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30 Year Memorial

Saturday, April 30

I might try to write something meaningful, but today is not the day. I'll just leave you with this idea: If I do marry a non-Asian woman and reproduce, it will soley be because I want cute ameri-asian babies. Admit it white people, you want to fuck us for our cute gene, don't you?

I've crossed a line, haven't I?

My Dad, My Uncles on Nam

Friday, April 29
My father had some friends over. They peppered each other with cognac and spring rolls [that’s the explanation for the crunching on the telephone]. “Can you believe it? We’ve been here for thirty years?” my dad said, referring to all the the American press Vietnam is receiving for the “Fall of Saigon.”

He reminisced about when they watched “The Deer Hunter” for the first time. He said that a common friend had told him it was about Vietnam. And then my father and his friends all decided to see it together, not knowing the true premise of the movie was about American Veterans, mental illness, and their difficult reintegration back into society. It stars Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and a young Christopher Walken.

“I hated that movie,” my Dad said, “It was bullshit. Americans hear the bad things that rarely happen and make movies from it. Saving Private Ryan—it’s about one guy. That’s dumb. Hamburger Hill, Platoon—it’s all dumb. Those things rarely happened, because so many of them were doing cocaine and smoking marijuana. That was the only way to survive the war. Americans were sending us their kids, 18 year olds and making them watch people die in numbers.”

“They hated us when we came here,” my uncle said. “American just couldn’t handle that much death, 50,000 of them dying on their TV. It’s easy to say that they all went crazy,” my uncle said trying to bring it back to the movie.

“But what about our side, they think after all those years there aren’t crazy Vietnamese people?” They make it sound like they all died fighting, they didn’t. We know that. Half of them killed themselves on drugs and whores. They even shot themselves, calling it, what do they call it?”

“Friendly fire, Dad.”

“Friendly fire and they have the nerve to make movies like Missing in Action and Rambo. One guy standing still and shooting down an army—what does that say about how they view us?” my dad said.

“You know if they sent Chuck Norris and Rambo in the first place, then we wouldn’t have had to fight at all,” my uncle said, “Think they’d go to Iraq?”

Accidents on West Blvd.

There was another accident on my street. It’s the sixth one I’ve seen. Most of the time, it’s a car trying to cheat its way into the intersection. “I can beat them,” they say. The first accident I saw was an elderly woman being driven by her son, who hit the car because he hesitated on the left turn. The trunk opened on impact and their groceries littered the street. I brought out some water and folding chairs. I sat with her as the other two men exchanged information. She smiled at me, and said, “You're kind.”

The two cars had to be cut apart in another accident. The fire department used sledgehammers and saws, and the officer on duty just took names and information, and acted casually. He must see this all the time, and to an extent, he must get accustomed to all this peril. One man had a cut on his head from the airbag collision, while the other man had to be cut from his car. I know they compare it to cutting a tin can, but you can’t really understand it until you see it. He was carried off in a gurney. Some workers powdered the asphalt—it reminded me of janitors who sprinkled pink dust over new vomit. Another group started sweeping the debris. It took them an hour to cleanse the corner.

Yesterday, it was a motorcyclist. He collided into a car, and left an imprint on the front corner panel. I’m not sure what made the imprint—I try to believe it was from his motorcycle not his body. I called 911 and the operator asked, “Do you think he needs an ambulance, and I didn’t know what to say to her. “He was on a motorcycle,” I said again. “I’ll send one,” she said.

I thought of Stephen on his way home and dying on his motorcycle, a few hundred feet away from his house. And then his dad driving by the accident and slowing down because he recognized his son’s helmet. Ben said, “I’ll go to the hospital and see if he’s all right, no use in all of us being there.” He came back and said, “He’s dead.” His tone wasn’t callous or casual; it was a tone that a man uses when he is still trying convince himself of the fact.

The Day After Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 26
So that was yesterday, and this is today. I believe being moody and cranky is completely justifiable, because if the weather can change on a whim, I so as fuck can too. And I believe Ohio is the only state that can actually say, "And tomorrow morning, there is a 75 % chance of the Apocalypse with morning fog."

Welcome to CLE

Monday, April 25

It Was During the Summer

Thursday, April 21
I had stronger feelings that I cared to discuss—even my friend knew this before I was willing to admit to the fact. Yes, she was attractive, but it was her humor and her willingness to say, “Yes, I’m flawed. But aren’t we all.” Vulnerability, it was something that I had an attraction towards, but not within myself. But I forget, people never stay the same. I remembered my father’s voice, “Always check, make sure nothing is missing and all that you wanted is still in order,” even though he was making a reference to an expensive purchase—not heavy-liking.

Blind, it’s what we call justice. It’s the eye we turn to when someone we care about does something ill that we don’t care to discuss. Sometimes it’s the ignorant not wanting to see the change. Sometimes it’s the sensitive not wanting to be hurt. It’s how I cope.

That day, I thought, it was a little of everything.

It was a wedding. I was in a tux—sophisticated and nervous; sweating, clammy, and weak in the knees, even though it wasn’t my day. I was sensitive to weighted days, I would always help others carry these burdens—it was my way of being kind. It was elegant, but I found myself watching the bride and groom, and the bridal party, in particular, a bride’s maid—people seem to look better in a church, I thought. Afterwards, there was a bus, then elaborate introductions, a delicious dinner with gratuitous toasting—there was dancing and late night anticipation. It was a wedding.

I finally danced with her, not because I worked up the nerve—but because she asked. We danced, and sometimes a dance is just that, and I kept that in mind. It was easier for me to think negatively 3 steps ahead, it toughened me for disappointment at 4 steps ahead—but it left me wide open for anything 2 steps or closer.

She came home with me, but she brought someone home with her. I didn’t know him. She said nothing and I had no nerve left to say anything. They went into my guest room and I went into my own room, and I thought about that quote of hers, “Yes, I’m flawed. But aren’t we all.” I agreed, but only as far as the first sentence. Not all things pertain to all of us, I thought.

While At Temple

Monday, April 18
I’m never forthcoming—I still probably won’t be by the end. It’s more amusing, in my opinion, because people actually might believe it might be them I’m talking about. Someone who hasn’t talked to me or contacted me might believe it is them—then a line is made, and on one end it is egotistical and then on the other end it is empathic.

But these days—I talk to few people. We all talk to few people—our, but in this case, my list has grown smaller, it might be because I’m so easily forgotten, like the date or a lightly used pin number—it’s one of my fears. It’s why it’s difficult for me to make “nice” with people, because the idea of being in my life and then not being there frightens me. So—instead of making a friend with the strong chance of losing them in the near future, I don’t make friends at all, and of those that have been in my life—they’ve welded themselves onto me. My choice or not—they are there for the long hall [which isn’t a bad thing, it’s one of my comforts].

Isn’t that why we seek love? Yes, they say religion and family. I can find someone who thinks like me and wants the same things I want [personally, I’d probably maim my doppelganger]. But let us look beyond the physical and the emotional security, and make the idea simpler—that is to be a priority in a life: to take care of and be taken care of, and trust that person to do so.

It’s maybe why so many have shied away from me—because they could never be my world, the best they could ask for would be “to just be a part of it,” and it’s an answer that never seems to be enough.

I was at temple yesterday. A new statue was being presented, and Buddhist monks and nuns from the eastern part of the country had all attended the ceremony. I was just another person among 50 people in suits and shoeless, kneeling and chanting to the tempo of a gong and heavy drum. There were many pearl necklaces, diamond earrings, and expensive watches—it was tough to think that we were here promoting humility.

“Next time, it will be you,” she said after the service, insinuating that it was her job to marry me—like I was incomplete, wasting time—but more importantly that I wasn’t adequate enough to do the job myself. Let a professional handle the matter—that was what her wink said, and before that—I was even starting to like this old woman. There were two girls [they might have been somewhere in-between 18 to 25], and I use the term girl because their faces still looked like they hadn’t been pulled apart from hate or late night thinking. And I wanted to say something, but couldn’t—not because I was shy, but because I didn’t want to be him.

The man that is the reason you are the way you are—I understand it sounds egotistical, but it is not meant to be. A relationship never begins with the contention of hurting anyone, but it happens—we all realize that people fail us, we fail people. We’re soldiers coming back from a bad love, survivors wearing broken hearts. We take our break and we go back in when we feel like we the strength to take in another. Like I said, “I don’t want to be him,” the man that taught this truth.

One of the girls, wearing a Vietnamese long dress and tiger print purse, tripped into me—I caught her. I asked her if she was alright, she brushed herself off and said embarrassed, “Yes, I’m better for now.”

Today's Tao

Friday, April 15
He said, “I’m looking for intelligent people to talk to.”

I didn’t question him, even though I knew it wasn’t the truth. It was what he said as not to sound shallow or simple around new women, even though there was a strong case for it.

Why? Isn’t ignorance a shelter? Aren’t they happier?

Intelligent people—we’re usually a little angry and somewhat frustrated, because along the way we figured out what the truth was. And these days—we’re somewhat melancholy, because we’re coping with our revelations.

I smiled and let him talk—I knew it would all be too overwhelming.