Fat Guy at 12 O'Clock!

Goofing around at the Gold Coast Hotel The Herba-DeathLife fanatics are alive and well in Hong Kong.

Twice I've had losers standing on street corners wearing Lose Weight - Ask Me How buttons spy me walking down the sidewalk. These people nearly have had heart attacks getting over to me, drooling over the possibility of me as a potential victim prospect for their Wunder-Produkt of the Week.

I could stand to miss a few meals, but I hardly qualify as obese. These morons have zero tact.

"Look! Fat guy at 12 o'clock! Get him!"

I can read their minds before they open their mouths: Look! Fat guy at 12 o'clock! Get him! I've found people have no compunctions about telling you about your flaws.

It's just one of the joys of living in a culture where you are the interloper, the infidel, the foreign devil.

· ƒ ·

One of the meals I could stand to miss is dim sum, but it's hard to give up, and interesting things happen there.

I noticed the restaurant staff scurrying about dropping wrapped toothpicks at every table. A few minutes later, they brought around little holders filled with these same toothpicks. Normally, these holders are on the table, as toothpicks are used by most Hong Kongers at the end of the meal. But this day, it looked as though someone forgot to put them out.

I started thinking about it, imagining this conversation (loosely translated, according to Chinese grammar) between the restaurant manager and the toothpick manufacturer:

"You make me lost my face!"

Manager: Toothpick are where? Already open business, no have toothpick. Customer need! You make me lost my face!

Maker: Sorry, Sir, Sorry! Big delay wood shipment. Toothpick plant behind schedule one day. Everybody hurrying make more!

Manager: No have toothpick 30 minute, big trouble! Customer complain, no come back!

Maker: Toothpick coming now! Driver deliver you 10 minute, don't worry!

Manager: Happen again, we must change supplier!

Maker: You are biggest customer! Don't want lose business. We guarantee toothpick every day! Sorry, Sir! Sorry! Sorry!

Just in time, the restaurant received the toothpicks, the customers were able to pick their teeth, and the manager saved face. All was well.

See what I'd miss if I went on a diet?

August 9, 1999

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