How To Tell If You're Chinese

Or a Jew from NY.

See, I'm half Italian, from Brooklyn (in fact, I grew up across the street, on Pine Street, from Henry Hill. You know, the "Goodfellas" guy. The Kennedy Airport heist). But this doesn't make me Chinese. Or a Jew.

About being an Italian Jew from NY. This is actually pretty simple to explain. See, many many years ago, I had an academic advisor. She was a Jew from Staten Island. One day, she was complaining about being a Jewish mother, and I was complaining about my mother, who was an Italian from Brooklyn. My advisor, who I'll call "Laurie" (because that's her name) laughed and said "it's the same thing."

After that, I married a Chinese woman, and things got a bit more complicated. Not how you might think, though. Chinese women are very Jewish and very Italian, in the sense that they will drive you crazy, because once you marry them, they think they've become your mother.

For example, she wants to feed me. Constantly. I've pointed out to her that I'm in my mid 60s, and I'm not dead yet, and she laughs as if this has just occurred to her. And then she cooks something else.

I have to say that I've confused a few Asians who thought I am Chinese. Now, how does this happen? you may well ask. I know you asked, silently, because I heard you. I also work for the NSA.

You see, I'm Swedish. So how do I get mistaken for a Chinese? Well, there are a couple of things to consider. First, I have Scandinavian eyes, and also I'm fairly thin. By "thin" I mean that I'm 5'9" and weigh maybe 140 at most. So that automatically means that I'm probably not a Westerner. But my eyes, MY EYES. Scandinavians, and Laplanders, and Icelandic people, have eyes with heavy lids. This is typically because, as in my case, we are generally drunk. But we often get mistaken for Asians, who look like us whether they are drunk or sober.

Here's just one example. A few years ago, when my wife (who actually is Chinese, as far as I can tell) and I were first looking to buy a house (OK; this is getting complicated, because I've only bought one house, being a Northeasterner and therefore a dedicated renter. Buying a house is not simple, and I relied on my wife, who is a RE agent and broker in Wisconsin, and our own agent, who was an idiot, and worked in RE only because her mother owned the business).

Where was I? Oh. I looked at a house owned by a family from India. At one point, the man (his family wasn't there, probably due to issues of spiritual pollution) turned to me and asked,

"Where are you from?"

I said,

"New York."

He said,

"But where are you really from?"

Now, at this point I got very confused.

So I said,

"New York. The city."

And then he said

"You don't look like an American."

I could have said

"Well, you don't either. But you are. Because we have the Statue of Liberty and all the rest of that stuff."

As I may have mentioned, my wife is from Hunan. This is where Mao came from. My wife's father was abused, publicly humiliated, tortured, and otherwise subjected to things he didn't deserve.

So, my family, Italian, Swedish, and Chinese, are here for all the same reasons.

If you hate being alone for even a few minutes, then you are Chinese. Or maybe Italian. I don't know what's happening with the Sandinavians.

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