By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
I am a beacon of wisdom. I am a pillar of intelligence. Go ahead, ask me anything.
OK, maybe I’m not all that right at the moment. But, believe me, it’s just around the corner.
I’m now 51 years old, and if you are to believe what you see in the movies, Asian men, as they get older, seem to acquire a wisdom and sageness that can overcome any adversity.
No matter how complicated a problem is, an older Asian man will have the perfect answer, and it will usually come in the form of a proverb that is incredibly deep and overwhelmingly profound. The proverbs sound something like:
“A cat who eats too many birds may find itself unable to scratch its back.”
“A raindrop falls from a cloud as happily as the wind blows from the east.”
“A child laughs only once if a frog turns to stone.”
Now, I don’t know what any of that means. But I’m not supposed to – I’m not a wise old man just yet.
But it’s just a matter of time – I figure in about 15 years I’ll read back those proverbs and just gently nod my head in agreement and think, “Yes, of course.”
If I’m to believe what I see in the movies, in about 15 years, I’ll start wearing round, wire-rimmed glasses, I’ll have the requisite goatee, and apparently my martial arts skills will grow exponentially to the point that I’m kicking the butts of adolescent bullies in high school at the drop of a hat.
It’s about time, too. I can’t wait until this miraculous transformation begins because, the last few years, my IQ has seemed to drop precipitously.
Maybe it’s just a temporary dip before I enter my wise old sage years.
Just the other day, I had to scan and email some documents to my stock broker to make some changes to one of my accounts. All I had to do was print my name, date it, list my title as an owner of my company, and then write my signature on the bottom line. As most people have, I’ve done this type of thing a million times.
Easy enough. I fill out the form, send it back, and I’m on to the next thing on my daily to-do list. But I soon get a call.
My stock broker’s assistant calls me and says, “Mr. Chan, thank you so much for filling out the paperwork and getting it back so quickly. But, you missed a couple of things. Could you review the documents and get it back to me?”
“Of course,” I said. I figured I had just inadvertently missed something. Quickly scanning the page, it looks like I missed the part where I was supposed to list my business title.
Easy enough. I send back the page and get on with my day.
Except that I get another call.
“Mr. Chan, “ she said. “Thanks for listing the title but it looks like you forgot to include your signature.”
Looking back at the document, I did indeed miss my signature on page one of the document.
“I’m so sorry.” I said. “I’ve signed it and you should see the completed document in your inbox now.”
I’m thinking – I need to be a little more careful about this. Oh well, live and learn.
She calls back.
“Mr. Chan, “ she says. “Thank you so much for signing the first page, but the last page also needs your signature.” I sign the last page and send it back again.
She calls back. I signed on the wrong line of the last page. After fixing that, she calls again.
I had missed putting the date down on the first page. I sat at my desk with my hand on the phone for 20 minutes waiting for her to call me back. Apparently, I had managed to get it right. It only took her four phone calls to get me to submit everything correctly. I apologized each time she called but I was running out of logical excuses to keep her from thinking that I am a blithering idiot.
Oh well. What can you do? You know what they say:
A man walking down a winding path can sing like a dolphin but never in a squirrel’s presence. (end)
Wayne Chan can be reached at email@example.com.