Here is a story that is very funny but was the result
of a dangerous prank on my part:
In 1983, when I had only been living in the 하숙집 for 2 months they
asked me to share my room with a young pastor who had just graduated
from seminary school and come to the US. I agreed.
Anyway, I drink coffee in the morning. I don't start to wake up until I
have had my first cup. So one morning I rolled out of my Korean style
blankets (on the floor) and began to crawl on the carpet, out of the
bedroom and down the hall toward the kitchen. There were a few people
already awake and I started putting on a show for them, imitating a
scene from American western movies where a thirsty exhausted person
would crawl across the hot desert sand saying 'Water.. water..' So I was
crawling saying 'Coffee.. coffee' when all of the sudden...
WHAM! Something came down hard and fast and swatted me on the butt! It
stung so much that it sent me flying to my feet. I turned and looked
and there was the young pastor holding the encyclopedia world atlas (백
화사전 지도 권) above his head. He was laughing and making a swinging
motion with the book and said "닷 아 다 웨 위 웨키 피플 어프 인 커리
아!" ("That's the way we wake people up in Korea" -English with a thick Korean accent)
As I rubbed my bottom with both hands I looked at him and thought to
myself 'I must get revenge for this.' So I said to him 'Haha you are a
very funny guy' and I began making motions with my hands like I was
swatting someone with a book, and I said to him 'Remember the book.
Remember the book' because I wanted him to remember later why I was
getting even with him. I began to plot my revenge.
I let a week go by and got up early in the morning, and filled a small
plastic produce bag (배추 한 큰 포기 만큼) half with oxygen and half
with acetylene welding gas. I then quietly laid the bag on the floor
close to where the pastor was sleeping, stood up, and threw a lit match
at the bag...
BOOM! It was like a bomb exploding. It's a good thing I didn't close
the room door because if I had the glass surely would have blown out of
the windows. It was so loud people came out of their houses from across
Well in a single jerk the pastor curled up into the corner of the room
and started saying "주요! 주요! - 주요! 주요!" Everyone in the house
had gathered behind me at the door but I started laughing. When the
pastor heard my laughter he turned with a bewildered expression on his
face. When he came to his senses and realized it had been a prank he
jumped to his feet. I swear the look in his eyes looked like the devil.
He let out a loud roar and came after me fast as lightning. I turned and
ran for the front door but half way there I turned and said "WAIT!
--REMEMBER THE BOOK? --REMEMBER THE BOOK?" He stopped his advance a few feet from me, he was breathing heavy. Then I looked him straight in the
face and said "Now THAT'S how we wake people up in America!!" He
breathed a heavy sigh and said "Ha ha you a very funny guy."
Later I asked him what he thought the moment of the explosion and he
replied "주님이 다시 오신 줄 알았어요." (I thought it was the second coming of Christ).
We were friends after that. A year later I attended his wedding, and he
went on to found a large successful church. I have been out of touch
with him over the years but I bet he will never forget me or the events
at that boarding house.
Koreans are good sports!
Well, that's the kind of prankster I was in my youth. Needless
to say I have had to calm down over the years.