Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Date: July 31st, 2012 10:17 AM
This is so brilliant. I have no idea why the mods moved it to the garbage boart. OP is Levi
Over the last four years I have had many reasons to want to say “I quit.” At times life seemed so difficult that quitting became a pervasive thought for me. It never reached the point at which I contemplated suicide. But throughout college I had more than my fair share of troubles. I was lucky though; at least I didn’t have it as bad as Patrick Chung had it.
Patrick Chung and I met on the first day of elementary school. I can remember how he wailed while we were told to introduce ourselves, even though his mother and older sister were sitting right behind him. At first I thought Patrick Chung was weird. Most of my toddlerhood was spent playing with my white cousins and my black neighbor Frank, who moved shortly after I turned four. I had never seen a Chinese-American in the flesh before. Nonetheless I had to familiarize myself with Patrick Chung because Mrs. Rosecrantz placed Patrick Chung and me at the same table.
Patrick Chung was one of those misguided children who thought that paste was milk. I stared in horror as Patrick Chung gulped down his Dixie cup of paste, licking the little bit up that fell onto the Tyrannosaurus on his shirt. It was later revealed that Patrick was not allowed to drink milk at home due to indigestion, so he would take every opportunity to lap up the creamy, fatty beverage whenever he wasn’t being looked after by his mother. Due to my ignorance, however, this further polarized my table-mate and me. But we finally found common ground when he shyly told me he thought my lunch box was cool. It had a picture of Optimus Prime on the front of it. Although Patrick Chung was not allowed to watch television at home, he unblinkingly listened while I recounted the tales of the autobots and deceptivecons. Ever since, Patrick Chung and I were best friends.
Our formative years were spent together. Usually Patrick Chung had to go to bed at 8:30. But sometimes his mother would allow him to stay the night over at my house. I would stay up to two in the morning with him, playing video games and drinking Dr. Peppers. Long after I went to sleep, Patrick Chung would usually play GTA III on my PS2 and sneak into my kitchen and eat the chocolate chips from my mother’s cupboards. One time, without Patrick Chung knowing, I woke to seeing him sitting beneath a pile of my mother’s sports bras while destroying a busload of hookers in a videogame neighborhood that somewhat resembled SoHo.
I never knew much about Patrick Chung’s home life. He lived in an apartment complex called Colonial Village in the other side of Arlington with his grandmother, mother, father older sister, and her two children. The apartment was too small for seven people and it always smelled of fish. It was mainly accoutered with statues of Asian deities and Buddhist icons, save a movie poster for “Urban Cowboy” in some Asian language. Mrs. Chung was also a mystery to me too. She only ever said two words to me: when I was younger, she called me “Lobbert;” but all of the sudden, precisely when I turned 13, she inexplicably began to call me “Lobbie.” Despite the fact that Patrick Chung was the only one in his family who spoke English, Mrs. Chung always insisted that our families went and got Chinese food together each Christmas when she learned that we were Jewish, with Patrick serving as the interpreter.
What I could say for certain, though, was that Patrick’s parents wanted him to exceed in school. While I went to Washington-Lee, Patrick Chung went to Yorktown. I played football for the first two years, then lacrosse the last two, and served as the treasurer for DECA throughout. Although I was never popular in the traditional sense of the word, I had two girlfriends in high school and usually was able to go to a few of the cooler parties. Patrick Chung, on the other hand, became one of the school’s academic stars. He was a National Merit Scholar, the captain of the forensics team, the president of the computer science club, and the captain of the JV tennis team all four years of high school. Throughout high school we saw each other on weekends, but our friendship was slowly falling apart. It seemed as though we were going in different directions.
It was during this time that Patrick Chung became involved with internet forums. His parents bought him a Lenovo laptop for his studies, so they assumed he was doing homework. He first discovered College Confidential the day after he found out that he was National Merit Scholar. He registered as Chungman69 and immediately asked what his chances at MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Yale, with UVA and William and Mary as his “safeties.” But he didn’t limit himself to online braggadocio. At first he began telling people what their reaches and safeties were, and, eventually, going to “meetups” with the other NOVA College Confidential users. And so began Patrick Chung’s downward spiral.
Patrick Chung was admitted to 23 of the 24 schools he applied to, all except Harvard. In spite of all of his excellent options, Patrick Chung decided to go to UVA as a Jefferson Scholar, so he could room with me, a legacy admit from the waitlist. The day after we put our housing request in for our first year dorm, Patrick, a few of my football buddies and I were supposed to go camping off of Skyline Drive. But, the morning we were to leave, Patrick Chung called my house phone to tell me he would not be going. He had received the thin envelope from Harvard the day before and his mom wouldn’t let him leave the apartment.
My father is a disingenuous old bastard. He is a slightly slimmer version of Wilfred Brimly, with a contrived southern drawl. He smells like cigars and his hair is yellowing. He dropped out of UVA to play the sitar with a few perma-fried hippy types after his fifth semester, but wouldn’t let the college experience go. Each year when he drove down to Charlottesville for his Phi Gamma Delta reunion, he would squeeze into orange pants and a blue and orange rugby polo.
After traveling around the eastern seaboard in a hippy van, he abandoned his newfound liberalism for the conservatism of his youth. Born in Alexandria before the blacks moved in, my father had a Beaver-esque childhood. And after he explored the country and the boundaries of his mind, there he returned to work at his cousin’s humidor in Old Town. He married my mom his second year at UVA, begrudgedly adopted Judaism, divorced her, apostatized, and married another Jewess, a congressional aide from Orange County. I saw him about once a month or thereabouts when I was growing up.
Despite his distance from me throughout my adolescence, when he heard that I was going to UVA, he enthusiastically volunteered to drive Patrick Chung and me for our move in date. When he drove us down to Charlottesville in a U-Haul truck, he began to tell us stories about his years at UVA. Of course I had heard all of them to the point where I could recite them verbatim, so I fell asleep as soon as we hopped on the 66. But Patrick enthusiastically listened and asked him to repeat the parts about the library. By the time I woke up my father was calling Patrick Chung “Pat,” and Patrick Chung had this weird shit eating grin on his face.
Because move in wasn’t happening until the next day we checked into the Cavalier Inn. My father got a single and Patrick Chung and I got a double. That night in his room my father drank whiskey with some of the “brothers” who stayed in Charlottesville after college. He gave Patrick Chung and me money to get food, but Patrick Chung wanted to stay in the room and use College Confidential, so we ordered a Domino’s Pizza. He ostensibly was taking questions about his college visit. I watched Zoolander on TBS and went to bed. The next day my dad brought us to the Virginian for lunch. He prodded me into talking with the hostess, while Patrick Chung avoided any interaction with the opposite sex by painstakingly examining the photos on the wall.
After my dad left, Patrick and I settled in to our double. A couple of girls from out of state were going to Monticello that afternoon, and they asked if Patrick Chung and I wanted to go with. Patrick Chung excused himself by saying that he was sick; however, there were no obvious signs of malaise. We took a fifth of Popov with us and by the time we came back I was making out with one of the girls. I brought her back to my room and lost my v-card. I was buzzed at the time, but I think Patrick Chung may have been on College Confidential when I came in. I do know for sure, however, that he buried his head in his pillow until we finished up.
Unlike the stereotypical Asian college student, Patrick Chung wanted to go to law school. Although UVA has a pretty decent program, Patrick Chung had a Yale Law pennant he hung above his bed. In order to facilitate his law school aspirations, Patrick Chung became a history major. By most measures Patrick Chung was an intelligent person. He was a good writer, a critical thinker, and highly numerate. Nonetheless he put in 60 hour weeks studying and restudying the material from his survey courses. In his spare time he would go on College Confidential and eventually Top Law Schools. His moniker on the latter site was “Chung Actually.” By the time Thanksgiving break rolled along, he had a little paunch due to poor diet and a pizza face.
While Patrick Chung was mastering contemporary historiography and Spanish, I was floundering in my managerial accounting course and barely passing calculus. After the first semester, Patrick Chung had perfect grades and I had a 3.1. Patrick Chung was certainly more successful in the academic setting. But I was more successful socially. He never brought girls back to the room, nor did he seem to make any new friends. At the time this didn’t seem to bother him though, or at least I couldn’t tell it did.
The night before my mom came to pick us up from the dorm for winter break, Patrick Chung and I decided to go to the Virginian once again with my friend Ralph from the campus Shabbas dinners. I wanted to get a club sandwich, Ralph wanted a bowl of clam chowder, and Patrick Chung wanted to see the cute Korean-American waitress named Soo, whom he had a crush on. Soo was a teacher’s assistant in one of Patrick Chung’s history classes. He never overtly indicated that he was interested in her. But I could tell. He smiled when she spoke, went to her office hours, and was contemplating taking Korean next semester. He was never willing to make a move and I wasn’t quite sure how to help him out in this regard.
We sat down in Soo’s area. Ralph and I began talking about ACC basketball and our tournament prospects this year. Patrick Chung, however, just kept staring at Soo. She finally came over, and he was visibly shaking. We said hi and introduced Ralph to Soo. They shared a smile and a stare. I hoped Patrick Chung didn’t see it because I knew it would break his heart if he did. I ordered a club sandwich, Ralph a bowl of clam chowder and Patrick Chung a portabella burger. The check came out to about $35, but Patrick Chung insisted on leaving a $15 tip. It was his money, so we yielded to his desires. We waited till close because we didn’t have anything better to do and so Soo could give us a ride back.
She dropped us off at our building first and then Ralph at his. Patrick Chung was so giddy he dropped his keys several times and was studdering. I noticed a bag of trash I had forgotten to throw out earlier and asked Patrick Chung if he wanted to go with me to throw it away. He said yes and we went. Our dumpster was full, however, so we went to the one outside of Ralph’s building. We turned the corner just in time to hear Ralph say to a steamy Soo “yeah, I have a rubber up in my room.” Needless to say Patrick Chung did not say a word on the way back to our room. He was petrified.
It was obvious that Patrick Chung was indelibly changed by the occurrence. He began to distrust every white person, particularly Jews. And the hate for the women of his race mushroomed. He didn’t return any of my calls over winter break. I knew that next semester would be rough for the both of us.
Date: July 31st, 2012 6:39 PM
Author: Brother Bonobo watching TRUMP make Bimbo wet
Subject: Part 2 (Levi)
Date: July 31st, 2012 6:40 PM
Author: Brother Bonobo watching TRUMP make Bimbo wet
Subject: Part 3 (Levi)
Date: July 31st, 2012 2:58 PM
Subject: Part 4
When my mom and step-dad drove me down to Charlottesville for the spring semester, Patrick Chung turned down my mom’s offer to take him too. He said his friend Hank would take him down. I didn’t think much of the fact that Patrick Chung had a friend who would drive him down to school at the time. But, once I met Hank, I was thoroughly confused by who Patrick Chung was turning into. Patrick Chung had developed two peculiar habits over winter break: first, he became involved in competitive RC racing, and, second, he began using AutoAdmit.
His first habit brought Hank to our dorm room for the first three weeks of school. Hank was Patrick Chung’s friend from the RC racing circuit. He was 42 years old, worked at a Kinkos in Bethesda, and was the Maryland RC champion back in 2004 and 2008. He sort of looked like Billy Bob Thornton in Primary Colors. Apparently they met on the metro heading out of DC. I would imagine that Hank saw Patrick Chung stealing looks at his RC racing magazine and struck up a conversation with Patrick Chung. Patrick Chung asked me if Hank could sleep on our floor for a few days. I relented, but only for a few days. A few days passed into a few weeks, although I didn’t care too much because Hank slept during the day and was gone during the night. And since I wasn’t around much during the day, I largely ignored the issue. Ultimately he left after the third week, though, because he and Patrick Chung got into a fight over a missing set of RC mud tires, which Hank contended that Patrick Chung stole.
The second habit was more subtle but perhaps more damaging in the long run. College Confidential and Top Law School were Patrick Chung’s gateway into the world of AutoAdmit. For the first month or so I thought Patrick Chung was becoming involved in a terrorist organization because the site looked outdated and somewhat creepy, the type of forum I imagined terrorists used to communicate on. Eventually, out of curiosity, I went to the site, but left immediately after seeing the offensive material. One thing I did take away from it that it was a law school discussion forum. I thought that this was relatively harmless. But Patrick Chung began using offensive slang and going up to DC each weekend to meet his friends from the website, eliciting worry from me.
At this time, Patrick Chung began to avoid me. I learned when he left the room to go pay for a pizza he ordered. His computer was open so I went over to it to see what he was doing on it. One of the files he had open was my class schedule and another was a spreadsheet of the times we were both in the room together. After seeing this I was glad that he was avoiding me. Whenever I saw him in public he would avoid eye contact and walk faster.
Over spring break Patrick Chung went to New York, where he met a friend who went to one of the SUNY schools. I stayed in Charlottesville and caught up on my schoolwork. When he returned, Patrick Chung revealed to me that we wouldn’t be roommates next year. He said, “I don’t know what you’re doing for next year in terms of living arrangements, but I can’t see us sharing a place next year.” I hadn’t planned on rooming with him next year, but I said OK. He walked across the room, put on his headphones, and made his bed.
The night finals ended Patrick Chung rented his own U-Haul van and left for Arlington. That was the last I saw of him for six years.
Date: July 31st, 2012 4:22 PM
Subject: Part 5
After I graduated with a degree in business administration, I moved to Richmond to work at a small operations consultancy with one of my step-dad’s friends. I married a cute hipster who worked as a barista in one of the coffee shops down town. We bought a condominium near the downtown area and were contemplating having a kid. One impediment to this was that my work brought me to DC on a relatively regular basis.
Despite the fact that the consultancy I worked at was small regional setup, one of our main clients was the Washington Post. I think one of the founders of our firm knew people in high places at the Post. In layman’s terms, we helped them optimize the efficiency of their distribution in northern Virginia. So, about once a month, one of the partners and I would have to go up to DC and talk to their guys at the corporate and sometimes go to one of their distribution centers.
It was early July the last time I went there. It was four o’clock in the afternoon and I had just got out of our last meeting. I planned to go grab a few drinks with some friends from college in Georgetown. But I wanted to stop by Starbucks for an Americano. I walked in, checked my Blackberry, and picked up a copy of the “Journal.” I casually looked around and noticed an Asian man with a small Frappuccino at one of the tables on the other side of the room with three laptops out: one small HP and two older looking Lenovos. He was wearing a green flannel, a white t-shirt, black ADIDAS track pants, and a purple faded Arizona Diamondbacks cap. He looked up at me, then looked down at his HP, looked up again, and said “Robbie?” It was Patrick Chung.
A few times during and after college, out of curiosity, I would Google Patrick Chung’s name. The only things that came up were the program from his viola recital sophomore year of high school and his seeding for the 2012 Maryland state RC championship. As far as I knew, he fell off the face of the planet. I never expected to find him in DC.
I said hi and shook his hand. I asked him if he worked on K Street. He said “kind of.” I glanced over his shoulder and saw that on one of his computers there was a PDF with some Asian language, on the other there a browser open with multiple tabs of Auto Admit open, and on the third there was Netflix Instant with the third Pirates of the Caribbean on.
He closed his computers up and asked me if I wanted to go to his apartment and get a drink. I thought he lived nearby, but he took me to a nearby metro station. Despite the fact that I was supposed to meet some friends, I shrugged my shoulders and went with him. I regretted my decision soon after.
Patrick Chung revealed that he lived in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland. He transferred to Georgetown his sophomore year and went to George Washington for law school. Although he received some sort of fellowship for academic excellence at George Washington, he was stuck reviewing documents for law firms doing business for corporations in Asia. He told me he was making decent money, but I wondered why he lived so far away. He was uncharacteristically friendly, nothing like the last time I saw him.
When we got off of the metro, Patrick Chung and I walked a few blocks to his second floor apartment. It was brick and mortar structure with boxwood bushes out front. He opened the door and the first thing I noticed was an overwhelming odor of new shoes. Apparently he loved the smell and bought the last crate of the new shoe air freshener when the “As Seen on TV” store at the mall was having a clearance sale. Next to the crate of the air freshener was a large pile of books about the Russo-Japanese war. He pulled down a bottle of Glenffidich and two shot glasses. Mine had a bear on the front of it with “Front Royal, Virginia” written beneath it in cursive. The drink he gave me didn’t taste like whiskey but rather what I would imagine isopropyl alcohol would taste like. I drank mine and turned his offer for a second shot. He offered to give me a tour of the place and I accepted.
The bathroom was typical of what you would expect from a bachelor in his late twenties. It was kind of dirty, but at least it smelled fine. The kitchen was also insignificant. He had some condiments, a couple boxes of Chinese takeout, a six pack of Hooegarden with one beer missing, and two vanilla Slimfast shakes. All of this was unsurprising. But what I saw in the bedroom I will remember for the rest of my life. He had a Mulan bed set on his twin size bed. Above and behind that was a large poster with Christina Ricci’s head photoshopped on to the body of a porn star. On the other side of the room there was clothing line with pillows shaped like Asian women hanging out to dry on it. And the weirdest thing of all was a blonde haired blow up with the eyes blotted out with white out and replaced with horizontal sharpie lines.
I told him that I would in fact take another drink in hopes of getting him drunk enough, so he would pass out, so I could leave. He put on the first volume of Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits and we both drank two more shots each. By the time “Captain Jack” came on he was out cold. I quietly left his apartment, hoping to never see Patrick Chung again.