I have always wanted to write this book since I was an aspiring journalism student at the University of Texas, Austin campus, USA. Many moons ago. Many anecdotes in this memoir are recreated, some are revised, and they are not intended as an objective recording of actual events. Only the juiciest or salacious parts got served to whet my guests’ appetites at small, intimate dinners at my American home in Puyallup, Washington. Invariably they begged for more. Not the food, but the juices. This was in addition to char siu (Chinese barbecue), hot sweet-sour-egg-drop soup, fried green beans, and white rice. Of course, some names in the stories have been changed for obvious reasons.
CRAZY AMERICANS is about the Americans, some “being out of the ordinary” by words or deed, I met on the stage of my life. It’s also a story of self-discovery; that I could be one of the crazy Americans I first encountered in my life’s journey from a poor Chinese village back to American soil.
The skeleton of this particular literary exercise is absolutely true to the core of its bone. I am not fluent in lying or faking something. Friends said I’d never be an effective politician. However, like the contemporary movie-making industry—Bollywood or Hollywood or Moneywood—I will go after special effects or embellishments (like adding blood and flesh and extra padding?), wherever necessary, feasible, and conscionable, to add color, sound, vivacity, brilliance, excitement, magnetism, and sheer realism to my authentic composition.
I remember it was the celebrated French chef extraordinaire Julia Child who shocked and delighted the bored, jaded American housewives when, on a national television show, she injected with abandonment fats into bloody meats because oven-roasted lean meats, she proclaimed, lacked the smooth, delicious, juicy texture every male stomach yearned for. One sure way, we all know, to get close to his stomach, if not his heart. Lean meats, without visible marbling, are not delectable to your taste, she would preach unabashedly to anyone, claiming to be a consummate cook, or a voracious eater in America!
But how far will I go with the so-called special effects to achieve my desired goals? How much “fats” am I willing to inject into my lean anecdotes? Wait and see. Most writers would like you to believe we don’t really know where the book will lead us…I wonder what motivates a writer to write, using a yellow pad or a computer. A Chinese sage might say: what is the purpose of writing with head but no tail. Hmm!
I remember a 60 Minutes episode about a country in South America where both the young and the not so young went under the knife because plastic surgery, free or subsidized in that generous country, was the guaranteed ticket to better or higher paying jobs. I remember I was repulsed instantaneously by a few, new, finished faces that appeared rubbery, tight, distorted, fake, and, worse, were now seemingly devoid of elasticity, youthfulness, tone, and color that one expects from a normal, seductive, charming face—one that is soft and smooth to human caresses.
Neither can I erase from memory one Sunday afternoon when a wealthy old lady (senior citizen, sir) took me to lunch in a country restaurant after a church service somewhere in rural Texas, her way, I presume, of showing she cared for a visiting, emaciated-looking, starving foreign student. She was sweet and charming and soaked in exotic perfume. She was a true Christian, in my eyes. I thought she was practicing her Spanish (Texas was once a part of Mexico, did you know that?) when she casually introduced me as “He is my gigolo for today” to her many curious, prying old friends at the rustic diner.
Gigolo was as adorable as savory hors d’oeuvres, but utterly Greek to me. Of course, I was cute and charming and young and irresistible then (for heaven’s sake, I was a hot, virile, desirable, college freshman!), but I didn’t know what the word gigolo meant, but surely sounded musical to my years. I was fresh in America. All the heads turned—like those tall, wobbly sunflowers bewitched by the sun—to my presence, as we slowly meandered through the diner to our table. I did my innocent waves and a few perfunctory nods, like a pope or a celebrity in a parade.
I remember thinking as we sat down face to face, dear lady, who the hell in the world did your face or make-up! Her eyebrows were unevenly painted. One higher and less curved than the other. She must have had an inch thick of some perfumed rouge, with two distinct patches of something red or pink on her cheeks. Her sight (or make-up) was unsettling to me. Most faces—not hers—achieve near perfection and perfect symmetry on the magazine covers you would spy at grocery check-stands. Thank Allah it did not mar my taste for the mashed potatoes and the chicken-fried steaks. I loved thick gravy—southern gravy, the kitchen announced.
Every woman, I said to myself, should learn how to age gracefully from America’s beloved actress Helen Hayes. My host could learn something from her, to restore some of her natural skin color and radiance, and sanity, in her golden years.
What did I know? I was not a veteran Hollywood make-up artist. I questioned my authority.
That evening back at my apartment, I immediately consulted my most trusted and respected friend, distinguished lexicographer Noah Webster, and he indicated a gigolo is “a man supported by a woman usually in return for his attention” or a male escort. What? That stinky old bag! How dare she degrade and parade me—innocent as a babe—in front of a gaggle of country bumpkins? I became fresh fuel for the cheap rumor-monger mill. Old hag!
So, who am I? Or, what am I? A newly-decorated, self-righteous gigolo?
Kurt Vonnegut was “…at the top of his form,” Newsday proclaims, when he wrote “They can take a flying fuck at the moooooooooooooooon,” blasting with the force of sixteen “o’s” at the University of Chicago, for rejecting his master’s thesis in anthropology (Palm Sunday, Delacorte Press, 1981). You see, Mr. Vonnegut happens to be my literary hero, someone worthy of emulation, especially his zaniness and irreverence, which make his writings so titillating to me. Except I am a Mr. Nobody, no kin to Mr. Vonnegut by any stretch of your imagination, unless he had Chinese blood coasting through his veins.
In conclusion, yes, I will use the special effects as far as they will allow me to preserve my original voice, my personal integrity, and the truth about my eventful life. I will definitely use the special effects as an enticement or bribery to get you to read the rest of the book and spread this personal tale—peppered with fine grains of human endeavors, sweats and tears, joy and sadness, eye-opening experiences, and hopes—to those who are less adventurous and enlightened than you are.
You are my sunshine!
Enjoy your literary adventure!
我一直想写这本书，这念头从我作为一名美国德克萨斯大学有着远大理想的新闻专业的学生就开始了。许久以前，很多过往轶事重现脑海，在这部回忆录中有许多轶事被再现 ，有些是经过修改的，我没打算把这些修改过的作为一个客观的记录。唯有那些最妙趣横生或有点色情的部分是用来招待来我家中用餐的客人，时不时的调调他们的胃口。无独有偶，他们总是乞求更多，绝非食物，而是鲜美的果汁。除了叉烧 （中国烧烤），还有西红柿蛋汤、炒青豆、白米饭等。当然，由于种种原因这些故事中有些名字已经改变了。
疯狂的美国人（CRAZY AMERICANS）是关于美国人的，我生活的舞台中的那些言语和行动上都标新立异的人。 同时，我也在该书中重视自我；我本人可以说的算是我生命历程中见到的第一个疯狂的人，一个来自贫瘠农村的中国人踏上了美国的征程。
但是带着所谓的特殊效应，我还要走多远才能实现我理想的目标？多少“ 油脂”我愿意注入到我的琐碎轶事？ 拭目以待。大多数作家想让你相信我们真的不知道这本书将引导我们去哪……，我想知道让一位作家去写作和创造的动机到底是什么。有圣人可能会说：凡事用脑子想，而不是脚趾头。自己领悟吧！
那天晚上，我回到公寓后立即咨询了我最值得信赖和尊敬的朋友-著名的词典编纂者诺亚.韦伯斯特，他表示舞男指的是一名被女人包养并以殷勤照顾作为回报的男人或者男性保镖。 听完我便骂道： 什么？ 这该死的臭老太婆！ 他胆敢在一群乡巴佬面前这样侮辱我，就像一无辜的小孩，我成了流言蜚语的导火索。老巫婆！