This week is Papa Lu’s birthday. Since he enjoyed telling his friends that I wrote a blog post of things he told me last time, I decided to write another one.
————–Encounter with a Gangster————–
Recently I was walking down Mission Street with my dad, and a man came up to us and spewed made-up words in a fake imitation Chinese accent out of nowhere. Maybe he got inspiration from Rush Limbaugh. I don’t know. Anyway, I was SO offended and furious, especially he could clearly see I was with my father. I’m pissed if you diss me but if you want to disrespect my older family members? HO! PREPARE FOR A SMACK DOWN!
…At the same time, I knew my dad hates violence or unnecessarily conflicts, so I just gave the ignorant man a death stare and asked rhetorically “Are you done yet?” The man laughed manically and exclaimed “Oh the Chinese speak English!” I gave him my beautiful, elegant middle finger while walking away.
My dad could tell I was riled up so he sighed and said “Do you remember when I used to live in an apartment with three guys in college? Let me tell you…
“One day someone rang the doorbell. I wasn’t the one who answered, but I came out of my room to see. It was a local gangster. He looked at all three of us in the eye and said hey, our forth roommate stole his friend’s drum set. We had no idea what he was talking about, but the other guys told him that he isn’t here right now. I didn’t say anything but I looked at him right back in the eye.
‘Fine,’ the gangster said as he pulled up a chair, ‘Then I’ll wait until he comes home.’ An hour passed. Two hours passed. I can tell that the other roommates are getting nervous. Me, I carried on around the apartment, doing my homework in the living room, making and eating my dinner… The guy still isn’t back home. We didn’t have cell phones back then so we couldn’t call him.”
Me: “I thought you guys had pagers like B.B. Call.”
My Dad: “AY. We did page him! But of course why would he come back to face a gangster? Also don’t interrupt me. My story isn’t finished yet.”
Me: “OKAY. Sorry. Continue”
“Finally the gangster looked at his watch and said ‘It’s getting late. I have other business to do. I think the reasonable thing to do here is that each of you pay me for how much the drum set is worth.’ The other guys quietly handed over their money. Me, I remained seated as I was. The gangster smiled and nodded at me as he waved goodbye.”
This is when I asked, “Sooooo like how do you know he was a gangster? Did he have weapons on him?”
My dad: “I just know! They wear the same colors like uniform. I’m not stupid. And yes, he had a baseball bat with him, but he wasn’t that strong-looking. I knew that if we wanted to, the three of us could take him. I just don’t want to unless I have to.”
Me: “Oh my god, so you weren’t even that brave!”
My Dad: “Hey! He could have called his gang brothers for back up! You never know. My point is that if you remain silent and you hold someone’s gaze, they would think, oh, this person isn’t afraid of me. And then they would wonder, hmm why wouldn’t they be afraid of me like everyone else? ‘Ah, there must be some reason. Maybe he knows more than I do or maybe he knows he’s stronger than me.’ See?”
Me: “Okay. Wait…Now I’m confused. I don’t know why you’re telling me this story. How is this relevant?”
My Dad: “Oh yes, my other point was that because my other roommates chose to be involved, they had to pay. I didn’t. So you should not be so upset. Just walk away from crazy strangers next time. Stay out of trouble by not going towards it.”
The morales of this are:
- Don’t start nothin’, there won’t be nothin’.
- Silence is the best response sometimes, especially good for bluffing or to create an air of mystery.
- Don’t interrupt someone when they’re telling their story. Ask questions at the end.
- Stories are great for distracting somebody from their current situation.
Happy Birthday, Dad!