Blast San Francisco Bureau
Dear UberAsian: My roommates are supposed to be Asian but neither of them have pagers, cell phones or Hondas. I thought they were Filipino like me. I personally have two pagers, two cell phones and a Honda. Should I be worried?
--Agent J in San Francisco.
Yes. There is a phenomenon currently sweeping through the United States much like the one that cut through Hong Kong in the 1980s when Asians would pay to be surgically altered to look more Occidental. Squinty eyes would be
widened, hair tinted and driving lessons taken.
The flow has now reversed.
It's quite possible you have two white guys that have been altered to look
more Asian. Call them caucAsian. It sounds like you have two bad
dopplegangers, though. The lack of telecommunications devices is an instant
giveaway; clearly they are amateurs. Don't reveal your suspicions yet. It's
possible both of them have decided to make you a roommate to see how Asians
live so they can further their own secret agendas. You mention that neither
have Hondas. What kind of cars do they have? A Toyota or VW may indicate
nothing. If either has a domestic make, such as a Saturn or Camaro, you can
be sure they are caucAsians. (Note: since they are supposed to be
Filipino, owning a Ford Mustang 5.0 or domestically manufactured van would
not be a good indicator.)
Here are a few tests you can perform to confirm your suspicions:
One day, casually slip in a reference that you would like to go to a John
Cougar concert. If they don't bite, a few days later mention that Bruce
Springsteen is coming to town. Neither will be able to resist and will show
some excitement at seeing "The Boss."
When the refrigerator is empty of drinks, buy these three items: grass jelly
drink in a can, plain Vita Soy, and Budweiser. If they go for the Bud,
you've got 'em. Another sign to monitor is the amount of milk. Milk in Asian
households is pretty much there to hold the dry cereal together. If you find
that there is always a supply of fresh milk, and anything stronger than 2
percent, there's a good chance the person isn't Asian.
Listen carefully when either of them are on the phone to their parents. An
easy giveaway would be the use of first names. Example: "Hi Steve (dad) can
I talk to (sister) Gloria?" OK, so you say what if their parents are
divorced and they're talking to their step-dad? If they were really Asian,
they would still refer to their step-dad as Uncle. It would be "Hi Uncle
Steve can I talk to Gloria?" Another sign would be the use of profanity. The
F or S word would get a serious ear grabbing by mom. If they use any
profanity while on the phone with their parents, there is a 98 percent
chance they ain't Asian.
Dear UberAsian: Chopsticks, Wood or Plastic? And I was thinking about tinting my hair, what color do you suggest and what will my parents think?
Confused in Barstow, Calif.
You are confused. It aint just wood, it's bamboo. I know some yuppie Asians prefer those new ceramic composites, but UberAsian prefers ivory. It's better balanced. You'll see the advantage when you're in one of those big ass Chinese dinners. For those non-Chinese types, a big ass Chinese dinner involves about 10 relatives violating all those rules that are so popular in the West: Talking with your mouth full and chop-sticking food out off the dishes. We don't use special spoons. It's just a mad free for all of food grabbing. Plastic, while lighter doesn't perform as well as bamboo. Ivory gives you a 12 percent advantage in grabbing cashews or those shrimp chips before they disappear.
Hair tinting? That's been out since pop-up head lights on cars and thin New Wave lapels. You might as well still have that Miami Vice look from 1985. In expected Asian fashion, your parents are going to flip. They'll probably yank on your ear and grandma will want to rub a hardboiled egg and silver coin on your back to get the evil spirits out. If you have to tint, tint it black.