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Sunday, January 2, 2011


There once was a young man who became a delinquent for the sake of his health.

His father had sold his libido to an old man that he had met in passing at a Pachinko gift-exchange station. In return, he got two packs of Mild Sevens, a tin of roasted seaweed, a toy car that changes directions when it hits walls, two grapefruit, and a plastic draw-string tote-bag with a picture of a steam locomotive running valiantly across the plains of Hokkaido. That last one wasn't really something that the young man's father had asked for.  

"How generous," thought the young man's father. Not only had the old man given him those gifts, but he also received Keiko Takeshita's latest album, a Dunhill lighter, a tin of rice crackers, and some Golden Blend NescafĂ© along with sugar cubes.

The father had figured that his son's libido was only worth around four tins of roasted seaweed. At first he was suspicious that the old man would suddenly bring up an even larger request in exchange for the additional items, but he felt relieved when he saw him turning around to wash his hands with liquid soap, then going up the stairs. 

There are a lot of people who have won more pachinko balls than that old man, but few could be said to have matched his level of grace and refinement. Those who merely take their balls and selfishly exchange them for gifts lack any sort of personal philosophy. The young man's father tried to ponder such things, but in doing so his head began to hurt, so he just gave an admiring "Yep" and smiled.

An entire week had passed since that day, but the young man still had no idea that his own father had sold off his libido.  

Seeing absolutely no change in his son, the father became more and more concerned.

He tried asking his son about it in a roundabout way. 

The son, not really understanding the meaning of the question, shouted "Kiyomi's a fine girl!" and threw an ashtray into the TV. 

            They had only moved into the house four years ago, but if there had been a Top 10 list for loud voices heard in that house, the son's yell with the sound of the cathode-ray tube exploding would have certainly taken 1st or 2nd place.

Having heard the racket, the delinquent son's mother returned home holding a several month-old infant in her arms. The father was concerned, but he warmly welcomed her back.

Another week passed, and the mother asked her healthily delinquent son about his libido.

"I dunno what yer talkin' about," shouted the son in a not-quite-so-loud voice and without throwing anything.

            The father heard about their conversation from the mother and thought to himself: "Maybe I'll look for that old man again and sell my whole family's libido."

- i

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