When I was eleven I took a summer’s worth of lessons in tae kwon do. It was a good time; it was the first time I ever felt as though I had a chance of—well, not defending myself, but giving a few licks before I was pummeled to the ground (yes, I got picked on a fair bit back then). I can no longer remember the instructor’s name, but I do remember that he was a sixth degree black belt who’d spent 14 years on the Seoul police force. Funny, the things I remember.
I also remember this thing he did. He’d come up to you and say ‘I’m going to hit your left ear’ or ‘your right shoulder’ or whatever. You were supposed to defend yourself. Or at least I think that was the point. No-one ever managed to, that I ever saw.
When he said ‘I’m going to hit you in the forehead,’ that’s exactly what he meant. It wasn’t a warning, really. It was more in the way of a prophecy. Your forehead was going to get thwacked, and there wasn’t a damn thing you could do about it, though it was good form to at least try.
That’s what the last two weeks have been like.
I saw (or rather felt) it coming. I knew the signs: anxiety, short temper, loss of apetite, apathy. I prepared; I got the prescription filled and took the medication faithfully. But resisting it is like resisting an avalanche.
So, to my (now former) coworkers, I would like to say I’m sorry for any additional work that has fallen on your shoulders, and you’re a great group of people. But I’ve got to take care of myself right now.
I’ll see you in the funny papers.