Thursday, March 19, 2015

So I Have a Fat Face

The summer I worked at Disney World, I was placed at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground. It was basically hell on earth. Imagine a humid, awful Florida summer outside, add ten degrees (the playground was HOT) and a ton of screaming kids to it. And does anyone even remember that movie? There's literally a "film canister" slide that the kids all call a battery because they have no idea what a film canister is. It was not ideal.

Disney placed a lot of international students/interns at my location because to be honest, you don't need to speak perfect English to work there. Your main job is to stop kids from climbing up the slide and close the playground for bad weather. 

Anyways, one of my coworkers was a sweet Chinese young man and I loved him for so many reasons. When Chinese interns come to work at Disney, it's typical for them to pick an American name for their name tag, because their names are so hard to pronounce and spell in English. He picked "Bruce." I loved him so much for picking that name. He could have picked any normal run of the mill name... but he chose Bruce and this just made so much sense to me.

Otherwise, Bruce was a mystery. His English wasn't perfect and he had a hard time understanding our cultural norms. My friend and I always tried to ask him questions about life at home in China and his family. What we gathered was they are VERY wealthy and he owned a bunch of homes. One time he made me authentic Chinese food. He was so cool.

One day Bruce and I were working at opposite ends of the playground. He was stationed at the front of the playground, near a small console that we used to accept calls from our break room or managers. I saw him take a call, then I turned my attention back to the maniacs careening down the "battery" slide right in front of me. 

Behind me, I could hear Bruce yelling something but couldn't quite make it out. I turned, eyes squinted at him as I shrugged to imply I didn't hear him. 

"HEY FAT FACE!" He yelled at the top of his lungs. "THERE'S A CALL FOR YOU!!!"

It took me about two seconds to realize that Bruce was referring to me and that he was, in fact, calling me fat face. All of the guests in the playground turned to look at me but all I could was laugh at Bruce's honesty and the fact that he had no idea that he was being so ridiculous rude to me. 

I later learned that in China, full cheeks are rare and considered beautiful. He was horrified when I told him that calling a woman "fat face" was extremely insulting, but since I thought it was so funny, he continued to use the nickname all summer. 

I love you Brucey. 

Playing at the park and visiting Bruce at work.

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