from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Random #55: Forever Young

with 4 comments

Last Friday, I went to a belated reception for Hole and his wife at Alley. Aside from being berated for smoking when there was a pregnant woman in the bar (to which I admit I was being a monumental asshole), I was in a good mood, and when I’m in a good mood, I drink.

Unfortunately, the countless alcoholic binges in celebration of the end of 2012 left me a bed-ridden wreck, vomiting sweet, acidic, yellow bile and shitting unhealthy amounts of blood even before spending another drunkard’s weekend in Japan. The apathetic doctor at the hospital said my liver’s fine and it’s probably an ulcer, but I don’t see how a simple ulcer can make a drunk who rarely gets tipsy after several thousand cc’s of beer a little bitch who gets red-faced after only three beers. Something is very wrong with me but I don’t trust Korean doctors enough to go back to the hospital to find out.

In my weakened state, I abstained from drinking (more than a bottle or two of beer a night) for almost two weeks in order to recover enough to engage in a healthy binge in celebration of my friend’s wedding. I arrived on time and saw many friendly faces, faces which offered me shots. In the first hour, I had three or four shots of whiskey and a beer or two and everything after that is a broken history left mostly unwritten in my memory. I only have brief memories of conversations, a single photo in my Camera Roll, and a strange memo on my phone I faintly remember typing. I regained consciousness with my brother pulling me out of my chair and walked out into the cold night.

The memo: Jason will pay me 10,000 ₩ [I’m fairly certain this was supposed to be a dollar sign] if I live until 50. Signed, Jason

I added the “Signed, Jason” to make it legitimate and legally binding although my mistake with the currency denotation decimates my earnings (if I live until 50) to only 1/1,000th of what it could have been.

I vaguely remember the conversation but I know what it was about. My brother doesn’t like the idea, but I’m convinced that I’ll either die young—my prediction of 35 leaves me with anywhere between 11 and 23 months to live—or live forever—which is anything after 50 but probably something closer to 100. I’ve considered what I want to have done with my manuscripts if I shuffle off this mortal coil before they’re finished (a strong possibility if the former prediction is true) on more than one occasion, quite regularly, in fact. They might not be much but it’s all I have to leave behind to posterity. Most probably not my own. Perhaps Hole’s.

Let us die young or let us live forever
We don’t have the power but we never say never
Sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip
The music’s for the sad men

– Forever Young, Alphaville

At the reception, John commented that he stopped reading my blog because “it’s so sad.” I’m not sure to which posts he was referring specifically but I realize that this post can be construed as sad. It isn’t. I think I have a healthy view of mortality. I’m perhaps overly content in my life and view death (at least my own) as natural and somewhat comforting, like a cold beer after a long day. Maybe this slight melancholy I’m feeling is because of the song.

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4 Responses

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  1. Don’t kick off quite yet: you’ve still got a book to deliver. Meantime, live wisely—although it would be interesting to read about how you shat out your asshole and had to stuff it back in last night, I’m pretty sure you’d rather not undergo that experience.

    Kevin Kim

    January 22, 2013 at 3:06 am

    • Luckily I didn’t shit out my asshole but if it ever happens, I’ll be sure to write about it.

      Even if I never publish, I can die with no regrets. I really do want to publish at least two books–this book and my first novel–and while I’m working on both, I can say with certainty when if ever I’ll finish. I’m putting in the work toward that end. My death I’ll leave to the Fates.

      holdenbeck

      January 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

  2. Congratulations to Hole, by the way! I wasn’t aware of his marital status.

    Kevin Kim

    January 22, 2013 at 3:06 am

    • I’ll pass on the congratulations. Or maybe he’ll see it here if he still reads the blog.

      holdenbeck

      January 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm


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