This one time in sixth grade a classmate (Marty) came up to me
after recess and was all mad cuz I dropped the ball during our football game.
He was like, "You can't catch, you can't throw, you can't run. You suck at
I switched into my quiet, seething anger mode and said, "You constantly fail at everything you try, your grades are proof that you don't have the brains to succeed, every girl that sees you laughs and calls you names, you missed a beltloop on your pants, you obviously don't brush your teeth, and your eyes are too far apart for your face. You can tell me I suck at sports, but everyone knows you suck at life."
He stood looking at me furiously for a few seconds and then burst into loud sobbing. He couldn't stand up after a while and just sat in the grass, crying. The bell rang to signal the end of recess but he didn't get up. He just sat there, still crying. I shrugged and walked away.
As I've thought about that event over the years, I become more intimately aware of the horrors that reside within the human soul--namely my own. It's a funny childish story, but it's actually really sad for me to know that I was capable of such a thing. He told me I sucked at sports. I told him he sucked at life. And his reaction was strong enough to haunt my memories somewhat frequently even this many years later.
I suppose the worst part about it was the way that I myself handled his reaction. When he sat down crying and ignoring the bell, I knew he was really hurt. But there was no touch of compassion or sorrow or regret that entered my heart in the moment.
Instead, as I shrugged and walked away, I simply said, "See?"
So I like opening doors for my friends when we go out to eat.
It's polite and courteous, and when applied to women, it's chivalry. It's noble
and proper. So I have grown up valuing the service of opening the door for the
So picture, then, my lady and me walking into Denny's on this hot summer day. I absolutely hate this entry part, because every Denny's I have ever been to has TWO sets of doors. The first door lets you into some kind of decompression chamber with benches, and the door thereafter permits your entry into the dining room. But you see, these two sets of doors are only about 8 feet apart. They are situated in such a way that as you open the first door and allow the lady to pass by you, you do not have enough time to enter behind and get in front of her before she encounters the SECOND door, to which often times she will open it for you! That not only prevents me from being noble and proper, but emasculates my contribution to this fine dining experience by treating me as a lady and my lady as my man. This is unacceptable.
So on this hot summer day as we approach the (first) entry door to Denny's, a brilliant idea hits me. Outside the door stands a tall ashtray, the kind that look like trashcans filled with sand and cigarette butts. I say, "Excuse me" to my lady and quickly sprint 15 feet to the ashtray, pick it up, open the first door and place the ashtray down so that it holds the door open all by itself. I then proceed into the mid-door chamber and open the second door, waiting at least 30 to 40 seconds for my lady to catch up and walk through. As she approaches, a waiter in the dining room shouts, "Close the door, dude. You're letting the cold air escape and it's hell out there."
I return a deep and loathing stare and reply, "Then let be a cold day in hell before I neglect to open a door for my lady!
One time my friend Leonard took me to the gym on our college
campus to workout. Now, anybody who's known me for more than 5 minutes
knows that I simply do not workout. I don't run unless someone's
chasing me. Well, he got me to the gym making me think we were gonna do
some stunt choreography, but ends up sitting me down with a barbell in my hand
telling me to do 20 reps. He said, "No pain...no gain."
I sat and thought for a moment. After a long, drawn out breath, I got up, handed him the barbell and said, "No pain...no pain."
To this day, I sincerely believe hard work often pays off over time. But to a much greater degree, I hold that laziness always pays off now.
eungchi: About to go eat soon?
Rand Cho: Nope. I don't eat. I drink Ensure.
Rand Cho: It's faster and more convenient.
eungchi: OH MY!
eungchi: I'd never think you'd be one to shortcut food.
Rand Cho: Haha, yeah, I don't like having to stop everything I'm doing and eat something for 30-40 minutes.
Rand Cho: I just chug down a small bottle in 10 seconds and resume.
eungchi: Do you and Christine drink Ensure together?
Rand Cho: HAHAHAHAHA
So a few weeks ago, after my Wednesday Eschatology
class, I look at my syllabus and find that day's lecture on the syllabus.
The next item is the mid-semester exam, which makes think "Dude, I really
need to buy the course textbook. It's about time."
Well, a week goes by. It's Tuesday night and I'm sitting at my comp, reasoning that if I go to sleep at 4am (early for me), I can wake up at noon and get to school by 1:30 and buy the book and study for 3 hours before my 4:30 class in which I'll take a midterm. It was a good plan that provided ample play time and work time.
I stay up till about 8am by mistake and sleep till about 2pm by mistake and arrive at school by 3:30 by mistake. I go by the book and get the library and sit down to read (quickly) the relevant chapters. As I'm passing over each paragraph, I start thinking, "Whoa, I've never heard any of these topics in lecture. I didn't know that it would be totally different material than what we cover in class." I read a tiny bit more and then stop and look at the cover: "by Robert Saucy". Oh, crap, I'm not in Dr. Saucy's class, I'm in Dr. Holloman's. I bought the wrong book.
So I go back to the bookstore, fighting crowds of people who were looking at some book fair or something that had to happen at precisely the same time and place where I was in a hurry, and I return to the library with the right book. It is now 4:20, 10 minutes before my exam. I say, "Screw it, I'm just gonna go take the dumb test. I know the material anyway."
I walk over to my building away and enter Myers Hall. As I walk down to my classroom, a strange and haunting feeling overcomes me and I realized that every classroom was empty. The whole building was silent. The lights were on, there were backpacks and things around, but not a single person. So standing in an empty seminary on a Wednesday non-holiday afternoon seeing everyone's gear but no students in the ENTIRE building on the day of a midterm sends two throughts through my head:
1. Oh crap, I missed the rapture.
2. I was wrong: the rapture actually would take our clothes with us. The total mass of cotton on the earth has just dropped by a significant degree.
So, scared and a little hurt at being left behind, I sit down in the silent lobby of my seminary where all the good Christian boys and girls used to be and I pull out my syllabus. I saw last week's lecture on the class schedule, and the next item said "mid-semester exam", but the date listed was NEXT WEEK, not TODAY. Apparently there was some missions conference going on at Biola that I didn't know about, and all classes were cancelled that week.
Relieved that I didn't get left behind, I got in my car and drove maybe 10 minutes before my sinful, selfish, self-centered heart forgets the joy of not being forgotten by God and begins to say, "What a waste of gas. I could have used this 60 mile roundtrip for something more productive."
My Kung Fu is Better Than Yours
I was talking with a classmate at seminary, and we
got into the subject of missions and intercultural programs. I said, "You
know, I have the hope to be able to recite a certain sentence in every
He said, "Hey, me too."
I said, "Really? I'm not the only one? How funny would that be if we both were thinking of the same sentence."
He said, "Man, I bet we are. What's your sentence?"
I said, "My kung fu is better than yours."
I laughed too. Then I said, "So what's yours?"
He said, "John 3:16".
I looked at my phone and said, "Dude, I'm super late, I gotta go."
I shook his hand. Walked away. Went to my car. Got inside. Bowed my head in shame.
So my brothers and I went to Pizza Hut to have
dinner and talk and maybe watch a movie together. We walk up to the
register and Raymond says, "Wanna just share one?" I agree. Jason
Raymond orders a single medium pizza for the two of us.
Jason walks up and orders an extra large pizza all for himself.
Raymond says, "Oh, I get it. You're gonna save the other half for later."
Jason stares at Raymond blankly.
Then he says, "Or not."
Then he proceeded to make us feel like we were kindergarten kids hanging out with the Incredible Hulk. I guess it wouldn't have felt so belittling if he didn't finish before us.
I dressed up mildly for seminary today since it's
Halloween. I wore my cape. But I was telling my classmate today that Halloween
is Satan's most effective attack on the Church ever.
My classmate said, "Why? It's not like anyone actually worships him or believes in any of the horror and magic."
I said, "Dude, you're so stupid. It's a full-on holiday where everyone gets a truckload of candy except Christians. That's pretty mean."
He said, "Oh. Yeah. That kinda sucks."
Then I said, "And it's the only day where every little kid gets permission to walk around at night with friends, except Christians."
He said, "Yeah, that sucks too."
Then I said, "And it's the only day where you legitimately get to wear the black cape that you've wanted to wear all your life."
He said, "Uh, okay. Dude, you're kinda weird." Then he got up and left the room.
Whatever man. He liked my cape. He liked it.
Leftover Steak Breakfast Burrito
So Sandra and Ernie had their wedding today, so I go to
pick Christine up and take her to the place. When I get there, she said she
still had the leftover steak from our 3rd year anniversary dinner, and that she
wanted to make me a 'leftover steak breakfast burrito'. So I'm immediately in a
good mood. Right when she opens the fridge to break out the hardware, an egg
falls from a high shelf in the fridge and splatters onto the floor, broken shell
and popped yoke and everything.
Her reaction is just a startled "oh!" since she wasn't ready for it. I had no immediate reaction. I saw the whole thing happen and made no visible move. But then I started to speak (jokingly) about this egg as if it were a person. I said something like:
"Since the day that egg was laid, and throughout its entire incubation period, even during the shipment to the market and its slide over the Vons counter at checkout, and its chilly residence within the high shelf--that egg had a destiny and desire to satisfy the stomach of a hungry man. The only thing it ever wanted was to become the protein ingredient that would be used to make me smile and give me energy and hug my girl in total appreciation for the wonderful delight of enjoying a 'leftover steak breakfast burrito' on a Saturday morning before an old friend's wedding. But now, in a single sudden second, today, in one fell swoop, this egg amidst its brothers was robbed of the only joy it was ever created for. This egg's brothers have witnessed the loss of their fallen member, and now mourn for the tragedy that just occurred."
And I found that having involved and invested myself into this story, I actually cared about that egg. And watching Christine take a paper towel and clean up its body was somewhat difficult. Something in that stupid fictional story deeply resonated with a chord in my inner being, and I felt myself wishing their was a way to restore that egg and give it another chance--a way for it to gain a new yoke and a new shell and once again be given the calling to satisfy the delicious destiny it once had.
And after Christine had finished cooking the 'leftover steak breakfast burrito', she brought it to me and I could not help but eat it mournfully. I miss that egg.
But I'm thankful that God is a God of second chances, and he gave me a new yoke and a new shell. One day when I'm all done, I hope he will smile and be satisfied with me.
So my dad wanted some walnuts, and apparently they sell
them at the supermarket in bags by the pound--just the nut and no shell.
So I walk in and say, "Hey, I need to pick up some walnuts. Can you point me in the right direction?"
The clerk replies, "Shelled or unshelled?"
Obviously, who wants to go through the work of taking 'shelled' walnuts and turning them into 'unshelled' ones? It's not like there's some delicacy or entree out there that's like banana bread, NOW WITH BITS OF WALNUT SHELLS!
So I say to him, "I'll save myself the work. Unshelled."
He looks confused for a second, probably not getting my joke cuz he wasn't thinking of innovative new banana breads that are destined for failure, so he walks into to one of the isles where they have peanuts and cashews and things next to the candy.
He points to a bag, and says, "Just what you ordered."
I look and it's a bag of walnuts, but they're still in there shell.
"Ahem. Excuse me, I said UN-shelled."
He goes, "Those ARE unshelled."
I say, "Okay, then how do you explain the LARGE AND OBSTRUCTIVE EXO-SKELETON-LIKE STRUCTURE OCCLUDING MY VISION OF THE NUT WITHIN ITS FIBROUS CARAPACE?"
He laughs (at me) and says, "Shelled means they took the shell off, and unshelled means they didn't take it off yet."
"So, what you're saying is, the word 'shell' is a verb and it means to unshell?"
"Do you mind if I cry?"
"No, go ahead. You look like a big boy, but it's okay sometimes to cry."
"Okay, would you mind showing me the SHELLED walnuts since having them be SHELLED means they are in a state of UNshelledness?"
He takes me to the produce section and finds me a bag of SHELLED walnuts which don't have SHELLS and hands it to me; I thank him; he goes away to let me sizzle in my humiliation.
Then I pull out my pen and try my hardest to write "UN" in front of the word "shell" on the package, so that it reads "UNshelled walnuts" since that intuitively sounds more like they don't have shells.
Then I go to the register to buy them. The lady grabs the bag, scans it, sees my barely-legible pen marks on the packaging and says, "I've always wanted to do that."