Dear Inquisitive Stranger,
The Truffle Mushroom Bao is loaded and fully prepared to fire its weapon.
As my teeth sink into the cloud of fluffy steamed bun and fleshy mushrooms, the taste of decadence detonates upon my taste buds.
If the forbidden apple tasted this good, I can see why Eve weighed it in favour of a lifetime ban from paradise. I have sampled from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and life will never be the same again.
Time stands still.
The wallop of supreme tastiness wrangles my brain into primal survival mode as every cell in my body turns attention to the heavyweight flavour. My speech filtration service takes temporary leave, thereby granting an unusual choice of words to gush from the lips of a person living their day-to-day in the 21st century.
In all my years walking this earth, I’m fairly confident this is their first usage in this word order. Neither has a living soul uttered them since little Janey Plimpton’s pigtails leaped as high as her eyebrows upon witnessing Elvis Presley gyrating his hips on the Ed Sullivan Show.
After debating the frequency of the use of this phrase in the last half century, the next obvious question is:
Perhaps she is married to Gordon Bennett who works with Joe Bloggs. They have three children, Tom, Dick and Harry, and live down the road from Bob, their uncle. These rascal brothers are no longer friends with Billy, leaving him with no mates. Simon says there is no way Jose the siblings will abide by Murphy and his law as they couldn’t give a sweet Fanny Adams about taking the Mickey, even if it is for Pete’s sake. One thing everyone agrees on; the neighbourhood doesn’t give a stuff about keeping up with the Joneses. Nobody remembers why they were put in charge of setting the standards.
Who are these people that have been littering idioms for decades, or in some cases, centuries?
After conducting a little Google digging, that I call ‘credible research’, my line of inquiry reveals some of these names belonged to real people with real stories. So ingrained in everyday language, these folks have been dehumanized to mere words. Their names used without the consideration that once upon a time, were people, just like you and me.
They have become anonymous.
In an age of self-promotion and rise of the ‘Influencer’, invisibility does not look like a win. Yet, some incredible life-changing actions have taken place without the toot of one single horn.
I consider the historical event that taught me the meaning of anonymity.
It’s 1989. Zigzags adorn knitwear, Danny Devito discovers the ex-Mr Universe is his twin and China is rolling out the military to fight pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square. A man in a white shirt carrying 2 shopping bags steps in front of a line of tanks thereby halting their advance. Almost 30 years after Tank Man was hustled away and never heard from again, he remains an anonymous global hero of resistance against suppression. For 8 year old me, the infamous image of an unknown freedom fighter was a lesson about courage and anonymity.
Honour is an action, not a name.
Taking anonymous action is well understood by one man who lived a secret alter-ego for 20 years. By day, Father Sergio Benitez was a compassionate priest who founded an orphanage in a run-down Mexican town. By night, the padre pulled on a mask to become Fray Tormenta, lucha libre wrestler extraordinaire!
Sergio’s motivation for wrangling sweaty men was to raise funds to keep the orphanage running. Early in his incognito career, the priest’s luchador salary was a pittance but as his following grew, so did his income. The orphanage was able to thrive and the destitute children in his care were able to build lives as doctors, lawyers, accountants and teachers. After 2 decades of wearing his yellow and red mask, the wrestler’s true identity was discovered. Despite the secret life of a flashy showman, it was Father Benitez’s anonymous fundraising to help children out of poverty that made this man a real class act.
So the lesson here is that being classy is not tantamount to being flashy. Dad taught me how to spot a class act:
My darling Stranger, the truth of our actions does not necessarily need to be broadcast. Let’s stay classy by dropping the showy song and dance routine.
In the meantime, I do recommend you try the very showy Truffle Mushroom Bao at Bao Bar. It is well worth a lifetime ban from the Garden of Eden.
Peace, love and cha cha cha.
Bao Bar – beautiful buns
3F, 455-47 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan, Seoul.
Noksapyeong station, line 6, exit 2
Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 – 15:00 and 17:30 – 22:00
Anonymous people you frequently name drop.
Hello! This letter was released into the wild for a stranger to find at ‘Bao Bar’.
If you were the person to discover it, I would love to hear your thoughts on truffles, zigzag knitwear or anything your heart desires. Maybe you discovered this blog instead of a letter. Don’t be a stranger! Send your thoughts! Be anonymous or don’t – everyone is welcome here.
With sweetness and affection,