I like movies. One of my favorite movies of all time is RUDY, a true story about a short little white guy from a blue-collar steel mill-working Catholic family in Illinois that struggles all his life to play college football for Notre Dame. But nobody in his family supports his retarded ambitions, discouraging and reminding him that they are poor, even mocking him that he doesn’t have a chance in hell to make it into the team, let alone, be admitted to the university. But he proves them wrong by doing just that, after tussling rigorously to transfer from a nearby junior college, and once he gets in, starts sweating pure blood and guts to gain a small spot as a walk-on player for the defense team. Then he puts out more sweat and guts day in and day out for the practice squad until one day, he finally gets his opportunity to actually dress-in for the final game of his senior year––the last regular game of their winning season against Georgia Tech. It would absolutely be the last time Rudy would ever put on the Irish uniform, even if it meant he was just going to be watching the game from the sidelines, wishing he could play, nonetheless, fulfilling his lifelong dream. However, he is soon overwhelmed by thousands of boisterous Irish fans including his family members watching him from the stands, becoming louder and louder, as they start rooting and chanting his name, “RUDY! RUDY!” so that he could be pressured into being put in the game. But he isn’t put in the game because the coach is an asshole. Soon the boy living his dream finally gets to play the lousy last thirty seconds of the almost-won, victory-clinching, pointless game. The most inspiring part however, is at the very end when only seven seconds remain in the fourth quarter; this former-loser-about-to-turn-into-a-role-model-and-become-a-motivational-speaker-in-real-life blitzes right through the offensive linemen and sacks the quarterback! The crowd goes wild and they chant his name even louder and harder, unable to contain their excitement and glee. Then his teammates carry Rudy off the field in an exuberant celebratory debauchery and they say even to this day, no other Fighting Irish player has ever been carried off the field. Well, until they did it to some other fool back in ’95. Anyway, it’s truly a beautiful and inspiring film. I still get the chills every time I watch it. I even dig its soothing, sweet, mellow theme music when I hear it. I still cry every time I watch it because it’s a true tear-jerking story of an underdog. I AM AN UNDERDOG. We, the underdogs, have it tough. I think I can personally relate to that Rudy guy more than any other guy on the freaking planet because I, like Rudy, am not considered handsome; I am short and broke, and just about all the pretty girls in the world have rejected me. Much like him in the movie, except Rudy, for some reason, he isn’t too much into girls. But I am. ALWAYS. And that’s pretty tough.
Anyway, that’s what I like. I like movies. I wish they’d hire me at some film studio to at least move their cables, so I could get close and get a glimpse on how those fascinating jobs get done. That crazy stuff really intrigues and captivates the hell out of me! I wanna make like mad, crazy dough! I once thought about attending film school, but I was like, “How much you say the tuition is again? Daaaang, ya’ll crazy!”
I tend to be one of those annoying guys in movie theaters shouting at the screen, especially during those long, annoying, unnecessary previews they show before the feature presentation, yelling stuff like, “Awww, that crap looks garbage!” or, “Ludacris can’t act for shit, man!” or, “That shit looks fake—that don’t look like no KEANU!”
To this day I believe The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the best movie I’ve seen. I tip my hat to the curly-haired director. I remember I was watching it in the movie theater by myself as usual, and towards the end of the movie, in the fiery Mordor scene where Frodo lays out in exhaustion while climbing Mt. Doom and his best friend Samwise Gamgee, played by Sean Astin, who also played Rudy, carries him over his shoulder, I yelled out at the top of my lungs––voice rattling, “RUDY! RUDY!” I actually got the whole crowd in the theater started. It was one of the few moments I actually felt charisma plow through my veins. It was really awesome…
A guy came into our store the other day to sell some shoes. He was forty-two years old, unmarried and haggard-looking––my dumb boss seemed interested so the guy went to his van to fetch more samples. Well, at least he was tall, I thought, but I wondered what he was still living for. Only two thoughts came to my mind: either he had been a player and never settled down, or he couldn’t find chicks when he was young and blew his chances at life while time swung by. At least he was fluent in his native language and looked very young for his age, I thought; I thought he was around twenty, or about my age. If you look at some of these hotshot Asian dudes in L.A., they all look young and skinny, drive around in fancy imports, and appear to shag other Asian girls left and right. I hate them, really. I tried to be once like them, about six or seven years ago, but failed miserably and utterly. I couldn’t even get babes while I worked at a smutty, booze-filled stinking nightclub. So I retreated to Mexico for about a year, but I couldn’t score there either. Irony has some freaking sick sense of humor. That would be me in a dozen years I thought, after staring at the dude as he tried to con my dumb boss into buying his non-brand piece o’ crap. I thought I might turn out like him one day, old and unmarried, and still desperate to make ends meet. And I’m not even tall.
I don’t expect anyone to read any of this piece o’ crap. All I’m gonna do is gripe and whine about how my life sucks and how I can’t seem to avoid dead ends. You’ll probably get sick of hearing it, especially if you’re a woman. I do that to people. I had this friend several years ago, one with whom I room-mated for a month, but she terminated our friendship because she couldn’t stand anymore of my whining regarding why I couldn’t get a girlfriend and why God hated me and all. She said I was total bad luck and brought out the worst in people. Whatever that means… I can’t really blame her though. I tried to shag her for the longest time, every time I’d get horny, which was all the time, but she would never put out. So I got mad and told her to #$*% off. Her legs were closed and locked as tightly as a goddam vise. She was pretty decent looking although she wasn’t really my type because she was missing real eyebrows and was pretty dark-skinned for an Asian. And I liked light-skinned chicks. She was also way too tall for me, and she was too damn smart. She got a BA in Business Management from USC and I dropped out of LACC—that’s a community college. Simply no comparison. Before she left my tiny studio apartment, she said there was nothing worse than a short, broke, infantile psycho with a foul mouth that had a bad temper. Whatever... I heard that way too many times and never cared. I tend to let most criticism slide in through one ear and then let it flow out through the other.
You’ll probably hear me say how my stupid life would all change in an instant if I had a beautiful girl, or at least a decent looking hottie with long legs attached to a decent body who enters my life and soothes my cancer-stricken heart. Well, I’m still waiting for my significant other, a total cheesecake to show up and rock my world. All the girls I knew in the past are now married, gone back to their country, or divorced. Just about. One of my biggest goals is still getting filthy rich, so I could show up in a Ferrari on a bright sunny day in front of their homes and psychologically torture them for making a mistake. I would make them feel guilty and sore for rejecting me. That would be my ardent wish and the best way to get even. But it’s easier said than done, of course. I wish I could say how many times I tried to get revenge by trying to make a lot of money and how much energy I wasted by getting involved in one of those get-rich-quick schemes.
To me, there are two kinds of people. Those that are truly blessed by The Almighty, and those that aren’t. For example, if you’re a 29 year-old single Asian male living in the United States and never had a girlfriend in your whole life, no matter how hard you tried to attract the member of the opposite sex, then you’re truly not blessed. You might as well be dubbed the “King of Cold Showers,” and if people ever looked up the word, “lonely” in their dictionary, then they would find your picture along with your email address and social security number. That’s how low it was for me. It was so sad, my life. To me, if I couldn’t make money or love, then there was no point in living. It would be like living a life of a cockroach or a monk as far as I knew it. And I apologize to all the cockroaches out there, but that’s just how I feel. I know I’m going to hell, because I worship both money and women so much, which means I serve two masters, but the thing is, technically, I still haven’t really sinned yet. I didn’t physically have the satisfaction of obtaining either of them, so in a way, I’m still innocent. A blasphemous assertion like that would get my pretty ex-roommate so riled up she would curse me and ostracize me; she was a very religious girl and she’s had a real rough life too. Her parents disowned her or something and she still thanked God every day for all the things He gave her and all the things He didn’t. Yeah, and she called me a psycho.
I’m too embarrassed to mention where I’m originally from, because I don’t want to give my native country people a bad name. I want to save them some face and dignity. Maybe I’ll clue in later, but not now. If you have any Asian friends or know someone who is, first of all, I bet they’re way better off than I am, then I’m sure they’re likely to guess who I am very quickly. But don’t get me wrong; I’m a goddamn proud American Citizen––I was all out supporting the war in Iraq, a hardcore Bush fan, until we went in there and started fucking everything up. I once joined the Marine Corps Reserves right after high school, but had to come right back because I was a wuss and got scared shitless at boot camp. Boy, what a nightmare that was. I ranked the lowest score in almost every single PT exercise they gave the recruits. I’m also one of the biggest wimps you’ll ever know.
To this day, I would like to believe that I had the worst relationship with women. To simply put it again, there was no relationship with women. That would be the main reason why I’m stuck sitting here eating hospital food because I went insane again a few days ago. I feel almost somewhat vindicated though, feeling like I finally got heard nonetheless, even though I got knocked off my tracks by the “Big Man Upstairs.” I was out to justify my anger towards God but failed. All in all, I wanted to get my well-deserved revenge soon. A wise businessman once said, “There’s no sweeter revenge than massive success!” Well, I’m the guy very qualified to do it––so where do I sign up? I once had this cute black girl in high school tell me during band class, “You saaaaad little thaaang…!” What a horrible thing to hear when you were just minding your own business while reading sheet music in your senior year and suddenly someone sitting behind you, someone who was three years younger than you, started figuring you out like a book. So you know I had it bad even back then. If I didn’t, then you would hear how I could so easily be out-scorned by others who also had less, yelling, “Well, at least you had this, and you had that––we never even had any of those things at all, so shut the hell up, you wussy! What a puss!” Yeah, well, it’s true. I do have both parents living, and I don’t have problems with drugs or alcohol. Just a slight case of porn addiction. But then, I don’t have any alimony or child support cases to deal with, because I never got laid more than once in ten years! So you see, I’m just one miserable, ungrateful SOB. I’m mostly cranky and bitter like this every day. I admit that if I was a woman married to me, then I’d divorce myself or take a whole bottle of sleeping pills and kill myself.
Whoever said that it’s better to have loved once than never to have loved at all, or loved something, but will never gain, or whatever the #$*% love is, don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. Nobody screws with Dave. Nobody screws with me and expects to be forgiven.
Where I want to start telling the story is how I met my last love, or should I say, the biggest infatuation of my life, Jeannie, from the company that I used to work for right after I came back from Mexico about two years ago. I’m still reeling from my injuries, both physical and emotional. I say she had a lot to do with it, but that might seem too cowardly right now. I can’t still seem to get her off my mind. She was my H2O and O2. I remember when she first came to our company; I was on the warehouse floor packing some shoes for a retail customer when I walked into the office to get a drink of water. And there she was, sitting next to Mrs. O, our company’s cashier, on a chair where mostly our swap meet customers usually sat to pay their invoice and yap about how terrible their retail businesses went over the weekend. I remember she got up and smiled at me, telling me that her name was Jeannie, and that she was very pleased to meet me. The girl was super gorgeous. She stole my heart right then, and I thought it was love at first sight. She had flawless teeth and white creamy skin and a really perfectly slim-tight figure. She was like a Ferrari––looked damn good from all angles. I told her I was also pleased to meet her, but I got a little startled when she bowed at me at a 90º angle like the way us yellow kids at grade school bowed to teachers and elders back in our home country. So I told her that she didn’t need to do that, salute me like I was an old man or something. Instead, I offered her a handshake, and told her that I would be at her privileged assistance whenever she needed me, even at night. Her immaculately creamy white face just blushed and lit up, and then she bowed again. I could tell she hadn’t been in the U.S. very long. I knew right then I had some stiff competition with my other male coworkers, whom among was Eddie, a goddamn boozehound, a womanizer, a cradle-robber, and a sick pervert. He drove a CLK55 AMG and was two years younger than me. I was just an assistant purchasing manager/customer service rep and there was about a handful of young Asian boners that outranked me, who I think were all unmarried at the time. My heart just sank and I realized I had to develop some kind of a close bond with Jeannie soon, because my jealousy could soon swallow me whole and make my life a stinking, miserable hell. Just knowing that other punks could shag her and not me, could make me go crazy; my working environment could turn into an ugly, terribly dark and uncomfortable place to work in. My bad temper and envy went hand in hand.
Jeannie was a jewel. You would agree if you saw her. She was so kind, fine, and cute––the cutest twenty-three year-old I had ever seen in my whole life. And not only did she look cute, she also acted cute. That was one thing I loved so dearly about her. In many ways, Jeannie didn’t act her age. She behaved and sounded like she was seventeen, and she acted like she wanted to stay that way forever. She constantly reminded me of that song Seventeen by Winger every time I walked by her cubicle. So when I first saw her sitting on that scuzzy chair quietly and smiling with both hands and heels together, I thought she was maybe someone’s young teenage daughter. Of course, there are lots of other gorgeous girls out there, but Jeannie was surely innocent and delightful in her own little ways and to top it all, really fun to be with. If you’ve seen that movie starring Jennifer Garner, 13 Going On 30, then you might know what I’m talking about. Well, I haven’t seen that one yet so I have no idea what that movie is about, but I did take a good look at the numerous ads for it on bus stopsand billboards and I remember saying, “Damn! Who-dat? She’s FINE!” Jeannie surpassed that to me in a million ways and then some.
Anyway, Jeannie was single and I must say, became the moonlight of my world. And I told her that many times. But the problem was, although we rapidly became friends, I mean, I became her best friend in and out of work, and we did go everywhere we could possibly go together in L.A. that we both could afford––she only considered me her “big brother” and nothing more. In English, that meant “a platonic friendly brother,” which didn’t exist in my vocabulary. What a joke! What was I––an idiot? But she told me that many times, saying that I was an idiot first of all, and that it didn’t matter to her whether I believed a man and a woman could enjoy a good platonic friendship or not, because that’s all I was to her––a platonic friendly brother. Now that I think about it, I guess it was possible…if I was GAY! If I had a chance to ask her again, I would ask her if she ever felt embarrassed to be seen with me. Maybe that was why she seemed to keep a certain distance from me. I mean, she never introduced me to her friends, although I didn’t think she had many friends either, and whomever I met with her on the street, she told them that I was “just a friend.” That was really messed up. I think she was in a way, using me because I was always trying to be by her side and I wasn’t dressed very nicely, but was willing to buy and get her just about anything I could to keep her happy and good-spirited. I ought to have dumped her from the beginning had I known that she was only gonna break me. Women were really all the same in a way. I wasted so much time and money on her. But it truly didn’t matter to me deep inside what she said or did; I still loved her and tried to woo her every second I happily spent with her. I vehemently refused to believe that we were just “siblings” in my mind. I tried to advance to the next level by applying all kinds of jokes, both good and bad, clean and dirty, and she laughed with me everywhere and all the time. To me, we had a lot more things going on. So I secretively laid out a plan to achieve this impressive feat that only a few were offered––one day wake up as her brother, and the next day rise up as her daddy! It was supposed to take place at the newly opened Morongo Casino Resort if I remember it. “You could run but you can’t hide!” was what I always told myself, imagining how the Big Bad Wolf must’ve felt when he came so close to tasting and devouring that feisty, tasty, spunky, naughty, teasing wench of a slut, the Little Red Riding Hood. I couldn’t figure out how that wolf screwed up so badly. I really believed I had plenty of time on my hands to cook my Jeannie up. Boy, did I miscalculate! It was all a horrible mistake and misunderstanding when I found out that she was going to leave me for good all of a sudden. I didn’t even realize for weeks or even months that she was planning the big one. And I wasn’t even on the roster to be the contender. I wasn’t ready to hear the news she spilled on me the other day. It was like my whole life had come crashing down and I couldn’t breathe anymore. And it wasn’t the first time some girl told me the saddest news to a man. I had my long list of significant fumbles of love at first sight.
One day Jeannie asked me out to dinner (which thus far had been at Carl’s Jr. when she would pay, so she could chow down on her favorite bunless lettuce burger), and we talked about how each other’s whole week went and what kind of a car she dreamed of driving. She kept SMS messaging somebody but I ignored it. I had left the shoe wholesale company to work at a retail shoe store in Watts and she had also long quit that same company because she was under a lot of pressure and couldn’t hack the heavy stress anymore. I had previously warned her many times about things, especially about the volume of work that company gave the workers who were really good at their jobs. But I knew she got tired of being harassed constantly by her male colleagues, by someone like that guy Edward, and her boss—who was old enough to be her father. Of course, with me out of the way––her guardian and bodyguard––all the perverts of that company, all the ones that looked at her lewdly whenever she bent over to send a fax or something, had a field day with her, trying to see who could stick their tongue out the farthest up into Jeannie’s juicy and sexy vulnerable thigh gap. My “sister” looked that damn good sometimes. Sometimes she dressed like crap with her hair all tied up and messy like she hadn’t showered in days, just to fend off some testosterone breathing down her neck I supposed, but when she wasn’t at work and had makeup and glasses, she looked really sexy and sophisticated, like Tina Fey from SNL and Ashleigh Banfield from MSNBC. It was that whole damn bookworm thing for me. I say some women look so steamy hot in their unique, delicious ways.
Anyway, on that ill-fated Friday night at that restaurant, Jeannie laid the bombshell on me. It appeared as if all of a sudden, I woke up one day and everything had been nuked the hell out and nothing was left. I felt like the heavyweight boxer Tommy Morrison after he got knocked the fuck out by the heavy-punching Ray Mercer in the 5th round, which was virtually, a man rape. I was too slow to see it coming. It was at Benihana, where she promised to pay, where we were having sushi with sake and Asahi beer after having talked about her other perverted boss at her new job, when all of a sudden, I nearly dropped cold. First of all, I knew it was a little fishy that she asked me out because she mostly spent her time at the library on weekends to study by herself and complained of not having enough money. (I was either at work or mostly excluded from this practice due to me supposedly annoying her numerous times, which I thought was baloney because all I ever did was bang on the soda machine for eating up my quarters, etc.) I must admit, I was luminously captivated by all the attention we were getting from people in the restaurant. Of course, there were a lot of people dining out that night in Beverly Hills. Benihana was one of her favorite spots. Mostly the White, Jewish, and other Asian folks were staring at us, mostly at her, allowing me to guess a million bucks that they were all thinking the same thing: that I was her boyfriend and I was bonking the hell out of her, and I was so lucky to be accompanying such an eye-popping Asian eye candy. ‘Go ahead, dream on, wussies!’ I thought to myself, for I treasured such precious feelings, wishing they would never end. You see, I’m a pretty good thespian. I can simply act like someone I’m not, and then act back to being my lonely self within seconds.
Excerpted from "The Ugly Guys Club" by Dan K. Oh. Copyright © 2017 by Dan K. Oh. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.