If you think about an iconic representation of the Korean culture, surely the first thing that comes to most people's minds is kimchi. If you thought of K-pop, I'm pretty sure you were born after 1990. But that's ok, it's awesome that there is now more than one plausible answer to this. Back in the day, this question could qualify to be a Final Jeopardy answer. The only thing that people would be able to come up with is M*A*S*H, which oddly enough, had no Koreans in the cast. All the Korean characters were played by Japanese folks. But hey, back in the day, it was all the same, so what's the big deal, right? Anyway, back to kimchi. Some would say that you can't possibly have a Korean meal without kimchi. Even for breakfast? Yes, even for breakfast. I wrote about how culturally jarring Korean breakfasts are earlier, go read about what qualifies for a normal Korean breakfast. If you are too lazy to click on the link, I'll give you a helpful hint of what Koreans eat in the morning: fucking everything. They haven't lived in enough luxury yet to delineate dining experiences into very distinct and different food concoctions. So yes, kimchi is pretty much omnipresent whenever there is a chance to stick something into your mouth if you are of Korean heritage.
Apparently because Koreans eat so much of this dish, the nation is poised to be the first country in the world to have an expected life span surpassing 90. There is good news and bad news on that front. It's only the Korean women who are expected to reach that median life expectancy. Korean men, ehhhh, not so much. Korean men will be 6 years behind, still coming in at first place for the male side, though. I think my favourite non-obscene joke of all time is:
Q: Why do men die before women?
A: Because we want to.
Maybe those six years that the women will be without men will be the best years of their lives. Who knows, but at this point in time, I am more than happy to have women outlive men because living to the age of 90 absolutely horrifies me. It would mean that at 44, my life isn't even halfway over, and that is just simply too long to be on this planet. I can't blog another 46 years, people. But this did get me thinking about something a wee bit peculiar. As adoptees, I think the vast majority of us have mostly non-Korean friends. If we're all eating kimchi, the chances that all of our friends dying before us is pretty high. So either light up a cigarette and start eating something cooked in lard, or start making more Korean friends. Or do the unthinkable, stop eating kimchi.
Thankfully I have enough bad habits in my life that the chance that I reach 84 is almost as high as Trump voluntarily releasing his tax returns. But just in case, maybe the next time we go to H-Mart, I'll put the jar of kimchi back on the aisle and pick up another carton of cigarettes, instead. OR, even better idea, we could get the people that we care about to eat more kimchi! Half of them will happily do it, and the other half will start to question if we really do care about them because they think it tastes so bad. I want my non-Korean friends to hang out with me just as much as I want my new-found Korean buddies to stick around.
This post was brought to you by the US-South Korea Kimchi Kounsel: Every cabbage is better pickled and fermented!