Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Today has been strange. I woke up and saw William on the way to work and noted that he was looking rather dapper in his sweater vest and tie.

Then my returned-to-America friend Tricia sent me a picture of one Cass Hite, a Utah prospector who named the pass he found in the Colorado River the "Dandy Crossing." Cass and Hite are the top two beers available in Korea. While I'm no fan of the 맥주 (maekju, or beer in Korean), I am told by those that are that their taste resembles the urine of a well-hydrated high school boy who has just come off the soccer field. I believe this from the smell. Needless to say, they are quite the joke amongst the English speakers here, especially those hailing from Ireland who even scoff at Guinness as wimpy.

The existence of a man named Cass Hite is just improbable. I would have said impossible, but there he was. Putzing about in Utah before it was all Mormon. Naming stuff "Dandy Crossing."

When I repeated that William was "dapper" at work, my co-teacher immediately asked what that word means. I explained it using the word "dandy" as a synonym.

"But doesn't that have a little bit of a negative connotation?" She asked, shocked.

I suppose calling William a bit of a girly-man would be far from the worst thing I've called him, so I simply explained that I just use a lot of 옛날말 (sort of meaning "old language") in English because of swing dance and a general preference for anything written before 1900. I have explained my "Neato Torpedo" t-shirt in much the same way.

The meaning of words changes over time. Sometimes I feel like my humor related to this truth is forever lost on Koreans who barely understand connotations of words, let alone how they might change over time. Like my "happy" friends and their rainbow car stickers. I'm so glad the rainbow is free to all in Korea, not just those who wish to identify their sexual preference for the same gender openly. I love rainbows... and everything that's over them.

Sometimes Korea is a bit like Oz--mystical and populated mostly by the short. Often in technicolor. I wonder if Mr. Hite would enjoy Korea as much as I do...

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