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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Issue: Games: Lo Pan

A disturbingly long time ago I was a grommet in the City. One of my best buddies at the time was a Chinese grom that everybody called Lo Pan. The movie "Big Trouble in Little China" featured a crazy Chinese wizard ghost that had to marry a girl with green eyes to become corporeal. The crazy wizard ghost found two girls that fit the bill, and figured he may as well just wife up both.

Everybody called my buddy Lo Pan because like the wizard in the movie he pulled off double tricks like magic. He dialed salad to frontside flip outs at the pier 7 ledges when no one else thought it possible. And also he was crazy as fuck.

He was like a dervish, always, moving, talking, and laughing, especially at danger and misfortune. He was the type to skate 4 miles to the spot, throw down a 4 hour session, skate back home to Triple s (shit,shower,shave), head off to terrorize a show or rave all night, then wake up and do it all again.

His dad owned a restaurant up Cali st. over by Willie Woo Woo playground, and his family lived upstairs. I would ride over there to pick him up most mornings which was out of the way, but my reward was the best dim-sum I have ever had in my life. I skated with Lo a lot and was always broke, so the restaurant was like a second home for me.

His dad was just like him but different in that he was always moving and talking, but he only smiled or laughed when guests showed up, and never at us unless he actually meant it. Which only occurred on the few occasions we didn't let him down. he wanted Lo Pan to be interested in cooking, he wanted Lo to inherit the business because he was oldest, he wanted us both to work there, pleading that at the very least we would get spending cash for our puff puff (he would always pinch his fingers together to his lips when he said this), our jungle rap, or our street surfing.

He lectured us on responsibility, forever going on about how Chinese Americans had been marginalized in the City since the gold rush, and how Lo's generation was going to fuck it up for everybody because they think they are Gwai Lo now.

He would look at me and say, "And my brotha... what's goin on?" then he would shake his head dismissively while singing that old Marvin Gaye song. He truly believed he could sing, he said that he could have been a professional singer in China if he didn't have to leave, but the American ear wasn't refined enough to appreciate his tone and pitch. We were pretty sure all the heat from that kitchen had made him crazy.

The new Mayor of the city looks a lot like Lo's dad, not in a racist all "Asians look alike" way, more in the way he smiles.        


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