Today is the first day (or second, or third, I'm not entirely sure - whatever the facts, it's early on) of the year of the Ox. You probably know this already since for whatever reason the Chinese New Year is always presented as a piece of big news. I don't have a problem with that per se, but it seems like other New Years (and there are loads of them) don't get half the coverage. Anyway, that aside, I am very pleased that this is the Year of the Ox, for historical reasons.
There now follows a story from my past which may upset people for a number of reasons. Some may be offended by the schmaltzy dredging up of old reminiscences. Some may be shocked to learn that I am not, as everyone may suspect, entirely perfect and above the law. Others still may be perturbed to learn that, despite appearances to the contrary from my writing ability, I actually did go to University. Who knows? Anyway, without further ado, and with my fingers firmly crossed in the hope that the statute of limitations on some of the revelations contained herein has passed (and typing with your fingers crossed is quite challenging, let me tell you), here goes.
When I was a student (an undergraduate student, that is, since I've done more studenting since then), I occasionally indulged in a spot of smoking. And by smoking here, I don't mean an after-dinner Gitane or a post-coital Marlboro, but something a tad less legal. And by "occasionally" here, I actually mean something like almost incessantly. I hope you've got the picture.
Anyway in my third and final year, I lived on campus in a kind of shared kitchen arrangement with a number of other students, some of whom were first-years. Somehow, one of the friends of one of these first-years, learned that perhaps I might have once in a while on a special occasion have a small puff or two on a joint. Anyway, he wanted to know where he could source some of Morocco's finest export, and so he naturally ended up approaching me. However, much as it amuses me to imagine it these days, I may have intimidated him slightly (apart from being the old hand, I was obviously living a life of crime), and he approached me by shoving a letter under my door. Now here I must now explain that for reasons connected to my surname, for many years in my school and latterly university life I was known by the nickname "Hox". So, this note appears under my door addressed to "The Ox". Obviously this lad had decided that I was some big time gangster drug-dealer and had assumed that what he'd heard to be my name was actually a big-time-gangster-drug-dealer alias.
You might be surprised to learn that this event caused great hilarity among my circle and among a number of people I indeed became "The Ox". In fact my oldest friend still calls me The Ox.
So, anyway the upshot of all this, is that it being the year of "The Ox" is (or ought to be) very propitious for me. And I fully expect to be overwhelmed with good fortune and health happiness and whatever else Chinese people get in good years.
(Final note to the police: The events depicted here happened over 20 years ago. And, anyway, I could have made them up. So there.)