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The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe
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The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings
, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that.
Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti
and Erdogan’s Basaksehir
are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams
. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.
Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM
Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC
residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp
. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role. No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club.
Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team. Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005.
Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub
and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy.
The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút
”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán
(György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.”
Let’s leave that there.
Part 2: No stadium left behind Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power.
He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals.
In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country
, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice
. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence
. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs
– however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed.
Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team
of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.
Part 3: Small place, big game!
As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately.
Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium.
Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”,
no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena
(in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village
, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena
. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi
acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia
(medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC)
. The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division
with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him
”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then
). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás”
part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner
– the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league. Orbán
– now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country
(only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
- Construction of a new tea kitchen for youth players for 650,000 EUR
- Construction of a new “sports and conference center” for 40 million EUR
- Employment of a 45 person “cleaning and maintenance staff” for the academy.
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players
, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”.
To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge
about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place
. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium
, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy)
to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”.
Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country
”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money.
But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!
Epilogue: What's in the future?
As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary
(Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League
on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth.
5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say. TL,DR
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – BAR FIGHT? NOT WITH DOC BIONICFINGERS! Part one.
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That reminds me of a story.
I’m going cooped-up crazy. Shacky-wacky. Hotel doldrums have set in.
Yes, I know. Es and I just got back from a resounding tour of a shipbreaking yard in India.
Flew way above First Class.
Never had to even touch our luggage.
♫Oh, what fun it is to charter flights. Limos all the way. Hey! ♫.
But, the hotel bars here are paling quickly. Quiet. Too quiet. Same old, dull, dazed, and dormant crowd. The Expat population in Dubai is dwindling mightily. The COVID craziness is a madness that is taking a heavy toll. Everything’s shut down. Everyone’s staying at home.
I’m almost nostalgic for a good old Dubai 35 car pile-up and traffic jam.
Es sees that I’m in a quandary. She had quite a few friends here in Dubai. The ones I had have all left due to cratering oil prices or they’re what’s considered an ‘essential employee’, and thus unavailable.
“ROCK! QUIT YOUR PACING!” Es says in her most inimitable manner. “YOU’RE MAKING ME CRAZY!”
“A thousand pardons, my darling. But, Boditek. I suffer! Klytus, I’m bored. Bored out of my fucking mind. I can only write so much on the Precambrian Hydrocarbon reservoirs of Eastern Siberia. Television’s a bust, there’s no Netflix, even Pirate Bay is blocked here, and I’m going spare!” I whimper.
“Go then. Begone with thee. Go find a dark bar and grab a seat on Mahogany Ridge. You need a night off. Just take your fingers with so you won’t scare the locals. And be home before they open the borders. We want to be first in line when that happens” she says.
“By your command!”, I say, grab her around the waist, give her a spin, a quick smooch on the cheek, and pat on the backside before I hit the stairs in our suite in a flat-out gallop to retrieve my now charged digits from their charging port on my nightstand.
A few minutes later…
Stately, plump Dr. Rocknocker came from the stairhead bearing three incredibly expensive technologically-derived Kevlar-ed digits. He was clad in his finest Desert Fox chino shorts, freshly cleaned and oiled field boots, a new pair of jade Merino Rannoch Luxury Country Socks, best new Hawaiian drinking shirt
, a Blasting technician
T-shirt and black, recently blocked, Stetson.
He was so full of himself, that he actually stopped talking about his own self in the narrative in the third person.
“Esme? Darling? I’m off!” I say with a lilt in my voice and a cheeseburger in my pocket.
But that’s another story.
“You’re off, all right”, Es chuckles. “Now Rock, remember. This is the first time in a long time I’m letting you off the chain, out unsupervised among the general population. Don’t break anyone if you can avoid it and even if someone needs a quick killing, remember, you’re on vacation. OK?”
“Oh, my dear!” I chuckle and snicker, “You know me. I wouldn’t kill anyone here in Dubai. There’s no money in it.”
“Still. Best behavior?” She admonishes.
“I can’t guarantee anything, but I will try,” I reply.
“Pinkie promise?” she requests.
Damn. One of the few fingers of which left I have a natural set.
Now I can’t say that it was just a Kevlar-coated contract.
“But of course”, I say as we entwine pinkies. Hers nice, clean, and pink; mine keloidal, gnarled, and scarred.
Yeah, it about makes me retch. But Es sort of enjoys these silly things now and again.
I’m waiting in the hotel bar for my cab to arrive. I have a quick Long Island Iced Tea or three before I hit the streets. I’ve got this weird hankering for a sports bar. Don’t know why. I hate football, i.e., soccer, cricket, and those other weird forms of ball chasing they call sports over here.
But I yearn to be in a bar full of leather, hewn wood, and smoke. Attended by the smell of manly men drinking as they see fit.
In Dubai? Fat chance.
I ask my driver, who has just arrived, and who will be with me all night; if he minds me smoking, having a drink in a plain brown wrapper, and if he knows of a decent sports bar in Dubai.
Quantum Sports Bar.
“It’s sort of pricey”, he tells me.
My driver for the duration is one Roy Toisuta, an Indonesian chap who looks like he fell off a charm bracelet. In reality, I could make up three of him. But he’s affable, quick on the gas and bound to be a boon companion.
He is wiry in that whipsaw sort of kill-you-with-a-paperclip-1000-different-ways sort of manner. Like the human personification of a gaunt wolverine.
We’ll get along famously.
He tells me he doesn’t drink for whatever reason. He announces that he would wait for me out in the car while I go in and do whatever one does in a Sports Bar in Dubai for a few hours.
“Look, Roy”, I say, “I’m on retainer. C’mon in and I’ll buy you dinner and all the coffee, tea, or fizz water you could want. I just need someone non-judgmental. See, I have this affliction. I’m an alcohol-fueled carbon-based organism. I tend to drink a lot, but only to excess. You have any sort of problem with that?”
“Well, Rock”, he says, “As long as we’re being honest, I have no problem. The way I see it, the more you drink, the looser your wallet becomes.”
“I don’t suppose you’d care to lay a small wager on that conclusion?” I ask, leerily in that strange way I have that makes Komodo Dragons gulp in disbelief.
“I’ll bet, after what you told me about your recent confinement, that I’ll be dragging and/or carrying you out of the bar tonight. “ he snickers, dreaming of my very loose wallet and its contents. “You’re going to be tying one on, I can see that.”
“You can see me. But you can’t see
my past” I think.
“Well, you’re not drinking, so what’s in it for me if I win?” I ask.
“A free driver for the next week?” he asks.
“Want to make it a month? I’m really, really thirsty.” I sneer.
“Make it a fortnight.”, he laughs. “Easiest money I’ve ever made. I can barely hold you back.”
“Deal”, as we shake hands. He notices my gloves for the first time.
“What’s that all about?” he asks.
“Industrial accident years ago. Not terribly pretty.” I say.
“Oh. OK. Ready to go?” He asks.
“Gentlemen”, I announce, “Forward. Drink!”
Roy accepts a cigar from one of my travel pocket humidors and we walk up to the entrance.
“You be who?” asks the doorman.
“Well, my good man, I am the Motherfucking Pro from Dover
, and this is my able-bodied companion, Kato”, I say in my most affected Elliott Gould imitation.
“What?” he asks trying to corral at least two functioning synapses.
“Pardons. I’m Dr. Rocknocker and this is my trusty driver, Roy.” I continue.
“Ah. What? Hmm? Who?” was the response.
“Oh, I am sorry. Which word confused you?” I asked, most deferentially.
“You trying to be smart?” he asks.
“Well, I reckoned that at least one of us should,” I replied.
He sat there and fumbled with that reply like a nun in a warm bathtub fumbles with a bar of soap. You know the type, she has hope in her soul…
As he struggles to come up with an answer, I offer him a cigar the likes of which I’m certain he’s never seen outside of a Hollywoo movie.
“Here, my good man. My card.” I say as I hand over a large example of the perfection of the tobacconist’s art.
He gratefully accepts the cigar and removes the rope barrier.
“Have yourself a good time, gents.” He says.
“Oh. We intend to”, I reply.
“Ever need anything, just ask for Sandeep” the towering Nepali remarks with a smile.
“Thanks. Have a night yourself…”, I reply and stuff another cigar in his shirt pocket for later.
He grins wide as Dubai Creek and just as brown. He shoots me a wide smile and a universal thumbs-up sign.
“Best to make friends rather than antagonize the locals”, I muse.
“You’re an odd bird, Doctor Rocknocker.” Roy chortles.
“Roy, it’s just ‘Rock’, OK? It’ll save both time and cuts down on CO2 exhalations. And I’m all for protecting the environment.” I smiled back.
Roy chewed on that one for most the rest of the night.
The Sports Bar was quiet. Fairly empty, with probably more wait-persons than patrons.
One particularly buxom specimen of the female side of the equation welcomed us in an overtly and obviously affected mien. She wanted to show us to a table that was within the sphere of her waitressy influence.
“No, thank you”, I said as I spied acres and acres of glistening unoccupied Mahogany with tens of unoccupied seats that both faced the long bar and the several large-screen televisions there.
Seemingly bereft of people to wait and prey upon, she ignored us roundly. To her financial detriment as we would all find out during the course of the evening.
I chose a likely looking seat at the bar and Roy joined me, cautiously, a seat or two away.
“I don’t bite, Roy”, I said.
“Social distancing”, he replied.
“Ah. Well, I have a fully functional immune system as well as the hardest working liver in the galaxy. I assure you I’m in no way communicable.” I replied, slightly miffed. “Besides, after that cab ride here, whatever ætiology I have, you have as well, and vice versa.”
He scooted over one seat but shuttled that seat back to the right about 15 more centimeters.
“Some folks just don’t like their personal space invaded”, I surmised.
I pulled out one of my cigar cases, a cutter, lighter, and a stack of currencies that I was going to try and get rid of that night.
I had freshly minted UK Pounds, Euros of many nations, Indian Rupees, Russian Rubles, Japanese Yen, Chinese Renmimbi, some Uzbek Som, Afghani Afghans, Argentinian Pesos, down under Ozzian Dollarydoos, Mongolian Tugriks, Omani Rials, a few Samoan Tālā, and a bunch of US dollars.
How I ended up with that last group remains a mystery.
Roy goggled at the stack of weirdly colored and weirdly wonderful currencies of many nations.
“Sorry, Roy”, I said, “No Indonesian rupiah. Haven’t been to Jakarta in a long time.”
“What the hell are those weird ones there?” he asked.
“Which ones?” I chuckled back.
It was at that time our reverie was broken.
The bartender, one Zac O'Madden, an Irish national currently working for the hotel to which this bar is attached, interrupts our nascent debauch and asks for our drink orders.
“Not so fast there!” I say. “Introductions first. We’re not savages here.”
Zac chuckles. “You’re obviously American.”
“Вы уверены в этом? [Are you certain of that?]”, I say in return.
Zac just stands there and laughs.
“Та үнэхээр итгэлтэй байна уу? [Are you really certain?]” I ask in Mongolian. “Ĉu vi vere certas? Bạn có thực sự chắc chắn?”
“You’re as Russian or whatever that was as I am Kenyan. Now I know it. You’re American.” He says assuredly.
“And you have this nasty habit of being correct. I’m Dr. Rocknocker, call me Rock. This slight but solid fellow to my right is Roy, late of Jakarta and Krakatoa, actually west
of Java.” I snicker.
“And I am Zac O’Madden, of Dublin and points east. Nice to meet you all. What can I get for you?” he asks.
After we shake hands in a very manly, indeed, manner, I ask Roy what is his pleasure.
“A tall club soda with a twist of lime, on the rocks.” He replies offhandedly.
“You’ve done this before”, I observe rather unnecessarily. “Zac, Roy gets what he wants tonight, my tab. I’ll have a Sazerac, hold the sugar. Actually several. You see, on the flight over, I sat through another showing of ’Live and Let Die’, and now I miss Mardi Gras, New Orleans, and Pat O’Brien’s. But I don’t like sweet drinks.”
“Coming right up”, Zac says with a well-practiced swish of his bar rag.
“Oh, but I’m not finished. I’d also like a beer chaser. A pint of…ah, do you have a beer menu?” I ask, looking down the long row of tappers.
“Coming up”, he says, and races off to find me one.
A few minutes later he returns with my cocktail, Roy’s fizz water, and a bar beer menu.
I raise my glass to Zac and then to Roy. We clink and I say, “I like this guy. And I like this bar. We’re going to have us a large night.”
I drain my unsweet Sazerac in one go.
Hey. I was thirsty. Needs a scootch
more absinthe I observe.
Roy and Zac just sort of stare, wide-eyed, as I peruse the beer menu.
Nice menu, nice diversity. Oh, very nice.
“I’ll have the Asahi Kuronama Black if you don’t mind. Plus another Sazerac, a bit more absinthe if you please. You see, I have this genetic condition I need to keep in balance.” I grinned.
Zac looked at me like I had some sort of adverse medical condition.
“You OK, Rock?” he asked most earnestly.
“Look, Zac, I just met you and you’re a hell of a tarbender, far be it from me to tell you your job, but you see, there is this…” I said, trailing off.
“Yes?” His was a look of genuine concern. The genuine concern he won’t own that pile of currency on the bar in front of me by the end of the night.
“Yeah. Genetics dealt me a weird hand. See. I’m an ethanol-fueled carbon-based organism…”
Roy just rolled his eyes.
Zac looked puzzled.
“Yeah, I require alcohol in good-tasting and heroic amounts on a regular basis. I also have to smoke huge, black cigars in order to moderate the bioreactor.” I smiled, as I leaned back and fired up a heater.
Zac looked at me. Chewed over what I said for a moment or two. He shrugged his shoulders, grabbed my empty glass, and said, “OK, whatever. Round two in moments.”
Roy went to ask me something, thought better of it, and just leaned over and grabbed my Zippo from Irkutsk.
He looked at the cameo-relief silver and amber city crest attached to the lighter, flipped it open, and tried firing up his cigar.
“They draw better if you cut the end first,” I said, absently; and not looking, just hand him my V-cutter.
Zac returns with a new Sazerac, a chilled bottle of Asahi Kuronama Black, a tall pilsner glass, and a new club soda for Roy.
I puffed my cigar, drained another Sazerac in one go, tried the Japanese black beer, and found it to my liking. I leaned back to observe what sort of sports carnage they were observing on the big screens.
Roy just looked at me with wide eyes but said nothing.
The evening wore on. After a couple or twelve more Sazeracs, I decided it was time to teach Zac the finer points of mixology via premium vodka, bubbly citrus, ice, and lime wheels.
I also found that they had a stock of Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844, from China.
“PBR!”, I almost yelled, “Holy wow! I grew up on the stuff.”
“Not this stuff, Rock”, Zac said, “Look at the price. We only got a small amount due to a shipping error. It’s not sold outside of China normally.”
It was UAE 165 per bottle, about US$45, and worth every dirham. Zak was amazed when I told him to go ahead and have one on Roy and me.
“Really, Rock?”, Zac exclaimed. “The usual buggers here are so tight, they hum when the wind blows. Hardly anyone buys me a drink. Except for you Americans. Finest kind.”
“That’s me. An international ambassador of amity and alcohol,”, I say and toast in his general direction. “Crack tubes!”
Roy was getting tired as a newt. Evidently not
drinking, listening to old war stories, and watching recorded US Football games due to the COVID lack of anything live, can take its toll as well.
I’m going strong as I’m asking Zac to explain what the fuck cricket is all about.
“So, let me get this straight,” I say, ordering another double cocktail and a couple of PBR chasers for Zac and myself. “The guy on the mound runs up and pitches to the guy dressed in the body armor. He uses a bent 2x4 to defend the wicket, which, if I recall correctly, can be sticky. Then he keeps the aliens from stealing the stumps and burning them to ashes in Australia...”
“God”, Zac exclaims, “You’re fucking hopeless.”
“Everything I know about cricket I learned from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy.” I smiled proudly.
“That was rather obvious…” Zac sheeshed. He left to attend to another patron, a loud and woozy Kiwi.
I looked at the source of all the bad noise and in my inattention, just clicked my full beer glass. I inadvertently violated Rule #1 and spilled a small soupçon of expensive, imported beer onto my left hand.
“Whoops!”, I said and stripped off my sodden left-hand glove. I used Zac’s bar towel to sop up the bar and dry my techno-digits.
Roy looked not only at my ‘whoops’, but goggled my Japanese one-off, so far, electro-fingers.
“Rock. What the hell, man. I mean, what the fuck. Are those for real?” he asked.
“Yeah, they are a new prototype and I’m the lab rat.”, I said, waggling them and seeing that something as mundane a beer spill could never possibly injure them.
By this time, Zac wanders back, sees I’ve used his bar rag, and looks at my hand for real for the first time.
“What the fuck, Rocko? You some sort of cyborg?” he asks.
“By definition; yes, I am. And my grandfather used to call me that. Thanks.”, I replied. “But, yeah, I’m an alcohol-fueled one at that,” I say, tapping and pointing rather pointedly at my currently unpopulated cocktail glass.
Zac returns with a reload. He and Roy demand to know the whole story.
“If you must pry…” I say.
“Oh, we must, we must”, they reply in unison.
So, I regale them with the tale of the Siberian rig. The blowout, fire, and the moderately overzealous Russian FNG.
“Rock, I don’t know if that’s true, but by your appearance, it has to be. Let me buy you a drink.” Zac says.
Roy asks for a Molson Light.
“Roy! You old fraud.” I said.
“I usually don’t drink. But after that story, I think I need something cold, wet, and with a little punch.” He said, staring at my hand.
“Then you’ve chosen well”, as I down another Rocknocker, sip at my PBR and snip a new cigar.
“Rock, can I ask you a question?” Roy asks. Zac is polishing our spot at the bar insistently. I think he has a question or two as well.
“Sure. Go nuts.” I reply, puffing on my new cigar and sipping this lovely amber 1844 brew.
He crouches conspiratorially and asks in a low sotto voce
: “Is that why you drink as you do? To dull the pain? From the accident. That’s it, right? Isn’t it?” Roy asks, almost genuinely concerned.
I laughed loud and long. I chuckled, snorted, and had to calm myself with gulps of my beer and cocktail.
“Roy, Roy, Roy…I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m from Baja Canada originally. I’m a multiply-degreed petroleum geologist. I’ve lived and worked in Russia for many, many years. And, as I’ve said, I’m an ethanol-fueled organism. Quadruple perfect storm. My fingers don’t hurt. Or they might, I have no idea. I don’t even know where hell they are.” I laughed at my own witty repartee.
Roy actually paled some. He took a long draught of his anemic beer and just stared at me.
Zac had disappeared. He presently returned with a bottle of Beluga Gold Line Vodka.
“Rock, after that, this one’s for you. On the house.” He said.
“Only if you will join me. And let me pay for yours.” I said.
The shnozzled Kiwi from previous in the narrative staggers by and hears the tag-end of our conversation.
He leans over to grab the expensive bottle of vodka and says “Don’t mind if I do.”
“None for you, asshole. You’re lucky I let you stay here waiting on a cab” Zac growls, and grabs the bottle away.
The Kiwi looks at Zac. He looks at Roy. Then he looks at me, my drinks, cigar, and the smaller pile of currency on the bar.
He may have been loaded, but something swam upstream against his internal current of booze and made him decide that right now, discretion was the better part of valor. He toddled unsteadily away.
“Asswipe”, Zac spits, “He’s here every other month. He pays for his drinks, but he can’t hold them. Never once tips or buys a round. General asshole. Still, management won’t let me toss nor ban him.”
“Some people”, I distastefully agreed and poured Zac and myself a healthy double-tot of the fine, smooth, and icy vodka. “I weep for our species sometimes.”
I insisted Zac join me. I asked Roy if he’d like a taste.
“Thanks, Rock. But you’ve already been too much of a bad influence on me.” he smiled, and tipped his almost empty pilsner glass.
“OK, no pressure. I may drink like a school of belugas, but if someone else doesn’t want to, I respect that all day long. Still, the offer stands.” I continue.
“I’ll think about it, Rock. I’m still not over how you can just sit there and joke about your cybernetic fingers and how you got them. I’d…I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. “ he shudders.
“Want to see the scar on my leg where I got shot with a .45? Or the scar on my coconut from a hunk of falling ice on a drilling rig?” I asked.
“Fuck no!”, Roy almost screams. “What the hell. You held together by scar tissue?”
”That. Baling wire and Duct Tape.” I laughed, “And people wonder why I drink.”
“I thought so!” Roy exclaimed.
“I drink because I chose to. I can stop anytime. In fact, I stopped smoking and drinking once; by nothing more than sheer force of will.” I said proudly.
“Really?” Roy asked.
“Yep”, I replied, “It was the worst 45 minutes of my life.” To be continued…
TIFU by getting half my dick caught in my zipper on a double-date with her parents and meeting my mom's friend at the doctor's office.
This fuckup didn't happen today, it was back in 1992. But there’s a lot of stories about medical professionals and their quiet acts of often invisible heroism in the news right now. I thought that this week, I would share one of my own stories about them. Because while they are absolutely heroes in our midst, some of those life-saving stories and incredible acts come with a laugh or two along the way. submitted by ChrisBoden to tifu [link] [comments]
These laughs, as they often do, come at my expense. It’s a price I gladly pay to give you a much needed moment to breathe in all of the hell we are enduring together throughout the world right now.
Yes, I know, I’m a complete fucking idiot. Let’s just get that out of the way from the start. My only defense was that I was a teenager in the 90's at the time, and my dick was doing most of the thinking for me. On the whole, I’m a reasonably intelligent guy. My dick however, is much like one of those morons you meet who is all balls, no brains. Despite the fact that thinking with my dick got me through highschool at the top of my class, it has proven itself repeatedly to have no memory, no conscience, and what I will simply classify as “questionable moral fiber”.
An obscure, late 20th century English philosopher known for his ballistic dentition once said “Dicks have drive and clarity of vision. They’re not clever.” and he was correct. But like most people who are all balls and no brains, that kind of decision making invariably leads to collecting good stories, and occasionally being scarred for life.
This is one of those good stories, and it’s about a scar.
I was sixteen, vacuously stupid, and the world as I knew it revolved entirely around my radiant affections for one hell of an awesome girl. She was short, beautiful, built like a soccer player, and had curves in all the right places. Miraculously, she was also my steady girlfriend. We had a magnificent system that involved a standing weekly date. This almost always consisted of exactly three things: dinner, a movie, and the furious, passionate, awkward sex that only inexperienced young lovers can have in the contorsionistic confines of an automobile.
On the right day of the week you could catch a 2nd run movie at the Alpine Twin for just a couple bucks. Urban sprawl hadn’t reached far enough yet to consume all the best spots for privacy, and we knew every one of them. It was a great time to be young and in love.
God is not without a sense of humor, however, and one particular week fate would throw me a curve. A movie had just come out that her father wanted to see. In a tormentative moment of parental schadenfreude, they decided it would be a great idea to join us on our weekly movie night for a wholesome double date.
I was trapped. I couldn’t say no, her dad was a towering giant of brooding scowls who instilled the fear of God in me. He was an incredibly kind and funny man, but he commanded my respect and there was absolutely no doubt he held the fate of my love life at his whim. I was a nerdy, country kid from the wrong side of the tracks and he made it very clear that I was dating his daughter only so long as both her and him deemed that acceptable. She adored me, he tolerated me, and it was my lowly position to be grateful for the opportunity.
I was fine with that. I was spending every Saturday night with her sowing my wild oats, and going to church every Sunday with him praying for crop failure.
So we all met at her house, the whole family piled into their car, and off we went. We didn’t go to our comfortable, low-budget, second-run theatre out on the north end of town with the thin crowds that encouraged sitting towards the back well away from anyone who could see wandering hands and notice the whispers of young lovers. We went out to the fancy first-run theatre, the gigantic cineplex and shining star of the lower west side, Studio 28, where we would be packed side by side with strangers and held to much higher standards of socially acceptable behaviour.
Studio 28 was massive. Thousands of people filled its acres of parking lots and watched the latest movies on twenty different massive screens with reclining seats in air conditioned comfort. One movie cost more than what we would spend for a month's worth of dates at Alpine - including food. But her dad was funding the entire expedition and I was happy to just be with her.
My lovely girlfriend however, was a hormone-driven, devious genius, and happened upon a simple idea that changed my life forever. She noticed that they list not only the start times of the movies, but the duration as well.
It had never for a moment crossed my mind that we didn’t all have to go to the same movie. Studio 28 was so massive that not only did they have a ton of different movies playing, many of them shared the same start times. She found a completely different show to catch, sorted out the details with her dad, and off we went on our own. She had stared into the bleakness and brilliantly wrought forth for us the greatest commodity of young lovers who live with their parents: privacy.
For such a monumental day in my life, I don’t even remember what the movie was. But I do remember spending an hour and a half in the dark getting each other as worked up as we dared. The lines of socially acceptable behaviour were a lot tighter back then, but we were enjoying them to the best of our youthful ability.
Our movie got out, and we made the long walk to the back-forty of the parking lot hand in hand and hopped in the car. We had no concrete idea when her parents' movie would get out, so we were just hanging out, waiting, and of course sharing only the most chaste and pure of good Christian thoughts.
Just her, me, and our collective sexual tension that burned with the power of a supernova. It really was only a matter of time before it all reached criticality.
Because sitting in a glass bubble in the middle of a thousand cars is totally the best possible place to be doing such things. I was a little on edge, but that didn’t stop her. It certainly did, however, limit our options.
The good news was that I at least had a clear line of sight all the way up our row, and would easily see anyone approaching from the theatre. I kept a watchful lookout, and she decided to take action.
In a matter of a few seconds, she was sucking my dick like it was filled with her father’s acceptance. Not a moment later, I saw the crowd of people start pouring out of the theatre doors. It didn’t take me long to spot her parents, hand in hand. Her dad’s bright blue shirt stuck out in the crowd, even though they were still a quarter-mile away.
And then, at that exact moment, is when I fucked up.
That’s when I did one of the dumbest things in my entire life; I made a split-second trivial decision that would leave me scarred forever.
Now, what I could have done is simply reach down, gently pull her head out of my lap, and have a mildly disappointing end to some fun, gone on with my day, and been just fine. Hell, given how far away they were, the hair-trigger of a teenage boy, and her skillful abilities we could have likely finished without pushing our luck.
The problem with wisdom is that you don’t get it until five seconds after you need it.
What I did, in a moment of youthful stupidity, was say “Your dad’s coming!” and sit up straight in my seat.
And that, my dear reader, is the exact moment that shit got real.
Please understand that what I’m about to describe is much like a car crash. It will take me far longer to describe it than it took to actually happen. All of this transpired in just a moment, but that moment is burned into my brain forever. I apologise now, that it shall be burned into yours. When you share this story with your friends, you’ll know they got to this part when you see them adjust themselves in their seat. No man is immune to this effect.
In one smooth powerful movement driven by pure reflex and fear, without a moment’s conscious thought, she snapped her head up, bolted upright in her seat, and while making that transition from laying on me to sitting next to me she stuffed my dick back into my jeans and ran that fuckin zipper all the way home with the power of an angry linebacker.
The problem is I had never unbuttoned my pants, and it was a lot smaller when it came out ten minutes ago than it was when she decided to cram it back in through, what was now, much too short of a hole. She fought it in there in half a second, it just wasn’t situated as well as it needed to be.
Then, with the delicate touch of a bricklayer she had yanked that zipper though several inches of my most delicate sensitivities and made me one with my Levi’s.
It happened in the blink of an eye.
I was absolutely convinced I was going to die.
The pain was far worse than what you imagine right now. It was radiant and consuming. She had caught roughly…very roughly...the entire front of the most sensitive skin I own and interlaced it down nearly the full length of the zipper. I could glimpse a thin line poking out the front, and there was nothing I could do about it but sit there with tears running down my face and her parents approaching.
She immediately knew what had happened, subtlety is not a skill I possess even on my best days. I think it may be when I levitated, shooting to the ceiling, howling in pain that she got her first hint that something was wrong. She was mortified, I was in agony, and the shitshow had just begun. I untucked my shirt to cover the obvious injury, and wiped my tears.
It was hard travel across the great prairies of the parking lot. I heard they lost five good men, and at one point had to start eating the horses to survive. But eventually, months later, her parents finally made it to the car.
The first battle was the parking lot. Several hundred people had all gotten out when we did and had to find their way to the exit. It took half an hour of stop and start agony while we all shuffled into place and trickled out onto 28th street - a bustling busy main thoroughfare of the lower-west side.
And the fun was just beginning.
Florida makes oranges, Idaho makes Potatoes, and Hollywood makes movies. But Michigan, we make potholes. Northbound 131 is a washboard of suspension testing craters that can knock your teeth loose. Because of the complicated interaction of freeze-thaw cycles, capillary action of water retention in asphalt, and the fact that we run snow plows for a third of the year there is a regular pattern of patched sections on the highway spaced at predictable intervals for miles on end.
And I felt every one of those sonsabitches as we launched and bounded from pock to pock, all along my dick.
It took about thirty minutes to get from Studio28 to their house. That was the longest half hour of my life. I felt every bump in the road in between my own heartbeats as I throbbed in agony sitting awkwardly in the back seat. The only saving grace was that her and her mom were making small talk about the movies they had each seen and my opinion didn’t matter. I sat there sniffling and rubbing my swollen, red eyes. When her mom asked me if I was okay I uttered the only word I could manage on the entire ride home.
We made it to her parent’s house, said our goodbyes, and she walked me across the street to my car. It took more work to get into my mom’s old boxy beige Pontiac Grand Prix than it did to get out of her parent’s SUV, but I made it, tenderly.
Mission two accomplished, her parents had no idea. So that crisis was averted.
Now, I had to choose. I was on the edge of The City. If I went East, I could fight my way through traffic to the giant gleaming state-of-the-art hospital located right downtown and wait in line in the emergency room. If I went West, I was heading towards home and in my own small country town was a little Med Center staffed with only a handful of people whose main job was helping people with minor bumps and bruises, and keeping the critical patients alive long enough for the ambulance to get there and haul them off to one of the much larger neighboring cities.
I headed towards home. It was farther, but faster. I hopped on I-96 and blasted into the night more scared of hitting a deer than being pulled over for speeding. I figured if any cop pulled me over, all I had to do was show him my situation and there wasn’t a man in the world who would fault me for being in a hurry. I had a much higher chance of getting a police escort to the Med Center than getting a ticket, so off I went as fast as Mom’s old Pontiac would carry me.
I arrived without incident and walked gingerly through the front door. I’d never been to the Med Center before. My parents were on the rescue squad of the local volunteer fire department so anything short of a sucking chest wound in my house was dealt with by someone running for the jump-bag in Dad’s truck. Any sort of injury was handled on only the best of equipment: the kitchen table.
Life’s different in a small town.
That’s why I wasn’t even slightly surprised when I walked in the front door and the triage nurse at the front counter stopped typing, looked me straight in the eye with genuine concern on her face and said “Chris, are you ok?”.
It was my mom’s friend. Not only did this woman know me, she’d known me since I had training wheels on my bike. I knew she was a Nurse. Half the women in my world were Nurses, my mom was a Nurse. She worked at a nursing home filled with other Nurses. How the hell was I supposed to remember that one of her best friends just so happened to work at the Med Center.
I should have gone East.
“No Ma’am” I said, and quickly added, wincing, “please don’t tell my Mom”
“What happened, show me what you did”
Now, I grew up around trauma and emergency medicine. Back then they were dispatched with one-way pagers the size of a brick that looked like walkie-talkies. There was only one channel for the whole county, and every department had its own unique series of musical tones that told us who the message was for. It squawked and whistled all day and night and you never even noticed it.
But when the BEEDEEBEEDEEBEEDEEBEEDEE-DOOOOOOOOO-----DEEEEEEEEEEEE sound that designated our unit came over that radio, it would take you out of a dead sleep before they got to the “COOPERSVILLE UNIT TWO-OH-FIVE” part of the message and Mom, Dad, or sometimes both, were headed out the door on a dead run before it stopped talking.
If this happens while you’re out somewhere with Dad in the truck, you’re along for the ride. It was somewhere around age twelve when “stay in the truck” just didn’t work for me anymore. I’d learned where babies came from by watching a screaming Asian woman have one on the tailgate of a Subaru in the McDonald’s parking lot. I’d seen bodies mangled and I knew first hand why they called the people who ride crotch-rocket motorcycles “Organ Donors”. I’d learned the smartest and most heroic humans alive fly in AeroMed, and I knew that rescue crews have no problem working up to their elbows in your blood and then going out for pizza half an hour later. It’s just meat.
I was also well aware that the strongest, hardest, most stoic, most unimaginably un-fucking-fazed woman you’ll ever meet, is a Triage Nurse.
So I lifted up my shirt.
And, for just a moment, I saw her humanity crack through her professional stoicism.
I pray that you go your entire life and never once hear a Triage Nurse say “Oh Dear” when she looks at whatever injury you have. It’s up there with getting a prostate exam and hearing the Doctor behind you say “Aw, fuck!”. You don’t want any part of this situation.
There was no paperwork, and my ass never touched one of the beige plastic chairs in the tiny waiting room. She stood up and walked me through the door behind the counter and ten seconds later I was sitting on the crinkly butcher paper of an examination table with my legs dangling over the edge.
A Nurse who was only ten minutes older than I was came in just a moment behind me. Thankfully, I didn’t know her at least, but I’d have liked to under different circumstances. She held a BP cuff in one hand and a clipboard in the other and asked me how I was feeling and if I had any allergies. We chatted for perhaps a whole minute before she asked me what was wrong.
I lifted my shirt.
She took it well, just a tiny gasp before she got her shields back in place. But her blush betrayed her. She held tight to her professionalism and assured me that the Doctor would be right in as she stumbled gracefully backwards out of the room. However, I did notice that she never did get my BP, temp, or anything else.
The Doctor was indeed, right in. I had been sitting there less than five minutes when he strolled into the room and said “So, I hear you’ve had an interesting evening.”
He pulled up a little rolling stool, put on a pair of gloves, and scooted up for a front row seat between my knees as I sat sideways off the edge of the table. We discussed how I had gotten myself into this situation, and he surveyed the damage. I found it ironic that the one person who had shared this experience with me and who could truly appreciate what I was going through was the one person who was completely at ease with the situation. Of course…..it wasn’t his dick.
It was also the first time I’d gotten a real look at things myself, and it was worse than I’d imagined. The skin on the bottom of my shaft was peeking out through the golden teeth of the zipper all the way from about a half inch above the bottom of the zipper to the top. There was way more blood than I had noticed at first and it had stained my pants several inches in every direction. The total zipped length was nearly five inches, and it was under tension on the inside because the standard response to pain is for your dick to shrink up like a stack of dimes.
The added effect, because my brain is an asshole, was that the pain just intensified once I got a look at it.
He pulled out a pair of trauma shears and we discussed what he was going to do about half a second before he did it with a running commentary. He planned on cutting my pants off around the zipper. I was fine with this, off is good, let’s get this off - free me from my golden restraints good Doctor!
Deftly, gently, and with surprising ease the shears sliced right through the seams and folds of my jeans. He cut the bottom through several layers of denim and seams straight up to the base of the zipper, and sheared off either side about four inches away, leaving me with two flaps joined only by the teeth of the zipper and the button on top. He spun on his wheels, reached in the third drawer behind him, pulled out a pair of cutters like I would have in my toolbox, and snipped off the bottom half-inch of zipper entirely. It fell to the floor and landed with a wet plop.
He gently unbuttoned what was now a much smaller piece of my pants, and examined it closely for a couple minutes with a flap held in either hand.
Then he said something you never, ever, want to hear any manner of medical professional say to you.
“We’re gonna go on three...”
We’re…..WHAT!? Where? Whatthefuckare...
There was no motherfucking Two. Three was an outright lie.
The way out was as blindingly fast and traumatic as the way in. The entire process was loud, a wild blur of motion, and terrifying. In what I have absolutely no doubt was a process he had experienced before, he tore apart the two halves of my zipper with the haymaker strength of a farm boy and kicked himself away from the side of my examination table with both feet to send himself rocketing backwards across the tiny room well clear of the wild reflexive punch I swung through the space his head had occupied a split second before. He landed in a heap, half fallen off his rolling stool, with a piece of my jeans in either hand and an accomplished smile from ear to ear.
That all happened in less than a second. It took exactly the amount of time it took me to say “MOTHERFUCK-....eh?”
The good side is, it didn’t actually hurt all that much when he did that. The bad side was, the blood was now rushing to my dick and it was throbbing with every heartbeat. It hurt like all hell.
We both took a moment to compose ourselves and both spoke at the same moment, saying the exact same thing.
“Are you alright?”
I looked at the sad strip of hamburger laying in my lap, surrounded by a terrifying amount of dried blood in matted black hair. It looked like Edward Scissorhands had given me an old fashioned.
I had visions of sutures, staples, and all forms of Spanish Inquisition cock torture that I was about to endure and was blissfully thankful that all he needed to do was clean everything off and tape a strip of gause to it. After the most unpleasant experience I’ve ever had involving my dick being cleaned, complete with being hosed down with Betadine, now it I just looked like I’d fucked an Oompa Loompa.
I asked what would happen if I got a hardon, would I bleed to death or something? He assured me that the last thing I was going to get in the immediate future was an erection. After a few days it would be fine all on its own.
I thanked him for saving my manhood, secured my pants with my belt, hid the giant square hole in front under my shirt, and headed home. I tossed my shredded jeans in the trash, took a shower that involved the creative application of a baggie and a rubber band that moments before had been holding the wing on my model airplane.
He was right, I didn’t have any danger of getting a hardon for over a week. The throbbing pain became a dull ache that would hover just on the edge of being actively conscious of it. Sleeping was complicated, but I managed. After a few days it didn’t hurt at all, and a couple weeks later I was back to normal. In the third week a full operational test proved that all repairs had been completed and that all systems were operating within nominal specifications.
But it’ll be a cold day in hell before I let a woman zip me up again. I’ll take care of that on my own, thank you.
The scar is considerable, tapering to half an inch wide at the base and running front and center along the bottom of my shaft up to the tip. It’s been the topic of more conversations and won more stupid bets than I want to think about. But it’s part of me, a part of my life, and I’m just thankful that despite the relentless abuse and poor decisions my dick has endured, that all in all, things are working just as they should thanks to the compassionate care of a young country Doctor and a small team of Nurses.
Thank you to everyone in the medical profession, of any rank and stripe, for enduring all that you do to help us fumbling idiots live to see another sunrise. You are awesome.
With my kindest regards, cb
---------Addendum Edit, Because holy shit my inbox.
In the end, like all good stories, things actually worked out alright. Her and I resumed our weekly Pontiac wrestling match and eventually as we gained wisdom, experience and the seasons turned warmer, found several much more comfortable places to explore each other’s bodies. All in all we dated for a little over a year in total. Our relationship ran the natural course of typical highschool lovers, and ended just as it should have. We both ended up dating each other’s friends, such is life in a small town, and went on with our lives.
Her Dad never really did like me all that much, and that’s ok. I was a shitty teenager and certainly didn’t have the best of intentions for his daughter. That’s ok, she wasn’t nearly the good little girl he thought she was. But we were, on the whole, decent kids and we came out alright. He was a good and righteous man and was worth my respect; though I wouldn’t learn the true depths of that until I gained a lot more maturity. He died years ago, far too young, from a heart that wasn’t worthy of the love he carried for so many people.
She’s married now, with a couple kids and what I hope is a good and happy life. I haven’t talked to her in decades, but I sincerely wish her well.
I healed up just fine. This all happened back in 1992. Over the years the scar has faded to being something that’s still there, but hardly noticeable. It looks more like a shadow now, or a slight discoloration. You can still spot it, if you look, but it’s something that doesn’t get mentioned by anyone unless we’ve been together for several months and they’re really exploring my cock. I have to think it’s fine now, as I’ve been complimented many times on it’s appearance.
I’d like to thank the many people who have read this and commented on my writing. I’m just starting out on the path to being an author, and I’ve been posting my stories here on Reddit to see if anyone liked them. It turns out, you really do, far more than I imagined. With all of my heart, thank you. Your support and enjoyment of my dopey stories means far more to me than I can adequately express. I’m still learning how to find my voice, but you’ve certainly helped me along on the path.
If you enjoy my writing, there’s much more of it out there, and even more coming. Check my profile and you’ll find half a dozen other stories scattered about the Reddit universe. You're welcome to follow me or friend me on here if you wish. I would be sincerely honoured and I'm working to earn an audience, and even someday a paycheck. You’ll also find my YouTube channel (I make science and technology educational videos as my day job), and my Patreon if you’d like to support my work. I’m a full time YouTuber now, and for the past year. Though after your responses to my stories lately, I think I’ll add Author to that as well.
And for the ridiculous number of people who have begged for a goddamned pic, fine. Go to Imgur, it's /a/WbCHtEw it's VERY NSFW
Yes, that’s really me. Yes, it’s real. No, I’m straight, but thank you.
TL:DR - A bit of adventuresex at a movie theatre resulted in a blowjob and I get zipped up epicly. Had to go to the Dr and learned my mom's best friend worked there. I was scarred for life. It's a long story but worth your time, read it, you'll like it.
Covid-19 update Tuesday March 17th
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]
Good morning from the UK. Happy St Patricks day. It'll be a woeful one for many Irish people around the world with pubs and bars shut in multiple US states, several European countries, several Asian countries and worst of all, Ireland itself. Here in the UK you can still go to the pub, although as of late yesterday afternoon the UK government advised against it
says the BBC.
Several comments from redditors in past days complained the WHO stats I C&P'd did not come very close to reflecting stats being quoted by national media wherever they lived. As a result, I'm abandoning the WHO stats and going back to the John Hopkins University tracker stats for all countries. If it's good enough for the likes of Forbes, Business Insider, FT, USA Today to regularly cite it then it's good enough for me:-
|Region ||Today (John Hopkins Stats at time of writing) ||Yesterday (John Hopkins stats not the WHO's) ||% daily change |
|Global ||182,424 ||169,387 ||+7.7% |
|China ||81,053 ||81,020 ||+0.4% |
|Italy ||27,980 ||24,747 ||+13.1% |
|Iran ||14,991 ||13,938 ||+7.6% |
|Spain ||9,942 ||7,844 ||+26.7% |
|South Korea ||8,320 ||8,162 ||+1.9% |
|Germany ||7,272 ||5,813 ||+25.1% |
|France ||6,655 ||5,437 ||+22.4% |
|USA ||4,661 ||3,774 ||+23.5% |
|Switzerland ||2,330 ||2,200 ||+5.9% |
|UK ||1,553 ||1,395 ||+11.3% |
|Netherlands ||1,414 ||1,136 ||+24.5% |
|Norway ||1,347 ||1,256 ||+7.2% |
|Sweden ||1,121 ||1,032 ||+8.6% |
|Belgium ||1,058 ||886 ||+19.4% |
|Austria ||1,018 ||860 ||18.4% |
All other countries with under 1000
identified infections not listed (sorry Denmark), yesterday's threshold was 750. Total countries infected worldwide = 155, an increase from yesterday of 9. Source for all countries (as discussed above): the John Hopkins University dashboard (Link
). (Personal note: Western countries infection counts are increasing each day much faster than Asian countries but that may be due to cultural differences or it may be that they're doing my testing, if anyone can shed light on this please do)
Reminder, these are identified case counts and medical experts are reporting this virus has a long incubation period with people being infections despite displaying no symptoms; the true infection figures are likely to be much higher. Note that some countries are reporting shortages of test kits which further skews the data available; assume true cases are much higher.
Finally, no, I don't believe China's official statistics either.
Selected Virus news
Warnings of shortages of regeants (ingredients) to make test kits in the US
- the Fool (a high quality finance website despite the name) reports
that FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn stated last week in testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee that there could be supply chain issues with reagents needed for novel coronavirus diagnostic kits. He noted that the supply issues specifically apply to RNA used in testing for coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Shortages in US supermarkets likely to continue until panic buying eases -
The LA Times says
that shortages will continue until people calm down in their shopping habits. The major chains usually get shipments overnight, or perhaps twice a day, to restock essentials such as paper towels, toilet paper and water, but “manufacturers in some cases are having trouble keeping up, and that’s where the void is, they’re not able to keep up with demand,” said Bob Reeves, vice president for the West at the Shelby Report, a research firm that tracks the grocery industry. “We’re seeing shipments coming into the stores sometimes without any of those products, and it will be like that until people calm down a little bit,” he said. In some cases, chains are sending their delivery trucks directly to manufacturers — bypassing warehouses and distributors — to get the items to the stores faster. (Personal note: the same applies for all supermarket supply chains globally
Pa. hospitals are rationing protective gear as the number of coronavirus cases grows - (Personal note, this is an example, there seems to be a general global shortage of medical PPE (personal protective equipment)
- The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that hospitals across Pennsylvania are drastically limiting the use of key protective gear out of fears that a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases could diminish reserves and cause a dangerous shortage. The rationing comes as the state Department of Health maintains that it has personal protective equipment available and is working with health systems to make sure they have what they need. The gear includes eye protection, gowns, and N95 respirators, which are essential in preventing a health care worker from breathing in infectious particles when in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. In Philadelphia, two doctors who work at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania said it’s barring the use of N95 respirators “except in extraordinarily limited situations.” Penn Medicine declined to comment. Another city doctor, Daphne Owen, said in a tweet
Thursday her clinic “for uninsured and undocumented patients” was out of masks. Two days later, the clinic, Puentes de Salud, said
it was closed due to the pandemic.
Other Virus news in brief -
The Scottish courts and tribunals announced today that no new criminal jury trials would be commenced or new juries empanelled until further notice.
- Iran has temporarily freed a total of 85,000 prisoners, including political prisoners, a spokesman for its judiciary said on Tuesday, adding that the prisons were responding to the threat of a coronavirus epidemic in jails.
- Britain had “no time to lose” in changing tactics
in order to prevent thousands of deaths and the NHS being overwhelmed, scientists providing guidance to the UK government have said. The Imperial College Covid-19 response team – which is one of several scientific teams advising UK ministers – published a paper (I've put it in the addendum below) showing that 250,000 people could die if efforts were focused only on delaying and slowing down the spread of Covid-19.Separately, England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, could not rule out the strict measures having to last for a year but predicted they would last at least “several months“.
- Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs has advised Australians to return home as soon as possible by commercial means because overseas travel is becoming “more complex and difficult” as countries impose travel restrictions and close their borders.
- Leaders of EU states were expected on Tuesday to suspend all travel into the passport-free Schengen zone by non-EU nationals for at least 30 days in a bid to instil uniformity across the bloc after some member states, including Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, unilaterally began imposing border checks.
- China has issued an angry reaction (by diplomatic standards) to the US president Donald Trump’s characterisation of the disease as “the Chinese virus.”
(he tweeted late last night "The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!"). China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the US president should take care of his own matters first and not seek to “stigmatise” China.
- The postponement of soccer’s Euro 2020 Championship may already have been decided after Uefa last week cancelled its hotel bookings in Copenhagen
- The UK just advised its citizens against all non essential travel worldwide in the past 10 minutes
- Mobile phone networks are struggling in some areas of the UK with significantly increased demands according to down detector
. For sure a lot of people seem to be home working, my commute in this morning was like it was the middle of August and everyone else was on holiday.
- Alitalia, the Italian airline flag carrier is to be renationalised by Italy
- Cinema chains are closing in multiple countries due to shutdowns
- Kazakhstan is closing down its two largest cities (despite only having 32 cases so far)
- A preliminary calculation by a US expert suggests that tens of thousands of premature deaths from air pollution may have been avoided by the cleaner air in China, far higher than the 3,208 coronavirus deaths.
- Jordan: the army has said it will deploy at entrances and exits of main cities in the kingdom in a move officials said was ahead of an imminent announcement of a state of emergency to combat the spread of coronavirus.
- In a joint statement
, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit and YouTube said they would help ensure people could stay connected to each other during isolation as well as fight any misinformation and fraud linked to the outbreak. “We are working closely together on Covid-19 response efforts,” the statement said. “We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in co-ordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.
- Almost all Germans shops are about to close by government decree; supermarkets, pharmacies will remain open (including on Sundays when they are usually closed). Separately, government press briefings there have gone online only.
- Olympic organisers in Japan are asking people not to create crowds along the route of the Olympic torch relay and not to gather near the route if they feel sick. A Boeing aircraft flew to Greece on 15 March to bring the torch to Japan.
- France: No movement allowed except for essential work or health reasons. “There can be no more outside meetings, no more seeing family or friends on the street or in the park. We must slow the spread of this virus by limiting the number of people we are in contact with each day to the strict minimum. If we do not, we endanger the lives of those we hold dear.” said the French President Macron.
- Israel’s government has approved emergency measures to track people suspected or confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus by monitoring their mobile phones, immediately raising privacy concerns in the country. The cabinet unanimously approved the use of the technology, developed initially for counter-terrorism purposes, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said providing the country’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, with new secretive powers was a “dangerous precedent and a slippery slope that must be approached and resolved after much debate and not after a brief discussion”.
- Indonesian president Joko Widodo said on Saturday that he had withheld some information about cases to prevent the country from panicking, the Jakarta Post reported
. He has rejected calls for a lockdown to be imposed on hard hit areas.
- Malaysia has announced it's closing its borders prompting neighbouring Singapore's citizens to panic buy (90% of their food is imported from Malaysia).
- New Zealand on Tuesday deported its first unruly traveller flouting the country’s mandatory 14-day self-isolation rule for almost all arrivals, the health ministry said. The tourist, who had checked into a backpackers hostel in the city of Christchurch, was removed from the accommodation by the police after officials learned she did not have clear self-isolation plans.
Goldman Sachs doesn't think the stock market drops have finished -
that Goldman Sachs thinks that the S&P 500 might plunge as low as 2,000 before recovering through the rest of the year, the investment bank wrote Friday. The level is the benchmark index's lowest since early 2016 and implies a 20% decline from Monday's open. Such a tumble would also place the index more than 40% below its February 19 peak. The coronavirus outbreak is responsible for "unprecedented financial and societal disruption," the analysts said, and equities have so far served as accurate leading indicators before the release of relevant earnings or macroeconomic data. That said, the analysts pointed out that "The lesson of prior event-driven bear markets is that financial devastation ultimately allows a new bull market to be born,".
U.S. factories are likely to close because of the coronavirus’ supply-chain shock -
Marketwatch reports (link
) that there is a very real chance that companies from auto makers to electronics manufacturers will soon begin to cease or limit production. With a downed China as the headstream of global manufacturing, mercantile America simply can’t function as it’s accustomed to. We’re starting to see this happen in official reports: The New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index, released Monday, plunged by a record 34.4 points to minus 21.5 in March. And Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Sunday he expects a contraction in GDP in the second quarter. (Personal note: I expect similar problems across all G20 countries).
The article goes on to explain that many supply chain directors may understand their first tier suppliers but often do not have full visibility of the status of their 2nd or 3rd tier suppliers
Supply impact of the coronavirus outbreak is waning, but demand shock will linger, economist says -
that in January and February, industrial output fell by 13.5% from the same period a year earlier, the weakest reading since January 1990 — when Reuters' record began. China's industrial production is likely to improve in March over a slump in January and February due to the coronavirus outbreak, but consumer demand will take longer to recover both in the country and globally, an economist said Monday. "We will see some recovery, but this recovery, I think, is being undermined by the global spread as well," said Bo Zhuang, chief China economist at TS Lombard. Meanwhile, retail sales in January and February shrank 20.5% from a year ago, compared with a 8% growth in December as fearful consumers avoided crowded places like malls, restaurants and cinemas. "We were worried about supply-side issues, but now it's becoming a demand shock issue," said Zhuang. Smaller outfits like restaurants and service-oriented businesses have "resumed work but there are no customers," said Zhuang. "I think we are going to see a delayed V-shape (recovery), and this V may be a tilted V or W, or even U. We are not sure," he added.
Coronavirus Impacts Every Sector of the Supply Chain -
Supply and demand chain executive reports
that the global supply chain continues to experience disruption. "We have seen that in the way that it’s spreading across into different hubs where we see alternative routes to be overly burdened, such as the rail system,” says Koray Köse of Gartner. “Now with the crisis and the hubs being closed and product movements are still active to some extent, but not necessarily from those regions, will become crowded and impacted. This means that there’s an additional strain on the overall network to move material.” Some products have experienced significant upticks including Chicken noodle soup (+37%), Hand sanitizer (+65%), Disinfecting Wipes: (+353%) and Cold & Flu medications (+197%) amongst others.
Coronavirus pandemic worse than 1997 financial crisis, Malaysian ex-PM Mahathir warns
- The Strait times reports
on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former premier who steered Malaysia's recovery from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, expects the current coronavirus pandemic to hit the global economy even harder. "This is worse than the financial crisis," he said in a Bloomberg Television interview. "This is really a terrible blow to the economies of the whole world." Dr Mahathir joins other world leaders in warning that the virus impact may be worse than past periods of upheaval (Personal note: I pointed out yesterday the NZ PM also saying this
Supply chain news relating to Covid-19
For Global Supply Chains the Worst Is Yet to Come -
Supply Chain Management review says (Link
) that most industrial companies have 30-60 days of parts and raw materials either on hand, in-transit, or obtainable on short notice. After these supplies run out, we will start to see shortages of finished products as well as parts needed to produce other goods. Shortages will start to become more evident toward the end of March and beginning of April. Production in some non-Chinese factories will have to be put on hold for lack of parts. Partially finished products will remain in suspension until all parts are available to build finished products. Some companies are pressing their engineers to redesign parts that can be sourced in the U.S., or at least outside of China. Other companies are giving 3D printing a serious try for the first time. The article goes on to point out delays in sea freight ex-Asia and extremely high airfreighting costs are exacerbating the situation.
U.S. Suspends Truck-Driving Limits to Speed Coronavirus Shipments -
The Wall Street Journal reports
as of 2 days ago that maximum working hours for truck drivers in the US have been suspended. This applies to truck drivers moving emergency supplies such as medical equipment, hand sanitizer and food in response to the nationwide coronavirus outbreak. It comes as hospitals report shortages of medical masks and as retailers and manufacturers are straining under surging demand for everything from hand sanitizer to staples such as toilet paper and rice. As anxious consumers stockpile goods, grocers have turned to rationing, imposing purchase limits on disinfectant wipes, cleaning supplies and other high-demand products. The move is the first time the FMCSA has issued nationwide-wide relief from hours-of-service regulations, although regional declarations have waived those rules in response to disasters such as hurricanes. Federal regulations limit most commercial truck drivers to 11 hours of driving time in a 14-hour workday, restrictions intended to reduce accidents caused by highway fatigue.
For supply chain companies, U.S.-Mexico border closures could be catastrophic -
Marketplace points out
that Mexico’s deputy health minister says he’s worried
about people coming into Mexico from the United States; currently the U.S. has far more cases of COVID-19
than Mexico. The Mexican government even said it might consider restricting access at its northern borders. For businesses that operate on both sides of the border, any shutdown could be catastrophic. The article gives a case study of a manfacturer employing 150 people in Texas. The company president says before anyone considers closing the border, President Donald Trump and Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, should discuss a coordinated response to the virus. As for now, he says all of his people can work from home, if the situation calls for it. Everyone here has a laptop, he said. But he says the independent truck drivers and contractors who work on the loading docks, they have to be on site to run things. Those people also only get paid if they show up for work. So, for now, they’re glad the COVID-19 hasn’t shut this part of Texas down, yet.
It won't be long before Coronavirus shuts down local African supply chains -
The major Kenyan newspaper daily nation reports
that there are imminent difficulties facing Kenyan pharma firms due to the industry importing 70% of its ingredients from India and China, both of whom have restricted exports. Studies show that the Kenyan pharmaceuticals market is worth Sh100 billion ($965m USD), 80 per cent of which is prescription drugs. Although Kenya exports 50 per cent to the COMESA region and 75 per cent to East African Community, most of these exports are re-exports from India and China.
European automotive factories shutting down -
Ferrari and Lamborghini have both suspended almost all production (says
the Express and Star) whilst Yahoo Finance reports
that Fiat Chrysler said in a statement on Monday 16 March that it would halt operations at most of its European plants, from now until 27 March because of an “interruption in market demand.” The Italian-American automotive group said the manufacturing stop includes six factories in Italy, the EU country worst hit by coronavirus. Italy has had over 24,700 infection cases so far, and more than 1,800 people have died from the virus. The PSA group, which includes Peugeot, Citroen, and Opel, said today it will close all its European plants, including in the UK, France and Germany for the remainder of the month too. German car giant Volkswagen is also suspending production at a number of manufacturing bases in Europe, including in Slovakia and Spain. VW-owned Seat has shuttered its main factory near Barcelona for at least the rest of the month. Meanwhile, according to the Financial Times
, Volkswagen may also be forced to curtail production at the main factory in its home town of Wolfsburg, because of running low on parts. Useful parcel courier current operational status links for anyone else in eCommerce:Canada Post
, DHL Express
. If anyone has any other major courier links for service status, please let us all know :)
Good news section
Amazon to hire 100,000 more workers and give raises to current staff to deal with coronavirus demands - CNBC says
that Amazon is hiring an additional 100,000 employees in the U.S. to meet the surge in demand from online shopping amid the coronavirus outbreak, the company said
Monday. The company is looking to add extra full-time and part-time positions for warehouse and delivery workers. Through the end of April, it will raise pay for these employees by $2 per hour in the U.S., £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. Amazon currently pays $15 per hour or more in some areas of the U.S. for warehouse and delivery jobs. Amazon encouraged employees in other industries whose jobs were "lost or furloughed" as a result of the coronavirus to apply, including members of the hospitality, restaurant and travel industries. "We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back," the company added.
Educating in denial older relatives anecdote
Personal story time; my 69 year old Aunt is very grumpy because despite me telling her for well over a month, it is finally dawning on her that her dream guided coach bus tour of the West USA national parks in 10 weeks time is rapidly going up in smoke whilst my 75 year old Dad has realised his third cruise of the year (this time around the med) in 5 weeks time is also about to be toast. My Aunt complained on Facebook yesterday that nobody is mentioning the 46,000 people who have recovered from the illness and that "it's just a bit of flu". It isn't, otherwise governments around the world would not be reacting as they are.
If you have an elderly relative like mine who relies far too much on social media anecdotes rather than good quality fact based mainstream media, maybe point them at this businessinsider article here
where it points out that 1) flu mortality rates are 0.1% vs. Covid-19 is 3.4% and 2) for 70-79 the mortality rate is 8% and for over 80's it's 14.8%. Hopefully they might just realise the seriousness of the situation; my Aunt dismissed it as "a website I've never heard of and won't believe" despite the article clearly citing CDC figures.
Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
EDIT: Missed out virus news in brief, added as of 12:45. EDIT 2: Added in the Dutch foodbank link (hat tip siliconfrontier
I'mma head out
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under undergo understand understanding unfortunately uniform union unique unit United universal universe university unknown unless unlike unlikely until unusual up upon upper urban urge us use used useful user usual usually utility vacation valley valuable value variable variation variety various vary vast vegetable vehicle venture version versus very vessel veteran via victim victory video view viewer village violate violation violence violent virtually virtue virus visible vision visit visitor visual vital voice volume volunteer vote voter vs vulnerable wage wait wake walk wall wander want war warm warn warning wash waste watch water wave way we weak wealth wealthy weapon wear weather wedding week weekend weekly weigh weight welcome welfare well west western wet what whatever wheel when whenever where whereas whether which while whisper white who whole whom whose why wide widely widespread wife wild will willing win wind window wine wing winner winter wipe wire wisdom wise wish with withdraw within without witness woman wonder wonderful wood wooden word work worker working works workshop world worried worry worth would wound wrap write writer writing wrong yard yeah year yell yellow yes yesterday yet yield you young your yours yourself youth zone submitted by TastyUdders to OneWordBan [link] [comments]
❗️ DHGATE BEGINNERS GUIDE AND FAQ, READ BEFORE YOU POST❗️
submitted by TAreq101 to DHgate [link] [comments]
DHGATE BEGINNERS GUIDE AND FAQ, READ BEFORE YOU POST
A LIST WITH THE BEST DHGATE SELLERS CAN BE FOUND HERE
As you all might have noticed, we’re trying to increase mod activity to make this subreddit a more structured, enjoyable place. This process will take up some time so please bear with us while we sort things out. In the meantime, let us know if you have any tips/suggestions to improve this subreddit.
There’s also a discord server in which you can discuss any and everything surrounding DHgate. This link will take you straight to it: https://discord.gg/xN8vbxR
This subreddit is NOT an official DHgate platform. The mods and users in this sub can NOT help you with resolving disputes, faster shipping, etc. There is a DHgate representative that is sometimes active on this subreddit but they are not always online and can usually only provide general information. If you are facing trouble or are worried about your order, contact DHgate customer service, not this subreddit.
This subreddit is meant for people who want to show products they ordered from DHgate, find products they are looking for, and share their experiences. Hateful speech, personal insults and derailing will not be permitted. Let’s keep this community positive.
This subreddit is not intended to serve as a platform to buy/sell products that were purchased from DHgate. People reselling replicas as retail items will also NOT be permitted, if you suspect a user is employing the subreddit for those purposes, please report the user and contact one of the mods.
When posting on this subreddit, please use one of the flairs under your post. This makes it easier for other users to find what they are looking for and engage with previous posts.
Ordering from DHgate for the first time
Your first order from DHgate might cause some nerves as Chinese retail sites are not always known for their reliability. It is thus important to take a certain degree of risk in account anytime you order. However, this risk can be minimized by making sure the product you are buying meets these criteria: - The seller has more than 500 (preferably more than 1000) transactions. - The overall positive feedback for the seller is no lower than 90% (preferably 95%). - The product you want to order has multiple positive reviews (preferably with photos). - The seller is responsive to messages. - The product you want to order does not have a lot of fake reviews. Reviews are usually fake if many of them are written on or around the same date, usually by users from the same country, sometimes by the same user multiple times. They are also usually written in broken English. - A list of good and trusted sellers can be found here
How to get help from DHgate
If you find yourself facing an issue with DHgate, whether it is inadequate assistance with a dispute, worries about a scam, or something entirely different, your best bet is live chat. To be able to use live chat, you must open the DHgate website on a laptop or computer, log into your account, open the live chat assistance window, and click the button to request to chat to a human. The live chat agents are usually helpful and forthcoming.
Searching for products on DHgate and this subreddit
Searching for products can be hard, but this sub is not google. Please take these steps before turning to this sub for help. - Image search on DHgate: when on DHgate, there is a small camera icon next to the searchbar, click this icon and submit a picture of the product you are looking for. Try to find a product with good reviews. - Search with codewords: for example, when looking for a Kenzo sweatshirt, try searching for “tiger sweater” and sort by best-selling. - Check out the product lists on this subreddit: when sorting this sub by top-rated posts of all time, you will find loads of useful lists with good products and sellers, use them. - Asking this subreddit for help should be a last resort but remain rational, products that dropped a day ago will not have been reproduced immediately.
People posting reviews on this subreddit are highly appreciated and very important to this sub. However, to keep this sub organized, we ask you to format your reviews like this: W2C: Price: Imgur album with pics: Looks: Comfort: Flaws: Overall rating:
When you’re just posting a picture of a product you recently received, please include at least a W2C, price, and short evaluation.
What to avoid on DHgate
DHgate is a great resource for rep clothing and shoes, but there are also some dodgier things that are sold on the website. If you are looking for electronics, say airpods, we advise you to have a look over on /RepTronics
as it is not DHgate’s strongest point.
We also highly discourage the purchase and use of any products that could pose a risk to your health. These are products like vaping devices, makeup, and weapons. DHgate products are all produced in unregulated Chinese factories and knockoff vaping devices and makeup have been proven to contain illegally high doses of toxic materials.
Purchasing weapons from DHgate is also a bad idea as this is something that customs workers are trained to detect. Even if your product does get through, there is a much higher chance of it being defective, which could cause you to hurt yourself or someone else.
FAQ Where can I get the best Yeezys?
From now on, this question will no longer be tolerated on this sub. Search the word “yeezy” on this sub and tons of helpful posts and reviews will come up. The three most famous sellers for yeezys on DHgate are sportfansworld, evayeezy and topsportsmarket. The product I want to order doesn’t have the logo on the seller’s pictures, will it have the logo in real life?
Yes. Sellers often edit logos out to avoid getting copyright strikes. Look at the reviews or ask the seller for pictures to see what the real product would look like. Where can I get the best football/soccebaseball jersey?
Simply search for the town name of your preferred club on DHgate, sort by average customer reviews, and find a listing that has good reviews. DHgate is full of amazing jersey sellers and there is not one seller that’s significantly better than others. You could also always search this sub for other peoples’ experiences. Why would I use DHgate and not a site like taobao?
DHgate is mainly good for casual shoppers. If you want to order just one shirt or pair of shoes, it is much easier, quicker, and often cheaper to do so through DHgate. However, if you’re looking to buy many things at once, it is certainly worth your time to check out subs like /FashionReps
to familiarize yourself with the process of using Chinese stores and agents. My shipping/processing is slow, what do I do?
Wait. DHgate is not known for its speed and it is not uncommon for packages to take more than a month to deliver. We strongly advise you to forget about your order for a few weeks after purchasing. If you still have not received it after a month, contact your seller to see if they can help you out. Will my package be seized at customs?
Probably not, customs workers focus 95% of their time looking for drugs and weapons, they are not going to open every package that has just one pair of shoes as it would just take up far too much time. However, if you order a lot of product from one seller at once and it is all shipped together, there is a higher chance of it getting seized. The tracking code my seller gave me shows that my package was delivered to a completely wrong address, what do I do?
This is a common scam, immediately contact both your seller and DHgate customer support and file a dispute if possible. It might take some time and effort but you will probably get your money back. This problem can be avoided by only purchasing from trusted sellers. I have a problem with my payment, what do I do?
Contact your bank and tell them that the purchase you made from a Chinese website was in fact you. If this does not work, contact DHgate customer support. How do I accurately track my package in English?
Use a tracking app or website. We recommend 17track, Parcels, or track24. All of these have translation options. Will the coronavirus cause delays in shipping?
Any post asking a question that is answered by the beginners guide and FAQ will be removed.
OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…11
Continuing… submitted by Rocknocker to Rocknocker [link] [comments]
That being handled, I leave a wakeup call for 0430 as I want a shower and a couple shower-sunrisers before we leave. It takes me about 10 minutes to pack. I call home to let Es know what’s going on. She’s not in, so I leave a message. Same for my friends Rack and Ruin of the Agency. They’re thrilled so far with my reports.
The security forces here are absolutely going to freak if they reverse-review my phone records once we leave.
Covert? Schmovert. I’m too old for playing such games.
The next morning, after a sudsy shower and a couple of vodka-infused shower-beers; I’m in the lobby with all my kit, checked-out, and waiting on the tour leader. My passport was stamp-stamp-stampity-stamped here at the hotel, which I thought was weird, but after spending time in this here country, not all that unusual.
At 0545 on the dime, the tour bus pulls into the lot. Without a word, bellhops grab near all my kit and escort it out to the waiting bus.
After tipping each extravagantly, I fire up a huge cigar, and wander around outside, loitering by the bus. I see members of my team at the front desk, checking out. Everything’s been paid for already, they just have to sign documents that they’re not secreting hotel towels or televisions or errant nationals in their luggage.
It’s a weird country.
I see them loading box breakfasts for us as well as box lunches on the bus.
Hell, they’re actually doing ‘field trip’ correctly.
If the bus us fueled up, we can go for days at this rate. There are several coolers bearing the hotel’s brand and I sidle over to see what they’re carrying.
Case after case of iced-down beer and a couple of cases of various high-octane potables; and over there? A couple of boxes of mixers…ah, soda…pop…carbonated citrusy goodness.
“OK”, I sigh, “All is as it should be. Now the field excursion may begin.”
My teammates filter outside as does their luggage. I suggest they get out and keep what is necessary for preliminary outcrop excursions; such as a backpack or knapsack, hammer, acid bottles, field notebooks, Brunton compass, lighters, cameras, personal tobacco products, and the like in the bus. That way, we don’t have to go tearing through all the luggage at every stop.
I pull out a bundle of 100 Hubco™
large geological dual
-sample bags. That’s right: ‘dual’ sample…
I distribute these to everyone on the team. I ask that they devise their own numbering system and make absolutely certain I have a copy of it when we’re done. I’ll be correlating and curating all the samples when we get back to the world.
I ask that a cooler of drinks are left on board the bus, rather than in the hold. It’s humid, sticky, and muggy today. We must expend valiant effort in remaining hydrated and this will help.
Luckily, the bus has on-board lavatory facilities.
We are seated on the bus, my 10 collective team members, myself, our 4 ‘guides’, ‘Yuk’, ‘No’, ‘Man’, and ‘Kong’; our driver, relief driver, one incredibly shy national geologist, Myung-Dae Soo, and four of the shiny suit clan.
The hotel wheels out a large cart laden with pastries and a huge coffee urn. A bit of a “Bon Voyage
” from the casino and bar crowd, as they put this together for us when they heard we were leaving.
“Hey. That’s really nice of them.” Dax notes.
Dax handed over our raw “elevator waiting” funds as we didn’t have time to run it through the casino-machine before we left. We donated over 75,000 won to our friends at the bar, casino, and massage parlor. The ones delivering our going away present assured us it would be divided equitably.
“It best be”, I laughed, “You never know when one of us might be back!”
There was a collective horrified look on their faces for the merest moments. Then they all laughed and said that they hoped we would return someday soon.
“Nice folks”, I thought, “Stupid as shit country, but nice folks.”
We had all separately left tips for the room maids, bellmen, and matrons back before we checked-out.
There was a flurry of handshaking and goodbyes. Not a bad hotel experience here in the so-called land of Best Korea.
Serious dark coffee was passed out amongst the riders, but Ivan, myself, and Dax were already giving one of my emergency flasks a workout.
Ivan smiled and said: “We drink our coffee the Russian way
. That is to say we had vodka before it and vodka afterward. HA!”
Ivan and I are cut from the same bolt.
Faux-doughnuts, pseudo-bear claws and fake-long johns all distributed; the bus is fired up, and rumbling. We are exhorted to watch our drinks as we pull away from the hotel and into the wilds of Northern Korea.
I’m humming away:
On the road again -Just can't wait to get on the road again,
The life I love is bashing rocks in the field with my friends.
And I can't wait to get on the road again
On the road again.
Goin' places that we've never been,
Seein' things that we may never see again…
“Rock?”, Dax inquires.
“Yes?” I reply.
“Do please shut up.”
“Music hater”, I muse and comply.
We’re rolling down the highway, as it were, headed generally north. We all have cameras of one kind or another; and rather than relieve us of them, they quietly and without much fuss, slowly darken the windows.
They claim it’s to keep the sun out and temperatures down, but just before things go all black, we’re seeing sights and scenes of the true North Korea. They’re trying to keep us from seeing that en route to the outcrops.
This new bus has some sort of electronic tint-control gizmo for the windows. However, if one has a pair of polarizing sunglasses, as all good field geologists do, you see right past that and can view the passing scenery unencumbered.
I return from a quick beer-recycling loo trip and am amused to see 10 Western scientists, sitting in a blacked-out bus, all wearing polarizing sunglasses.
It was just the surreal note this trip needed as we left the confines of the capital city.
We traveled north, and the empties pile began to grow. We had a few trash bags we had liberated from the hotel, but the shiny suits were very insistent that every empty can, bottle, and bag, yes they had beer in bags…had to be repatriated to a box in the far back of the bus.
Evidently, they either were paid a bounty on each container or were accountable for each vessel. They were soon to realize just the capacity for drink that a group of 11 seasoned very Senior Field Geologists, and one stowaway geologist-in-training can amass.
As we ply our way northward, we see the agricultural side of North Korea. The contrast between rural areas and the capital was striking. There were miles of rice paddies being harvested by people with sickles in their hands. And no cars on the highway. It was most destabilizing for this Westerner.
I think we saw a maximum of three tractors, as most of the work was done with ox power, there was very little evidence of rural electrification. Oh, hold on. We saw many more tractors, I should correct that: we saw three running
and not rusted into
The farmers we see are using equipment that is quite literally medieval - single-share plows pulled by large, cranky bovines; sweeping sickles to bring in the harvest, and twin-engine, bilateral, botanical-fired ox-carts to transport it. It’s hard to believe that this third-world level of poverty exists in the same country that’s capable of building rockets, nuclear weapons, and tall, well-appointed hotels.
But when we stop at a motorway service station for fuel - a bizarre alien spaceship-like building squatting over the empty carriageways - we do encounter a jangmadang
, or semi-official market. Here they are selling cans of knock-off Vietnamese Red Bull and Malaysian-made King Cobra™ Cola.
It reminds me of Russia right after the wall fell. Off the Trans-Siberian Railway in Krasnoyarsk, the Gateway to Eastern Siberia. You can buy Chinese hams, Chinese sodas, Chinese knock-off liquor, and those bloody delicious little bullets of Vitamin-C, Chinese mandarins.
Here, it’s similar. You can get most anything you desire, except it isn’t of Korean manufacture. That stuff is even too shitty to pawn off on tourists.
Instead, it’s knock-off Malaysian, Chinese, or Indonesian beer, wine, or soft drinks.
“Tiger-brand energy drink. Now with 40% more real tiger.” Here? I believe them.
Vodka from everywhere not known for its vodka distilling prowess. Rural hotel shops sell nastily stale crisps, gummy gummies, filling-ripping ‘chewy’ taffy or caramel, and biscuits with a severely limited choice. Rural hotels do not have full electricity so beer is warm and often tossed on the table, waiting for tourists to arrive - as is the food. We were warned to be prepared for cold rice, cold fish, cold potato – and plenty of kimchi and tofu.
Back on the road again, we’re passing small burgs that are not on any of our maps; even the ones we traded for back in the hotel that are specially marked: “For Internal Use ONLY!”.
They were amazingly the same. Clean. Bright. Uncluttered. And attended by cadres of prim, uniform-clad, though non-military people. They were all doing a day’s work keeping everything neat and clean.
There were no cars, trucks, forklifts…only rickshaws and ox-carts. However every one of these ‘towns’ were identical, and exactly, as Ivan pointed out, ‘X’ number of minutes apart.
“Watch! Is so!”, Ivan said. We passed one of these villages, and exactly 3 minutes later, an exact copy. Three minutes later? Another one. 3 more minutes? Xerox-city.
“What the fuck?” Dax asked.
“Potemkin village.” Comrade Dr. Academician Ivan replied.
A Potemkin village is any construction, literal or figurative, whose sole purpose is to provide an external façade to a country which is faring poorly. It is for making people believe that the country is faring better, although statistics and data would suggest otherwise.
“Russia pioneered the process,” Ivan noted with no small amount of pride. “During Cold War with West, entire cities were built, moved, raised, and razed. Ever hear of Krasnoyarsk-25? Atomic Research City? Supposed place of weapons study and manufacture. Huge ‘accident’. Entire city demolished, total populace relocated supposedly, after massive nuclear calamity.”
“Is that true? Cliff asks.
“No. Not at all.” Ivan smiles, “Deliberate misinformation. At least for K-25. It was diversion for actual towns where accidents; nuclear, biological, or worse, had happened. West so concerned about K-25 because it was big, near big capital city of Krasnoyarsk and suitably located out in the taiga. Easy to spot, easy to watch. Kept Western satellites busy while real towns of I-33, U-10, and AR-13 out in the forest were quietly demolished and people relocated or mass buried after some horrible, horrible accidents...”
“You think it’s the same here?” I asked Ivan.
“No, Dr. Rock”, Ivan smiled, and helped himself to my freshly constructed, but untouched, Yorshch, “This is all fake and bluster. Make West think everything is all A-OK, is that right idiom?”
“Yep.” I reply, “Precisely.”
“Make West believe all is OK and green”, as he winks at me, “And bustling and growing. Cover up what is real case here. We all see it and we see right through. Shoddy even for Asians.”
We all had to snicker and smirk as the shiny suit squad, who sat up at the front of the bus, and were not supposed to be listening; reacted like every cell in their bodies were just hit with a drop of pure lemon juice.
“Comrade Dr. Academician. Decorum, please.” I snickered.
“Oh, fuck them!”, Ivan replied, “I am old Russian. They try and pull burlap over my eyes? St. Petersburg? Moscow? Krasnoyarsk.? I’ve been there, seen them. They think this display of tawdriness…Even goofy American and Canadian can see the fakes they are. Britisher? I’m not so sure…”
“Damn, Doctor., I said to Ivan, “You’re just making friends all over the planet today.”
We all knew it was in jest; but the shiny suit squad certainly had their feathers ruffled and either didn’t care or wanted us to know we were under their observation.
“Fuck them twice”, Ivan said, “Ask them for bottle opener. I’m too lazy to search for my field jackknife.”
I hand him my pocket Leatherman and he pries the top of another bottle of ‘Budveiser’ beer.
“They can’t even make fake the name correctly”, he smirks and drains the bottle.
‘Town’ after ‘town’ and even that parade gets uninteresting. We’re headed north and finally come to a crossroads.
The bus driver, who must be a regular paranoid-maniac because he actually stopped to look for oncoming traffic, which we have seen precisely none since leaving the capital city, made a hard right. We’re heading back and up into the hills, leaving the bright lights of the big city far behind.
After an hour or so of driving, we pull off to the left-hand side of the road.
“Rock, Ivan, Cliff…holy shit, look at this!” Dax was uncharacteristically excited.
It was an open field that leads to a series of low outcrops of polychromatic, obviously sedimentary rocks. Magentas, greens, purples, rust-reds, browns, blacks, olive greens…holy shit. A real sedimentary pile.
We filed out of the bus with our field gear. The shiny suit squad started in with a bullhorn.
“You will wait for tour guides!”
“You will listen to group leaders!”
“You will not stray from the designated paths set up…”
No one heard them as the group of 11 remaining Western geoscientists were already across the highway and hieing for the exposures like outcrop-seeking multiple-warhead re-entry vehicles.
“You must wait!” we heard from exasperated voices back at the bus. “You must stop!”
“You must piss off!” Cliff said, “This is what we’ve been waiting over two weeks to see!”
“They are very angry with us”, Myung-dae the young Korean geologist said. “I find that just too bad.”
“And you are?” I asked.
Myung-dae Soo, the young Korean geologist, introduced himself.
“Well”, I said, “Welcome aboard. I’m Dr. Rock.”
“They are very, very angry”, he repeats.
“So? Are you tagging along to give them internal reports?” I asked.
“No, Doctor”, he replied, “I too am a geologist. I want to get away from those assholes and see some real rocks.”
“Who are you with?” I ask, “What group?”
“I am 5th-year student at Pyongyang College. I am not officially
here. We were told in class that you were coming. I decided to see if I could join you. This morning, I was standing by bus and they thought I was hotel worker or orderly. I was given cooler full of beer and told to find place for it on the bus. I did and after that, just stayed in the back. I am stowaway. I am ashamed, but I had to see for myself. But, I like Western field trips so far!”
“No shit? Well, then”, I said, “Double welcome aboard. None of this ‘I am ashamed’ shit. You’re a geologist, but you haven’t even worked through your first field-evening get-together with us. But this is no pleasure cruise. It’s real work, real geology, real serious science shit. You savvy?”
“Yes, sir, Doctor Rocknocker from Sultanate in the Middle East.” Myung-dae smiled.
“And you fucking stay close to me”, I smirked.
I fired a couple of BLAAATS!
from my portable air horn.
“Field Meeting! Field Meeting! Assholes & Elbows!” I called aloud.
Everyone gathered within earshot.
“OK, guys, here’s the deal. We do not know how long we’ve got here. So, let’s split up into teams. Geophysicists, go do your structural thing. Stratigraphers? Field relations. Geologists? Let’s go talk to some ronery-rooking-rocks. No offense, Mr. Myung.”
Myung-dae was laughing up a storm. He got that reference. He later told us all around the campfire he thought ‘Team America’ was a “fucking hilarious movie.”
Oh, we are going to be a real
bad influence on this poor kid.
The groups spontaneously broke up into 4 or 5 sub-groups. They headed for areas they thought were important and they were photographing, measuring, pounding on rocks, and arguing within minutes.
“No, you idiot! It’s continental. Look at those adhesion ripples.”
“The fuck you know. It’s only a little low-level eggbeater tectonics. Where the fuck would you get continental collision-size energy around here?”
“Oh, the fuck you say. It’s non-marine. Those are mud cracks. Look at the sandy aeolian infill, fer chrissake.”
Formal? Proper? Detached Doctors of Geology?
Not when you’re in the field. It all goes out the window when different opinions collide like subducting plates.
“The music of my people!” I said to Morse.
“I thought that was the ‘Safety Dance’?” he chided.
“We’re a big family. We can have more than one.” I snickered.
We’re wandering around the site, with individual purpose.
We are looking for or looking at items of interest
We’re hacking at the outcrops.
We’re all looking at…things
It’s hard to describe. Get a load of geologists or geology students out of the office, lab, or classroom; stick them out on a bare expanse of heavily weathered rock and it’s simply…numinous.
We’re rebuilding worlds here.
This rock says this.
This rock says that.
And you’re not fluent in that dialect. Here, let me interpret for you…
We’re at each other’s throats, in the academic-metaphorical sense. Tempers have been known to run hot. There has been the occasional bloody nose or rocks sailing down an outcrop without the obligate “HEADACHE!” call. Hammers and Marsh Picks have ended up swimming without the owner’s knowledge.
But once we’re back; settled in the hotel room, tavern, or around the campfire, we’re all a Band of Brothers again. It’s an odd thing to watch; as if you’re not of the clan, you’d need an interpreter. It defies all boundaries: political, sexual, educational, geographical, linguistic, social, et cetera
We’re all geologists first. We share the common scientific bond of Geology.
That’s why Geology is the
Plus we tend to drink a serious fucking whole bloody awful lot.
We’ve all been on that ‘crawlin’ home puker’.
We’ve also been to the ends of the earth: the deepest depths, the highest heights, we deal with the greatest pressures, the hottest temperatures; we’ve been to the mountain, we’ve seen the elephant, and we’ve held a bear’s nose to dogshit.
We wear the scars attained in our travels like badges of honor.
We’re God-Damned Scientists
Back off, man. Geologist comin’ through.
Anyways, I’m looking at the bedding-plane boundaries between the purple unit and the underlying olive-green unit. The upper unit it looks, to me, continental in origin. Fluvial, perhaps. The lower unit is much finer-grained. Marine mudstone, perhaps? But what age?
The cadged Korean Geological maps are worse than useless. They never would go down to the outcrop scale. Consulting them, they don’t even note these exposures in a field sense.
Myung-dae, who is working about 35 meters down-section from me calls out, “Doctors! Sirs! Look here! I’ve found something!”
We all wander over as he is hacking away at the dusty, eroded rock. He stands and dusts off his find.
It’s a very large, nearly 1-meter diameter, coiled fossil cephalopod.
I wander over for a closer look. Dax, Cliff, Morse, and Ivan do as well.
“Blimey! Will you look at that? Outstanding, Mr. Myung!” Cliff says.
“Well, that confirms it. This layer, at least, is marine. Look at that suture pattern”, I say, dusting off an unweathered bit.
“Look at the radius of coiling.”, Cliff joins in.
We’re slowly wresting information out of this silent witness.
“Ornamentation?”, Dr. Ivan asks. “Knobs, bosses, and excrutions?” Oh, yes.”
In unison, we declare: “Hyphoplites
Morse adds, “And therefore…these rocks are middle Cretaceous. Marine. Not bad…”
“Need to get some samples for geochemical analysis. Dig deep, gentlemen, we need unweathered samples for TOC (Total Organic Carbon) content.”, Dr. Erlen Meyer notes.
With that, we have a relative age of the rock, a good idea of its depositional environment, and therefore extent, ideas of field relationships, and an indication of some of its fauna.
Could it be source rock worthy?
Samples? Best get diggin’, Beaumont.
That unit is right smack in the middle of this pile of rocks. Dax and I will work up-section and Ivan and Cliff will work down-section. We’re going to see what lies above, what lies below, what trends we can discern, and develop an idea of what happened here some 100 million years ago.
This is what happens when you get geologists out in the field with the proper amounts of field gear, outcrops, and alcohol.
Overall, the deeper down-section, and therefore, earlier in geological time you go, the more marine the rocks are. Conversely, the higher you go in the column, i.e., up-section, into younger rocks, the more continental it appears.
We find fragments of marine fish fossils, sea-crocodile scutes and teeth, heaps of mosasaur coprolites, i.e., fossil shit piles, and other indications that the lower, older rocks are Lower Cretaceous ocean basin-fill.
But up higher; we find mud cracks, rain prints, land turtle shells, land-snails (Bellerophontid
gastropods), and what may actually be a fossil feather. All indications of a more continental, i.e., fluvial (river), floodplain, lacustrine (lake), and paludal (swamp) deposition.
That’s my particular bailiwick.
I’m ‘elephant walking’ along the upper outcrops looking for fossils. You basically bend over at the waist and sweep from left to right as you take exaggerated step after step, scanning the ground looking for…well…it takes years, but once you see it, you never forget it.
A disjunct endemism. Something not in situ
. Something out of place
. A bit of a different, out of context color. Out of context texture. Out of context size. Out of context context
Something that looks like it shouldn’t ought to be there.
I’m picking up 1 cm. square hunks of what look like an ordinary rock. I taste them. Well, I stick them to my tongue. If it liquefies and runs away, it’s ordinary mudstone, shale, or the like.
If it sticks…well, it might just be fossil bone.
“Damn right, Rock”, Cliff says from behind me, “Fucking North Korea tastes terrible.”
“Still, it’s the best way I know to…” I paused.
“Got something?” Cliff asked.
“Look here.” I said, “Anthill. Big, nasty buggers. Look around the edges. Pieces of flat, cream-colored rock on this gaudy purple stuff. Tongue test? They stick like cockleburs. Let’s look upslope, see if there’s a drainage…”
There it was, a nice little drainage incised about 1.5 meters deep into the nearly horizontal rocks we were walking on.
“Any float?” I asked.
“Not yet,” Cliff said.
We followed the weak, little drainage that was cut into the outcrop, up another couple of meters.
There were very scrappy, very small, very scattered pieces of that same cream-colored rock. Some were ornamented with a scroll-work or some sort of striations. Most un-geological. More biological. We followed the trail, up here, around here, over there.
Cliff noticed it first, a soccer-ball sized lump of completely out-of-place crème-colored ‘rock’ working its way out by gradual erosion of the variegated pastels of the continental rocks upon which we were treading.
I got there first and began to clear the area with my Estwing.
“Careful. Careful”, Cliff admonished.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mind your Mincies. [Mince pies = eyes]”, as I’m swinging away at the reluctant, reticent, rocks.
The excavation grew, slowly. From the rounded dome, we could see small sutures that had developed…
Then condyles, fenestrae, then more ‘bone’. Then a jaw, teeth, vertebrae…
“HOLY DOUBLE-DAMN SHIT!” I tootled my air horn. We needed the group to see this.
It was a skull. A dinosaur skull. A small, non-avian dinosaur skull.
Everyone has crowded around and looked at the small quarry we had just built.
“Whatcha got, Rock? Cliff?” Joon asked.
“Fuck me, but I think we’ve got us a dinosaur skull,” I said.
Professor Doctor Academician Ivan walked over and cleared the area.
As Professor Emeritus, he had pole position priority.
“I agree.” is all he said.
I cleared the area and let others take a whack at opening up the quarry.
We may have been low on power tools, but we had a surfeit of opinions.
“OK,” I said, “Let’s look at the facts…”
- Age? Cretaceous. Probably lower to lower-middle Cretaceous.
- Continental deposits. That’s very fine sand we’re hacking away. Fluvial, without a doubt. Or, possibly aeolian; there’s no such thing as a geological certainty. Dunes? Ephemeral creeks? Low floodplain? Geo-talk… .
- Small size. Potentially a juvenile?
- Nope. Not a juvie. Sutures are closed, fused. This is, well was, an adult; perhaps a subadult, given its size.
- In situ? In place? Or washed in?
Hard to tell when all you’ve exposed is half the critter’s brain box.
“Look at that!” Myung-dae exclaimed, “Squamosal bones and the inner parietals…temporal fenestrae. It had a frill; a small one.”
“OK,”, I said, looking closely at the exposed scrappy remains, “Fucking-A Bubba. Nailed it.” I said, giving him the thumbs up.
“Ceratopsian. Look at those greens-grinder molars. There’s some small osteoderms on the skull; knobby old bastard. Early critter.” I continued.
Others looked around and confirmed my observations.
“Reminds me of Protoceratops
from when I was back in Mongolia,” I said.
Dax chimed in with, “Looks something like Psittacosaurus
from back in the Cretaceous Belly River of Canada.”
Drs. Ivan and Morse agree. “Most assuredly. It is definitely proto-ceratopsian. Young adult, as Dr. Rock notes by the cranial sutures. Do they have a record of proto-ceratopsians here?”
Myung-dae replies, “I have read reports of Korean proto-ceratopsian found in South Korea. Not long ago, 2019, it is called…ah… Auroraceratops
. It is a genus of bipedal basal neo-ceratopsian dinosaur.”
“Bipedal?” I query. “Well, there’s a fine how do you do. All the proto-ceratopsians I’ve known were obligate quadrupeds.”
“Well”, Ivan, Dax, Cliff, and Morse agree, “That should give the shiny suit squad something to report. That’ll keep them the hell out of our hair for a while.”
We photograph each step as we excavate the critter. It’s more or less in situ
, buried where it fell. Probably killed by a sand slip off a dune, or a river sandbar slip and burial. It’s not complete, but we do have the skull and a good portion of the post-cranial elements to about just before the pelvis. A good pectoral girdle, skull, jaw, frill, forelimbs, forefeet…easily half-a cute little herbivorous dinosaur. About the size of a smallish Highland Coo or large Great Dane.
We flag it with the team particulars, it’s GPS position, and carefully rebury the animal. We don’t have any of the equipment nor time to excavate it properly, but we can conserve it. Of course, we’ll be informing the proper authorities of our discovery.
I have an absolutely ancient Polaroid instant camera. Before re-internment, I take several pictures of our “Koreasaurus
”, as we’ve dubbed the animal, with items for scale; like a hammer, cigar, and oddly enough, a photographic scale. Then I get a photo of the whole crew standing around, drinking warm beers from their individual day packs, smiling about the find ‘they‘ made.
We hear the melodious tootle of the bus’s horns. We make sure to pack out all our trash and wander back to our terrestrial transport.
“You were gone too long!” the chief shiny suited character goes all ballistic on me.
“Watch yourself, Herr Mac.”, I calmly said, “You’re going to burn your nose on my cigar.”
“You left without your handlers…err…guides!” he fumed.
“Hey, Scooter. Cool out. We’re geologists. We never get lost.” I said.
It sometimes just takes us longer to get back than it took us to leave…
“Your impertinence will be reported.” He smoldered.
“Report this, Mother Chuckler”, I observed and held out the pictures of our newly discovered Koreasaurus
“Show those photos to your
handlers,” I said in a mocking tone. “We found a brand new species of God-damned dinosaur for you geezers. It took us less than two hours. You can spin it that it’s a new, never-before-seen species of very specialized dinosaur found right here in beautiful Korea del Norte. Be quite the scientific coup, don’t you think? Trust us. We won’t say anything.”
He immediately shut up and went into conference with the rest of the shiny suit squad.
“Doctor”, one of the clan covert asked, “This is a new dinosaur?”
I had a thunderbolt of an idea.
“Oh! Yes, it is. I’d stake my reputation on it. You’ve had no concerted search here for the beasts and well, with the normalizing of relations between your country and the world, it allowed your specialists to perform real science. In fact, on the bus is the young North Korean geoscientist who made the discovery.” I said. “Give me a minute. I’ll go and get him. I think he was off taking a shi…ah, using the lavatory. Just give me a minute.”
I did have an idea. A wonderful idea. A wonderfully evil idea.
Back on the bus, I ordered the doors closed.
“Gentlemen! Ears and eyes! Please.” I said loudly.
“The shiny suits have their knickers all a-twist because we don’t want to listen to them; the assholes. Fuck that. I’ve got an idea. Let’s make our young acolyte here, Mr. Myung-dae Soo, a national hero. He would probably get his ass in a crack for sneaking on board the Western bus today the way he did. Well, double fuck that. Let’s all say he
found the dinosaur. Let him take the glory for the homeland. No one else will ever need to know.” I said smiling.
“Fuck Yeah! You bet! Замечательное! Ihmeellisiä! Maravilhoso! Geweldig!”
Good to know we’re all on the same page. Geologists. You can always count on them…
“Mr. Myung-dae Soo? Front and center. Time to go and become ‘Hero of Best Korea’.” I smiled.
He was absolutely terrified.
“Doctor…I …don't…wait…no…” he stammered.
Cliff, Dax, Ivan, and I trotted him out to confront the shiny suit squad.
“Don’t worry, Myung. We’ve got your back. Trust us.” I said in a low conspiratorial tone.
The shiny suit squad turned as one and gave Mr. Myung the Stink Eye treatment.
“Here you go. The man of the hour. Mr. Myung-Dae Soo, young geologist and up and coming paleontologist.” I say loudly and with the utmost honor.
They look at him and the Korean erupts in rapid-fire staccato bursts.
Cliff just wanders in and interjects, “Yes. Righto. Top form. Found the float. Tracked down that dino like he was on safari. Highest marks. Good man!”
Dax adds more fuel to the fire. “Like he knew where to go, knew where to look. He’s a natural.”
Dr. Academician Ivan blustered forth: “Excellent scholar. Excellent field man. Banner geologist.”
I couldn’t have added more. The shiny suit squad was gobsmacked.
I asked Myung-dae what they were saying.
“They were talking about reprisals. Reporting to authorities. Then, they stopped. You have them completely confounded.” He said.
“How so?” I asked, quietly.
“Between an international incident where we don’t listen to our handlers and this potential important scientific discovery.” Mr. Myung-dae reported, trying hard to parse the evolving situation.
“Yes”, I added to Ivan’s bluster.
To the shiny suits: “I’ve worked as visiting Dinosaurian Vertebrate Paleontology Curator at all the major American museums. This is a find quite unlike anything known. It is a watershed discovery. It will help unravel the evolution and distribution of the clan Dinosauria
for the whole Korean Peninsula. Perhaps, even with international impact on the recent finds in China.”
I laid it on with a trowel.
I hit all the buzzwords.
“Yes. Yes, perhaps.”, the head shiny-suiter said. “I will report this bit of very good news to the proper authorities. Myung-dae, with us. We require more information.”
“Ah, we’d prefer him to ride in back with us if you don’t mind. Scientific courtesy, old man. He needs to be classically de-interviewed after such a find.” I insisted, making certain I stand as tall, wide, and menacing as possible while smiling like a damned Cheshire cat, one smoking a very large cigar.
“Very well. We are not far from our evening stop. We can talk later.” He agreed.
We all moseyed, laughing silently, back to the bus; literally supporting our young hero Mr. Myung-dae as he seemed to have gone all wobbly of late.
Myung-dae was ashen-white. He looked like he had just given birth to a basketball. He was visibly shaking.
We get on the bus and I whip up a stout Yorshch for the young hero of the hour.
“Here! This is for you. If you’re going to be a world-class geologist, you’d damn sure better start acting like one.” I smile broadly.
There were hoots, cheers, and cat-calls.
Beers were popped, bottles uncorked; cigars, cigarettes, and pipes lit.
“Damn Skippy!” some anonymous reveler added.
Myung-dae slurped a good half the drink. I offered him a cigar. He stopped shaking enough to accept the novel offer.
Remember “crawlin’ home puker”? He’s taken his first step into a larger world.
OK, just to recap. Here are the dramatis personae
left on the bus…
Bus driver (Kim) and his relief (Won).
My team and I. That’s 11 Western geoscientists: Morse, Cliff, Volna, Ack, Viv, Graco, Erlen, Dr. Academician Ivan, Joon, Dax, and myself.
Then there are our guides: Yuk, No, Man, and Kong.
Our stowaway hero geologist-in-training: Myung-dae Soo, aka, “Mung”.
And the four members of the shiny suit clan: Pak, Mak, Tak, and Jak. At least, that’s the names we used when we addressed them.
The bus was rumbling down the deserted highway. We were headed more or less due east, passing the occasional Potemkin Village. They knew we cracked their code long ago, so they didn’t bother with darkening the windows any longer.
We are passing a series of highway road cut outcrops. We’re only going approximately 35 or 40 miles per hour. Suddenly, Morse jumps out of his seat and runs up to the driver.
“STOP! STOP! Back up! We almost missed it!” he barks in heavily Russian inflected English.
The driver, shaken to the core, just slams on the brakes. The bus grinds to a stop. Good thing there’s no traffic out here.
Or anywhere else, for that matter.
Jak of the suit clan jumps up and asks “What is the problem?”
“How could you miss that?” Morse shouts. “Huge fault. Mineralization. I saw that from a glimpse. We must return to investigate.”
“Is not possible. We have appointment at the hotel.” Jak replies.
“Fuck that!”, Morse shouts. I guess he’s just really into faults…
I wander up and try to defuse the situation.
“OK, guys, cool out. Let’s be reasonable. Do it our way. Go back to that road cut. We spend a half-hour there then we go on to the hotel. The hotel will still be there when we arrive, won’t it? Even if we’re a bit late?” I ask.
Jak looks to Pak, who converses with Mak and Tak. They know they’re outgunned.
The driver shifts the bus into reverse and we back
down the luckily deserted highway over a mile to the outcrop in question.
We had to admit, it was a mother beautiful normal fault. In perfect, textbook cross-section.
Morse and Joon were on it like white on rice; given the mineralization along the fault plane. All sorts of implications for the thermal and geological history of the area. But with just one exposure like this, more or less just a real interesting geo-oddity.
We spent precisely 30 minutes at the exposure, and when our handlers requested we re-board and head to the motel, we complied like nice, normal sort of folks.
I believe the appropriate maxim here is: “Lull them into a false sense of security…”
Once more down the road we travel. Beers popped, bottles uncorked; you know, the usual.
Forty-five minutes later, we pull into, I kid you not, a replica US of A 1950s Motor-Inn
“Mr. Myung”, I ask, “What the hell is this?” To be continued…