from the Korean Army to being published

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

Entry #59: An Elderly Man’s Nightmare

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A short, lazy entry for today. This is just something I saw a few weeks back on the Internet.



A loose translation:

As he was sleeping, an 82-year-old man cried out, “It’s not me! It’s not me!” He woke abruptly, saying, “Geez. I dreamt another dream about going to the Army.” [laughter] At 82…

This is most likely a poorly thought-out attempt at humor. An 82-year-old would have been born in 1932*, assuming that the event happened this year. He would have been 18 when the Korean War broke out and probably joined up/was conscripted during that first year. If he was a Korean War veteran, he would have plenty of other material more traumatic than getting conscripted.

In my previous draft, I started the first chapter by sharing one of my nightmares about the Army. I still have them once in a while although they are becoming less and less frequent. The dreams are not recurring, but the one thing they all share is that they deal with me going back to the Army for a second term.

That first night in the January of 2004, I lay there on the raised floor of the squad room I would be spending the next five weeks, unable to sleep with the confusion and disbelief and frustration roiling inside my head. There was one question I asked myself and I asked myself that same question over and over countless nights that first year. The question was this: “What the fuck am I doing here?” In the nightmares I dream now nine years after that first night, much older but none the wiser, I ask myself, “What the fuck am I doing here… again?”

* Age accounting in Korea is unique in that babies are considered one-year-old when they are born and everybody ages together at the beginning of the year.


Written by Young

July 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm

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