“I’m not drunk, I’m lame.”

Christmas day was spent at the Cinematheque, with Amy and Blythe, admiring Paul Newman’s 36-year-old body in the “The Hustler.” After viewing characters with such severe personality issues thus romanticized, I left the theater feeling pretty good about myself.

I received a number of wonderful gifts, none of which were from my friends. The subway newspaper vendor, a charming man with significant physical impairments, presented me with the day’s two English newspapers (The Korean Herald and The Korean Times) free of charge. At midnight, the local sweet potato vendor refused to accept my won, providing me a bagful of fire-roasted ambrosia compliments of the house and the words “Merry Christmas” in English. I still feel warm and fuzzy about these presents.

As I left the subway station at night to crawl into my studio, I realized that it had begun to snow.

I finished the day, at home, with an enormous portion of 단팥죽 with cinnamon and a pile of deliciously-caramelized sweet potatoes.

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