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plasma
03-21-2009, 10:31 AM
As a young kid, I loved Chinatown. I spent time wandering through the crowded streets and alleys.....I grew up in a strict culturally traditional and religious home, even though genetically these weren't my people; I felt more at home in Chinatown, than in my own community. My dad was a badass when he was alive. He survived by outsmarting a gang of adult ****'s as an 8 year old "drek-Juden" marked for death in Berlin, (before escaping to Brooklyn).... when I was a kid he would shout rude/humorous/insulting offensive remarks to the traditional Rabbis and Black Coat and Peyote (weird curly extra long sideburns) wearing "catterpillars" (as he called them) in our neighborhood... they knew he payed his dues and was a thousand times more spiritual than them without trying to be. This made me an outsider in my community though....
the back streets of Chinatown were mazes I escaped to; i enjoyed the endless sounds of Dominoes smacking against the tables and the Dim Sum Sesame Balls, custard tarts and Red Bean Moon cakes were cheap, filling and delicious...streets flooded with old women carrying bags with living chickens and Bok Choi, single bedroom apartments filled with a family of 10; bookstores with 25 cent martial arts manuals and gift shops with 39 cent bamboo brushes and Sumi ink, free random martial arts lessons from authentic and friendly elderly masters in the Park...it was a safe, colorful and delicous world to explore and get lost in; for a day....
In a back alley; as a young akward pre pubescent geeky tennis addict; I remember seeing a stack of PRINCE BORONS at one gift store, they were all Brand New! What shocked me was the price: 49$ (fourty nine) each!!! Being so young there was no way I could ever afford them unless I waited for decades. Sometimes I would go there just to look and touch. I would take out the racquets and inspect them; I guess as a child it was cool to fantasize about things that I could not afford or attain...

Prince Boron originally sold for $500 each retail when they were produced, and are worth much more than that now, so every few years or so, when I'd remember, I would go back and try to find the alley in Chinatown, near the hair salon and the Choy Li Fut kung fu school, the one that once had seven lucky new Prince Borons...most of the time I couldn't find it...to the point where I actually questioned if I imagined its existence...
I remember it as a perfume and luggage store but they also sold these 7 prince Borons, which literally sat there for well over a decade, amidst fake Boucheron, Givenchy, and Tumi. Decades later I would seem to randomly find the shop, looking in every now and then, to see if the Borons were a memory I had created, or if the store had been taken over by new management, or was perhaps now a totally different store, or a series of edited memories...???
A few times when I would find the store; upon questioning the employees about the racquets, the young women there laughed at me as if I was insane, yet I faintly remembered it, once there was Boron there. Recently I got sick of eating "Hot Pockets", and ventured to Chinatown's Dim Sum district, got lost; and found the store again.
This time I took my final stance..."Ni Ho N-ya, Boron Eh?" I said to the three lovely sales women...in my Plasmanese dialect
"Are you crazy?" the young woman asked, laughing with her sisters, .."What is b-Bo-ron?.... What do you want???"
"Tennis Racquet!" I shouted
"I WAN'T TENNIS RACKET!!!!!"
"we do not sell tennis racquets". the lovely woman replied (perhaps over-emphatically) as if I were demanding her dignity, innocence or purity...
The women laughed at me excessively, as if I were standing naked in the freezing cold...until a small portly man emerged from a back room, bringing with him bowed heads and silence... he shouted at the young women: "wo chien on tet woda tennis ra-kuh,... ungh?!?!"
The women were momentarily silent and their heads were fearfully bowed; eyes fixed to the floor.
"One second , Father" the all said in unison and ran to the Back with heads still bowed in traditional Kow Tow.
"Ha ha,...One momen Shir, please; you wait" the old gentleman said. he continued to laugh and muse to himself "ungh, tennish rack-uh...theh-nhis, rack-ugh, hah, hah!, ungh, hmpph!" as if I should be ashamed to be purchasing such a feminine item....?????(this coming from the owner of a perfume store!)
With bowed heads the beautiful petite young maidens returned. Bosom-laded with the fragrant rich fresh milk of new oversize Prince Boron.
"...High Class" the old Master said "high class! high class...see?"...
he continued"...Don't make any more!...see?"
He took a few steps away and the maidens unzipped their soft brown leather satchels. Like glistening moist infant giraffes plummeting from their mothers womb, the shiny Borons dropped into the soft porcelain hands of the maidens, shimmering and glowing from a mysterious lucky reflection of a random ray of light entering the store. I inspected each flawlessly brand new Boron with awe. It was like a Sweedish supermodel undressing before me, I had to play it off and remain cool...
The eyes of the old Master were sharp and wise, they peered through to my innermost thoughts and intentions. Our eyes locked in a vicious staredown as he examined me in a Larry David like manner; judging my very soul, inner child, and righteousness then and there, deciding if my intentions were worthy.
"$ 50 each, NO Return, NO Exchange" he Barked
I flinched; ...while choking and trembling I actually attempted to negotiate a better price.
"Thur,-Th- Thurty five, uh?" I trembled back...
"$50, NO Return, NO Exchange, I tell you, they don't make any more...see?"
F-f-f-Fourty?" I replied, "I would, like ALL please sir"
"ok" he said, you take all, 35 Each, but
NO Return, NO Exchange, See???"
As I walked briskly from the store the family reminded me once again, this time in unison,
" NO Return, NO Exchange!"
i bowed my head to the old Man and his beautiful daughters, to their ancestors, and to their children, keeping my head bowed (traditional custom, see?) as they all patted/slapped me on the back for luck.
"Doh Che" I said as I bowed a traditional Kow Tow again once again in thanks, hands and feet together, eyes looking downward.....
(true story)
http://i39.tinypic.com/119zbzo.jpg
5 have been traded 2 golden virgins remain, untouched, pure, innocent, born of a sacred river in Asia which is said to flow with "Golden Milk"...
http://i41.tinypic.com/abo5j4.jpg

Capt. Willie
03-21-2009, 11:48 AM
Seems to me we have been waiting for this Boron story for several weeks, maybe months now. Anyway, what did you get in return for the five you traded?

Capt. Willie
03-21-2009, 11:48 AM
Oh, and did they come with the leather covers?

Capt. Willie
03-21-2009, 11:59 AM
Plasma was Bo-ron fighting
His bats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But he hit with expert timing

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

plasma
03-21-2009, 12:34 PM
these days, anyone who doesn't cover up is an idiot. Sheepskin; I mean calfskin covers are the softest and feel best, although they might not offer the complete protection that modern synthetic covers do. I personally think all modern covers are too tight and too small, even though they come in slick colors and designs; maybe that's too personal for this forum though...
http://i42.tinypic.com/jja4yd.jpg

maybe I'm being overly ambitious by trying to squeeze my balls in there too!

joe sch
03-22-2009, 06:42 AM
Great story Plasma ! Im glad you stated true otherwise I would have my doubts :) Im also interested to find out what you got in return for those trades ? I suspect it would take a virgin st vincent or 200g for your remaining spare.

plasma
03-22-2009, 11:53 AM
I could post an obscene picture of the immaculate stack, the precious un-cut 3 kilos of pure racquets that I traded the Golden Borons for. But even cooler are the people who I met and still regularly speak to through trading.

pshulam
03-23-2009, 08:07 PM
plasma,

Nice story. We like to visit Chinatown whenever we have a chance to visit San Francisco, LA, Chicago, NY, Vancouver, Toronto, and Oakland (where my mother lives).

plasma
03-24-2009, 11:54 PM
"Ni Hao?"- Hi, how are you?
"Nin Hao Ma?" Formal Mandarin version reserved for elders
Bowing- a traditional custom which displays respect and cultural and spiritual unity. Anyone can bow with great results all around!
...just make sure you make lots of noise in the restaurant and finish ALL of your soup. These are both highly important traditional signs of respect. Not finishing your soup is a disgraceful insult. Eating from ones rice bowl by using ones chopstick to place meat from the main dish atop the individual handheld ricebowl and shoveling it in like a starving vacuum is also traditional etiquette. Sticking your chopsticks right into the rice bowl like a dagger and leaving them there represents the sign of death mixed with flipping "the bird" (don't even go there). The head of the household should quietly order for the entire family. Not finishing anything which is served to you is a great and terrible insult to your hosts, who have worked so hard to make you happy (double happiness!). If someone offers to do a toast with wine it is considered a sign of the greatest honor and respect, and not just like a toast which westerners do almost every night. With many cultures showing emotion is akin to showing weakness, a toast is very emotional and important thing; consider it the greatest and rarest heartfelt display of affection and honor the importance of this cultural moment. Again it is sublte, yet loud explosive clanging noises are traditionally a sign of a good restaurant according to classical thought, so to be quiet and polite and eat small pithy western bites,by the by; is actually rude...chow down...it's chinatown!
"Zhai-zen" bye
"Zhiey Zhiez" Thanks (mandarin)
Plasmas "Emilee Post"

pshulam
03-25-2009, 11:05 AM
Plasma,
你好? (How are you?)
It appears that you are quite familiar with Chinese culture.
乾杯 (Cheer or toast!)

retrowagen
03-25-2009, 12:02 PM
"What the hell is happening in Chinatown?"

pshulam
03-25-2009, 04:01 PM
"What the hell is happening in Chinatown?"
Nothing except for good food.

Captain Haddock
03-29-2009, 08:22 AM
Plasma, you are one of a kind! I also found a similar treasure in the back of a Chinatown store in 1991, while on vacation in San Francisco: 3 brand new Yamaha Secret EX. I immediately grabbed them (they were $45 a piece!) and had them strung at Don Sherwood down the street. Since I know you'll ask: no, I no longer have them, unfortunately. I also know the feeling of passing up a rare opportunity to buy some cool frames in an unexpected place, and then becoming obsessed with finding them again years later. I have never experienced that kind of full-circle karma, though. There is poetic justice in the experience you describe.

racquetfreak
03-29-2009, 12:41 PM
"NO Return, NO Exchange, See???"
As I walked briskly from the store the family reminded me once again, this time in unison,
" NO Return, NO Exchange!"
i bowed my head to the old Man and his beautiful daughters, to their ancestors, and to their children, keeping my head bowed (traditional custom, see?) as they all patted/slapped me on the back for luck.
"Doh Che" I said as I bowed a traditional Kow Tow again once again in thanks, hands and feet together, eyes looking downward.....
(true story)"

Did they tell you to KEEP AWAY FROM WATER and DO NOT FEED AFTER MIDNIGHT?

plasma
03-30-2009, 11:12 AM
my Borons are soooo much cuter than the "Ma Gwai"...even Gizmo!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgXqaBgK1M8
http://i42.tinypic.com/2823wjo.jpg