Leave a comment

July 21, 2013 by jamesessj


Yes, Se-hoon.

Do you speak French?

A little bit. I took it in high school.

When did you go to high school? Was French a language then?

I’m not three thousand years old, Se-hoon. But I did go to high school long before you were even born.

You are very old, Teacher.

Older than you’ll ever be, if you’re not careful.

Do you know what this word means? Bor-joy-is?

Let me see your list. That’s “bourgeois.”

It’s French, right?


How do you say it?









Close enough. Do you know what it means?


It’s hard to explain. It means, middle-class.

Middle class? The class in the middle?


In the middle of what?

Society. Between the upper class and the lower class.

Not class at school.

No. Class as in – social position. Wealth. Job. Status. If you’re middle-class you’re not rich and you’re not poor. You’re in the middle.

Then I am bo-zhuh.

You are extremely bo-zhuh, yes.

I am not rich and I am not poor.

What does your father do?

He works for Samsung.

You’re as bo-zhuh as it gets, Se-hoon.

Are you bo-zhuh, Teacher?

Yes. Although not as bo-zhuh as you.

Why am I more bo-zhuh than you?

Koreans are born bo-zhuh. They get worse from there.

United States people are not bo-zhuh?

We invented bo-zhuh. But Koreans have taken it to the next level.

Is bo-zhuh bad?

It can be. Like when you care more about money than about people.

I don’t like people. People are crazy. But I like money.

You are a horrible person, Se-hoon.

Teacher! You not supposed to call students horrible.

I call ‘em as I see ‘em. You hate people, you love money. Horrible.

I don’t hate all people.

Just most people?

I hate my family. I hate my school. I hate LEARN Academy.

Do you hate me?

No. But I like money more than you.

Who do you not hate?

My friends. Some of them.

Then some of your friends you do hate.

All they think about is money.

You hate them for thinking about money?

They are very bo-zhuh!

I know there’s a mirror around here somewhere, let me find it.

Teacher! It is different for me! I want money to do good things. They only want money to buy things. They are selfish.

What good things do you want to do with money?

Bomb North Korea.

I’m not sure how good a thing that counts as, Se-hoon.

Then I want to bomb LEARN Academy.

I hope you’ll give me some warning first.

I will tell you before. I will tell you one hour before, so you can leave.

How thoughtful. –All the wonderful things you could do with money, and you choose to bomb LEARN Academy.

Then I would be free. Like a bird.

Are you going to bomb your family? Your regular school? The friends you don’t like? You can’t bomb everyone, Se-hoon.

If I have money I can.

How are you going to make money, so you can bomb everyone?

Work for Samsung.

Is that what your dad’s doing? Making money to bomb everyone? That’s his life’s goal? A long-term plan he’s been working on since he was fourteen?

Teacher, you are scary.

I’m not the one who’s planning to bomb everyone.

I am not serious. I will not bomb everyone.

You know, in America, I would have to report you to the police, for saying things like this.

School violence.


We do not have school violence in Korea.

Only because you haven’t gotten your hands on fissionable material.

What is fish-un-bull?

Never mind. Just a joke.

I hate Jin-ho’s class. So much vocabulary!

I guess you’ve exhausted English, you’re moving on to French.

Yes! This is English academy! Why do we learn French?

English uses lots of French words. Bourgeois. Potpourri. Carte blanche. Ennui. Ménage à – never mind.

What do those words mean?

They’re all different ways of saying, Please don’t bomb me, Park Se-hoon.

Teacher! I said I will not bomb you.

No, you said you’d give me one hour’s notice.

I will not bomb you. I will pick a day when you are not here.

I’m here every day, Se-hoon.

Then I will bomb late at night. When no one is here.

I’ll be out of a job, but at least you’ll be free. Like a bird.

I will fly with my new wings.

Until the police shoot you down. It is illegal to bomb your school in Korea, isn’t it?

Maybe. Possibly.

All because you hate Jin-ho’s class.

I hate people. People are crazy.

You’re people, Se-hoon.

And I am crazy.

You’re fourteen. It amounts to the same thing.

Teacher — when do you go back to America?

In October. If I don’t stay in Korea.

You will stay in Korea?

Maybe. Possibly.


Maybe. Possibly.

But you hate Jin-ho, too.

I don’t hate Jin-ho. He’s my boss.

You hate him too. But you will stay at LEARN Academy.

I said maybe. Possibly.

That is very bo-zhuh, Teacher. To stay when you hate your boss.

He’s not the only consideration. I like my students. Aside from you. I like the rest of my students.

You are the bo-zhuh-est, Teacher.

I’m not the -est anything, Se-hoon. I’m just a teacher.

You are bo-zhuh. That is how I will remember the word. James Teacher is bo-zhuh.

You’re writing that down? “James Teacher is bo-zhuh”?

Yes. So I remember.

You misspelled it. B-o-u-r-g-e-o-i-s. “Bourgeois.”


That’s it. You got it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

the author, if he lives that long

Willkommen, bienvenue…

Welcome! And please enjoy your stay with us here at the last piece. We love visitors, especially attractive male ones with loose morals, so if you're one of those, please do leave your name and number. If you're not male, or male and unattractive, or if your morals are...what's the opposite of loose? tight?...if your morals are tight, we still want to hear from you; we just won't be replying. Thank you again and don't be a stranger!

July 2013
« Jun   Dec »


%d bloggers like this: