Thanks for all your e-mails. Not only the ones regarding the Virginia Tech incident but also the ones checking to see whether I'm still alive. You guys rock! I should have told you that I was headed out to Asia for a business trip. I just spent a week in Vietnam and am now spending this week in Hong Kong, one of my all-time favorite cities in the world.
Needless to say, I miss BossLady and the Peanut terribly. Anyway, I've got to run off to work but, before I go, here are a few quick thoughts...
NOTHING SAYS CLASS LIKE CHARMIN PLUS!
My mother is a varsity traveler. For over 20 years, she was a schoolteacher and used to spend her summers going on these amazing journeys. Usually solo. She's trekked across Mozambique, sailed the Crimea, and backpacked her way to the top of Mt. Fuji. I've been to about 40 countries during the course of my lifetime and she's the only one I know who's been to even more.
The reason my mother took all those trips solo is because my dad HATES to travel. He literally judges each country based on the quality of their toilet paper. One year, my mom took my dad for a return visit to Russia. They visited the Red Square, went to the ballet at the Bolshoi, toured the Hermitage, and did a million other cool things.
When he returned to NYC, I asked him how the trip was. His reply? "Remember I told you how bad the toilet paper was in China? It was even WORSE in Russia. Man, that country is never going to make it."
Spasiba, pops. Spasiba!
YES, BUT HE'S LEFT ME A LEGACY IN SO MANY OTHER WAYS
My father is a good guy. He's always been an excellent provider and he instilled in me a love of reading and world history. However, if I had to pick the top 5 things I've inherited from him, I'd have to go with these...
(1) The ability to eat food so quickly, it's like I was raised in prison.
(2) The tendency to tell the same 5 stories at every dinner party...loudly!
(3) The ugliest and smelliest feet this side of North Korea.
(4) A dangerous addiction to Q-tips.
(5) The inability to fix something requiring anything more complex than a screwdriver.
Pretty classy, eh?
HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES AND HOS. KNEES AND HOS!
As most of you know from his mentions here, the Doctor is one of my oldest friends. If there's any doubt about why I love this guy, I leave you with the following Blackberry exchange:
MD: "Doc, I'm currently in Vietnam. Had a long day so I came down to the hotel bar for a nightcap. Turns out that the bar is having hip-hop night. Very possibly the greatest rap DJ I've heard in years! I just spent the last hour rocking out to old-school Biggie, Tupac, Biz Markie, and Digital Underground.
Oh shit, don't look now but the DJ just started spinning some classic Rakim. If he starts playing some KRS-One, I might just lose my mind! Hip-hop is alive in the kingdom, yo!"
Much love, brother.
The Doctor: "Hey "homeboy!" I don't really know what kinda clout that holds, considering the only rap DJ you've heard in years is when the Wiggles did their hip-hop Christmas special!
Proving once again, that it doesn't matter how far away you go, modern technology still allows for some good old-fashioned shit talking! If any of you come to Manhattan and visit the Doctor's office, just tell him that you want the MetroDad discount. The coupon code is ASSFACE!
By the way, I've seen a lot of scary things in my life but nothing compares to watching a bunch of fat 50-year-old German tourists shaking their moneymakers on the dance floor to Run-DMC. It almost makes you want to give up dancing for good.
AMERICA: LOVE IT AND LIVE IT (A METRODAD RANT)
America sure has been taking a beating lately. Pick up any newspaper and you'll see poll after poll demonstrating that citizens of foreign nations have an increasingly unfavorable opinion about our beloved country.
Look, I get it. No matter what you think of him, George Bush is probably not the greatest representation of our country's people. And it's clear that America's increased intervention (and surprisingly consistent bungling) in foreign affairs is the cause of this general discontent with America.
But make no mistake, my foreign friends. America is still the greatest country in the world. Nowhere else in the world can individuals rise out of nothing and achieve their dreams. Shit, after serving in the U.S. army during the Korean War, my dad came to this country so broke he was 30 cents away from a quarter and couldn't afford the hole out of a donut. Now, he rolls like P.Diddy! (ok, not really but if P.Diddy was a 73-year-old Korean man with an addiction to golf and his granddaughter, there might be a faint resemblance.)
Anyway, it's nice to be reminded how much other people abroad actually love everything about America.
Last week in Vietnam, I met a guy who spoke flawless English. When I asked him how he learned it, he told me he used to stay up late at night in bed listening to the Voice of America radio broadcasts. I thought this was one of the coolest things I'd ever heard in my life!
When he found out I was from NYC, he freaked out and enthusiastically yelled, "New York! I LOVE the Yankees! My dream is to have a big car that I can drive to Yankee Stadium one day and eat American hot dogs!"
10,000 miles away from home and I still can't avoid the damn Yankee fans!
So sure, we take a lot of shit from a lot of people and you know what? A lot of it is probably well-deserved. We're the biggest kids on the block and sometimes we're not very modest about it. But heck, it's not really our fault. We're a nation built on bravado and arrogance (What's that? You want to tax our colonial asses and subjugate us to the Queen? Up yours, man! We're starting our own damn country!)
Anyway...I like to think that, at the end of the day, our country really does symbolize the hopes and dreams of millions of people from nations around the world.
Except for maybe France. Now, I've spent a lot of time in France during the course of my life. In fact, I've probably been there about 15 times. But you want to know what? The French hate our fucking guts. It's hard to believe they actually gave us the Statue of Liberty. They must have been throwing it out anyway. Because these people detest us.
As Dennis Miller once said, the French look at us and think we are one, big, collective Jethro bearing down on them, rope belt and all.
And you know something? In all fairness, we might be hicks, but at least we're hicks who tend to our armpits more frequently than once every time Halley's comet is in the solar system. These people avoid showers like a blonde at the Bates Motel. They had to invent perfume. It wasn't an augmentation, it was a defense mechanism!
I once went there and met a beautiful young Parisian girl. The only problem was that she smelled like a a garbageman eating Gorganzola cheese while getting a perm inside the septic tank of a slaughterhouse.
And although we, as a nation, take a beating in the press, we're still a great country. Not only do we create opportunity but we also create things of great beauty, things that unconsciously interweave the American attributes of ingenuity, optimism, and some good old-fashioned living.
Things like: "All You Can Eat" Restaurants, the Clapper, the Temporary Insanity Plea, cutting-edge CD-ROM technology used for porn, deep-fried cheese, rain ponchos for dogs, and beer can hats!
The list goes on and on!
As a matter of fact, you want to know what's right with America more than anything? Our right to speak out about everything that's wrong with it. Sure, our politicians seem crooked and ethically challenged. But you ever try to do business with a Chinese bureaucrat? Bargain with a Mexican federale? Or fight through red tape with the Pakistan Customs department? Hell, I have. And let me tell you something, there's some days that I think we're lucky to have the politicians we do have. At least, we get the opportunity to dump their asses when we want to!
There's so much that IS right with America that it practically brings tears to my eyes. Traveling abroad brings that into clearer focus more than you could ever imagine. Sometimes, in order to best appreciate your one true love, you have to leave it for awhile.
So remind yourself of that every now and again, my friends.
Take the family on Route 66, shop at the Galleria, fire up that massive barbecue, have your breasts enlarged, have your penis lengthened, sue your fucking neighbor, eat three Big Macs, drive 120 mph, pay the ticket, and thank the heavens and the stars that you live in the greatest country in the history of civilization!
IF MY LOVE OF AMERICA DOESN'T BRING A TEAR TO YOUR EYE, MAYBE THIS WILL
I've been speaking to BossLady and the Peanut at least once a day while I've been gone. The Peanut, being only 2 1/2 years old, doesn't really comprehend the fact that I'm away or understand why I'm gone. It's been more than a little traumatic for her. When I spoke to her today, she cried into the phone, "I want to hug and kiss daddy. Where are you, daddy?"
Man, if that doesn't just break your heart, I don't know what will.
Lastly, I've got about 20 hours of flying to do this week. Perfect opportunity for another mailbag. Leave your questions in the comments or send them to me via e-mail. Anything goes, my friends. Ask away!