Les Poulpes Miserables*

(Or, *the Octopi of Destitution)

I’m just starting to be able to understand news stories, and what I’ve been able to understand does not disappoint. According to what I was able to gather from tonight’s evening news, a 60-year old guy stole 13 octopi from the local marine association because he was reportedly starving. If it’s true, then it’s a tragic story of elderly poverty in Japan, and I probably should feel badly about it but can’t right now because Lexapro.

Mainly I find the whole thing absurd. Thirteen octopi? Seriously? Octopi are pretty big. How many people was this guy trying to feed? If he’s alone, he can’t possibly eat them all in one sitting, so he’s going to need to store them somehow. Octopi are some of the most intelligent invertebrates who can learn how to open jars and shit, and they’re slippery fuckers to boot. How the hell did a 60 year old guy manage to steal even one, let alone 13? Or were they dead or frozen already?

Anyway now he’s in trouble with the police and owes a bunch of money to the marine association that he probably can’t pay if he was, in fact, stealing octopi for food. He’s like a modern day Jean Valjean, except instead of a French dude stealing bread he’s a semi-elderly Japanese fellow stealing 13 octopi.

I probably would have understood the news report better if I hadn’t been obsessing over the image of a Japanese Hugh Jackman hugging a slippery octopus to his chest as he barrels through the streets of Paris with tentacles dragging after him.


Eat a bag of “Dick’s”

S and I were waiting in line for kebabs at a winter fireworks show for the Japanese foundation day. Lately I like to think of ridiculous scenarios as a way of avoiding anxiety attacks when I invariably space out in crowded, overstimulating spaces that are EVERYWHERE in Japan. Seriously, Japan is either the closest you can get to the sublime womblike state of a sensory deprivation chamber, like this:

… but more often it’s a manic panic seizure-inducing fresh hell like this:

Like the Game of Thrones, there is no middle ground.

So anyway, the meds are kicking in and I thought it might be safe to actually put on pants and leave the house. But of course, I started to space out whilst standing in that eternally long kebab line, and here’s where my thoughts ended up.

Me: (Staring at the food trucks) If I owned a hot dog truck, I’d call it Dick’s. And all the food would come in a bag, so basically I’d be telling all my customers to (snickering) eat a bag of dicks.
S: Why’s that funny? (Note: my sun-and-stars is Japanese and nearly fluent in English but not quite, so there’s a lot of innuendo he doesn’t get at first.)
Me: “Eat a bag of dicks” is an insult in English. And a hilarious one at that.
S: But in Japan, no one would even notice. They’d just say, “hey, let’s go to Dick’s!”
Me: I know, that’s what makes it even funnier! (laughing uncontrollably now)
Me: And I’d make the trucks’s slogan “Eat a bag of Dick’s!” and it would be written on the bag! (cackling)

My food truck/shop would become a viral sensation on Buzzfeed, because of course it would. Then, once the PTA bible-bangers in the English-speaking world start accusing me of obscenity or whatever, I’d just play dumb and insist that I named the business after my dear departed grandfather Richard, who loved hot dogs with spicy mustard.

The only potential kink in this plan is that my eye starts twitching when people misuse apostrophes. You know, like when they post on Instagram with “Look at me, Im eating hot dog’s!LOL!!1!!1” If my slogan were “Eat a bag of Dick’s,” would a secretly insulting double entendre justify abuse of the apostrophe? Would I be unwittingly encouraging everyone to throw apostrophes around willy-nilly like the youths these days?

No, telling potentially thousands of people to eat a bag of dicks (sans apostrophe) is all well and fine in my world. But committing grammatical sins? I just couldn’t live with myself.

Then we ordered kebabs and I forgot all about the quandary for the next 3 days.




aannnnndd now my grandfather is dead.

Nothing quite like being on sick leave from work for depression/anxiety and finding out a loved one has passed. It’s not like it was a big shock or anything though, after all the man was 93 years old. I asked if I should go back to my hometown since I’m off work anyway, and my mom told me it’s not necessary and everyone’s doing all right. Which is probably for the better since jet lag in the winter sends my anxiety straight into crazy-town.

My family has never placed a whole lot of importance on funerals and “the end.” Being there for the weddings, Christmases, cookouts and fireworks is more important, even if it is by Skype as in my case.

From what I’ve heard about our family history, my dad’s side of the family (let’s call them the von Batschitzingers) was a bit, erm, melancholic and gloomy and German. I like to think they’re distant bastard relatives of Otto and Ludwig II of Bavaria. Who were totally batshit. My mom’s side of the family, the McLoonies* (or if you prefer the original Gaelic spelling MacLoun’iobhanhaileiligh), tend to react to bad things with inappropriate humour. I don’t know whether that’s healthy or not, but whatever.

I had this conversation with my mom just now.

Mom: Be thinking of us at 11:00 am our time tomorrow.
Me: I will. or I might be asleep because that’s 1am for me and I take my Xanax at 11pm, but maybe I’ll dream about it.
Mom: OK.
Me: I dreamt about Grandma right after she died, so. But I’ve also dreamt that Rick Astley averted a plane crash, so don’t read too much into it.
Mom: Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down….
Me: never gonna lose altitude and hurt you

By the way, this is a very inspirational hypnotic induction on the nature of life and death that I highly recommend.


*Names may or may not have been changed to protect the guilty. Use your best judgment.