The Legend of Strong Dick April 6, 2009Posted by jorkat in Seoul.
Don’t be alarmed by the title. This post is suitable for all ages. I think.
We started a tradition a few weeks ago. Part of it was intentional and the rest was a glorious coincidence.
A few of our fellow teachers told us about a trivia night that a predominantly western bar in Itaewon holds once a week. Itaewon is known for being home to the US Army base and to Dan Suranyi for 4 years while he was in high school. The place is crawling with foreigners and obviously caters to this demographic with everything from American restaurants to cheap suits and counterfeit merchandise. This is also the place where Mullin found the jersey store which we visited within days of arriving in Korea. Any counterfeit major sports jersey for approx. $25.
Back to trivia. So every Thursday evening, this bar which is jointly owned by a Canadian and a Kiwi holds a team trivia contest with four random categories. There’s 10 questions per category and you can have as many people on your team as you like. Cell phones are also strictly prohibited so no one calls a friend sitting at home on the internet. It’s pretty competitive with a fairly regular crowd and a waiting list just to get a decent table. Our friends have been going every week for awhile and have only won a couple times. First prize is…wait for it…3 pitchers of beer. They also have the occasional random bonus question for a free beer which I won a couple weeks ago for knowing who Lou Gehrig replaced to play first base on the New York Yankees. None other than the immortal Wally Pip. If you know the answer, you have to run up to the front of the bar. Needless to say, no one else moved.
On our way to our first trivia night, our friend Kirsten told us about a pita place nearby where we could grab a quick bite as we hadn’t had dinner yet. It was just like pita pit only better because it was so unassuming and unexpected. We made a pact that trivia Thursdays would always start with a pita.
After our first night of trivia we were about to leave when fate intervened and the winning table donated one of their pitchers to our table. At this point, I informed Katie and Kirsten that we were no longer leaving and that I was going to play pool, drink some free beer and then buy some more. Over 2 hours after we had originally planned on leaving, we exited the bar and hailed a cab.
Our lives would be forever changed.
Enter Strong Dick.
The cab ride started off normal enough. The driver noticed that we spoke english and joined the conversation. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I remember being impressed by his english and that the conversation was brief as he decided to crank my favourite Eminem song and roll down the windows. We rocked out to “Without Me” the rest of the way home in what was arguably one of the greatest cab rides home from the bar. This is when the story gets good.
As we’re exciting the cab, he hands each one of us his business card.
As you may recall from one of my previous posts, some Koreans are known to adopt an english name. Some of them are assigned and some of them make up their own. This guy chose Strong Dick.
After getting over the initial shock and the laughter had subsided I thanked him again for the ride and told him we’d call him next Thursday. We had a good laugh about it with the other teachers at school the next day and hung his card on our fridge thinking we’d never see him again.
A few days later Kirsten was telling one of her friends about our experience when the friend cut her off mid-sentence and said “Let me guess – Strong Dick”. Apparently this guy is a legend around Itaewon and is known for his cheap cab rides, his loud music…and for selling Viagra. Could this story get any better?
Fast forward to next Thursday. As we’re walking out of trivia (we finished second and were awarded one free pitcher) I jokingly start yelling out “Strong Dick!!! Strong Dick!!! We need you!!!” We were about to jump into a cab when fate intervened once again and Katie decided that she wanted some McDonald’s french fries. It was just down the street so we decided to walk on over. Keep in mind that Itaewon is swarming with cabs around this time, especially along the main strip where we were. I’m talking about hundreds and hundreds of cabs. As we approach the McDonald’s, we overhear a guy say to the cab driver parked out front “You’re the man Strong Dick!” We lost our minds. It was him. Turns out that Strong Dick had agreed to wait for this guy to go inside and get some food so he could get a ride home with his favourite cab driver. We pleaded with Strong Dick and the guy to let us join them and both were more than willing to oblige.
We got our ride home with Strong Dick for the second straight week. Pita. Trivia. Strong Dick. It was like clockwork.
So this past Thursday marked the third straight week of Trivia. I was feeling under the weather and opted to stay home and write a novel about Tiger Woods while Katie, Kirsten and a few other teachers made the trek to trivia.
I insisted that Katie bring 2 things. His card and our camera. Sure enough she called him at the end of the night and here’s how the conversation went:
Strong Dick: “Hello!”
Katie: “Strong Dick?”
Strong Dick: “Wassssup?”
Katie: “Hi, it’s Katie. Can you pick us up at the Hamilton Hotel?”
Strong Dick: “No problem, I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”
Katie: “Ok, we’ll be waiting. See you soon.”
So just to recap, we’ve befriended a black market Viagra salesmen who drives a cab, listens to hip hop and calls himself Strong Dick.