more evil. There, that's it.

Stop a second. Don't make him black, make him white. We want to keep this exercise in prejudice politically correct. Now give him a snarl. No, not an Elvis one, a mean one. Now turn off all the lights and make him hold a flashlight under his face.

Excellent.

Give him a big nose, and think how he's using far more tissue than the average human on the planet, and is then responsible for the shrinking of the rain forests.

Naturally, he's a member of the National Rifle Association, so put him in a T-shirt with that baby-killing organization's logo. Imagine him laughing every time he reads about a school shoot-up. If he can read.

Don't forget tattoos. "Born to Kill," on one bicep, is a given. On the other, put a crude heart with a cruder girl's name inside, like "Lurleen" (a cousin).

He doesn't like Korea, and still doesn't know much about it. Oh, he's seen "Platoon," but don't ask him to find Korea on the globe. When he says "Korea," he stresses the first syllable, not the second.

His favorite sport is pro wrestling. He thinks soccer is what you do to your wife when she's late with dinner.

That's good, he's done. But for good measure, chant words like "arrogant," "unilateral" and "Kyoto."

Thank God, and thanks to the money a growing economy brings in, the wails began to subside in the late 1980s, when Seoul staged the Olympics, and were gone by about '93. And today, despite Jay Leno's racist jokes and Washington's unilaterally-imposed tariffs on Korean steel, very few local women are desperate enough to date a (white) GI.

by Brian Lee

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