Dahyun Lee is my only Asian friend. He was my college roommate, as well as my most prominent travel companion during my semester abroad. With him, I have played guitar in Florentine gardens, napped on a rock in the Adriatic Sea, sprinted through the Leonardo Da-Vinci Fiumicino Airport, beheld churches with ceilings so vaulted that an atmosphere develops, watched a stark storm of sky recede from the Spanish shore, trudged until clothes were soaked through, backs plead for mercy, legs shook like tuning forks. We also played an exorbitant amount of ping pong. Of all the memories of that semester, none persist as pleasantly as the seamless nights under the singular, moth-pestered bulb of the Villa Natalia outdoor ping pong table. There, Dahyun and I engaged not only in competition, but in some of my life’s most sterling conversation. Our matches gave way to series, which gave way to series of series, and so on, and so forth. We never noticed. Our backdrop was gorgeous and inconsequential-sunsets of tasseled napalm fizzling out and bifurcating into lofty, starred night and a sprawling mess of electric city-but we played on, noticing and not noticing, reveling in the stark differences of the lives we’d led to that point, discussing everything discussable ad nauseam and back again. We played on until both of us silently acknowledged that there was little left to say, little enjoyment remaining in the game, and then we would nod at that misconception, and start right up again, undeterred.
Interview Series Day 20: Dahyun Lee
DL: When I was little, I wanted to be a paleontologist. So I went to all the museums of the world, sniffing different dinosaur vaginas. Ankylosaurus was definitely the worst.
CP:Where and when were you born? Where do you currently reside?
DL: I was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 18th 1989. I currently reside in Greenpoint Brooklyn. I’ve lived there my whole life, not like these hipster cocksuckers from Connecticut and Oklahoma.
Note: Die, and take your tumblrs and grainy pictures of vintage shoes with you.
CP: What is your first memory?
DL: My backyard. I think I was maybe four years old. There was a massive snowstorm the previous night, and I was playing in the snow wearing a poofy jacket with a huge Snoopy sewn onto the left breast. My older brother picked me up and pile-drived me into the snow. I cried and cried and cried, so hard. He always pile-drived me when I was young, for some reason.
CP: It’s a beautiful maneuver.
DL: I loved that jacket with the Snoopy on it…
CP: It sounds like a beautiful Snoopy jacket.
CP: What is your animus or power animal?
DL: Peregrine Falcon. Without a doubt. The fastest animal on Earth man.
CP: What was the sexiest piece of advice you ever received?
DL: Anticipation is everything.
CP: What is the last book you read and how did it affect you emotionally?
DL: Breakfast of Champions. His books aren’t that emotional. Just out there and existential. It did make me laugh. He uses the word nigger in really interesting ways.
CP: So it goes.
DL: So it goes.
The Sentence Completion Portion of the Interview
CP: My name is Dahyun Lee, whilst attending Sunday Mass, I hear a voice-distinctly not my own-inside my head, that says, “I am God, and you have exactly one minute to get everyone out of your neighborhood church before I strike everyone down with Force Lightning. I immediately ___________.
DL: I grab the hand…of the girl…I want to nut inside…the most. And we run the fuck out of there.
CP: My name is Dahyun Lee, my greatest philanthropic triumph was _______.
DL: I was in Cambodia, checking out the Temples at Angkor Wat, and a little girl-probably eight years old-comes up to me with big, pleading eyes and a stack of postcards and says, “Please mister, buy mister.” She was terribly cute. I gave her a dollar without taking any of the postcards. She looked so happy. Her name was Malice.
CP: My name is Dahyun Lee, in my previous life I was _________.
DL: Most likely a peasant, but I will say Caligula, or Hannibal, for my ego’s sake.
CP: My name is Dahyun Lee and I just won a billion Canadian dollars I’m totally going to______.
DL: Go to Antarctica. I always wanted to go there. Then I would just go scuba diving at all the best scuba diving places around the world.
CP: My name is Dahyun Lee, and if I could do one, non-sexual activity for the rest of my life, that activity would be ______.
DL: Movies man. I would watch movies.
The Basically Personal Questions Portion of the Interview
CP: What three classic arcade games best describe you?
DL: Pac-Man, because he’s healthy. He eats fruit. Asteroids. And Pong, because I am slanty-eyed.
CP:Do you believe in God? Why not?
DL: The question of whether he exists or not is not really important to me. I’m an apatheist. Sometimes I’m agnostic when I’m in a philosophical mood. I’m never really completely sure of anything. I think it’s really arrogant to say you know something, when you really don’t.
CP: It’s also, idiotic.
CP: What superstition do you love the most?
DL: If you touch it, you’ll go blind.
CP: What is your dream job (this excludes snuggle monster)?
DL: Traveling food critic, a la Anthony Bourdain.
CP: What aspect of the X-Games do you most envy and why?
DL: Is that like skateboarding? I don’t think I ever watched that show.
CP: It’s an extreme sports competition.
DL: The glory and crowd approval then, and sexy blonde girls with splendiferous bosoms.
CP: You have been elected The President of the United States in a landslide win over the other 4 billion Asians in the 2016 election. What policies would you enact? Which would you discontinue?
DL: I would help the minorities, reform the prisons so black and hispanic people stop getting incarcerated for every little thing, and give the Native Americans their fair share, in terms of economic assistance, education, and their respectful place in the history books. And end Columbus Day, the stupidest holiday ever.
CP: TAKE IT BACK.
DL: Nope. I won’t. We’re essentially celebrating genocide, rape, and plunder.
CP: Italians had to struggle to make it in this country. We didn’t have the railroad and math.
DL: Fuck the Italians. What about Native Americans?
Note: Imagine if Bronx Tale was about Native Americans.
CP: No one celebrates Columbus Day for Christopher Columbus. That suicidal moron was trying to sail off the end of the world. We celebrate Columbus Day for the fresh mozzarella.
Note: Imagine if we celebrated fresh maize-arella.
DL: It’s still his name, and his memory, sailing the blue in 1492.
CP: It should simply be changed to Italian-American Appreciation Forever Day, as it’s referred to in New Jersey.
DL: What about Native American appreciation?
CP: It’s called The Seminole Hard Rock Resort & Casino.
DL: Thanks for letting us steal your land, rape your women, and utterly obliterate your way of life to put up massive, tacky malls and suburbia.
Note: Imagine if Arcade Fire won Album of the Year for Disconcerting Assemblage of Tee-Pees.
CP: What woodwind instrument best describes you and why?
DL: I played the flute, for a few months a long time ago. So the flute?
CP: If given the option, would you trade lives with someone else? If so, who?
DL: Probably a Roman Emperor during Pax Romana.
CP: Three dinner guests, living or dead, who would they be?
DL: The Buddha would be cool. Siddhartha Gautama. Definitely Caligula and…Rasputin.
CP:Redo one moment in your life?
DL: I don’t remember this, but a long time ago my brother was tapped to appear on Sesame Street.
DL: I tagged along with my mother, and apparently there was a cat on set, and my brother is terribly allergic to cats. He got all bloated and red-eyed, and the director thought I looked good enough to be on Sesame Street, and asked if I would take the place of my brother. I didn’t want to. I don’t remember any of this, but my mom said I was scared and shy. So I just cried and cried and cried. I cried a lot as a child, especially after being pile-driven.
CP: So you regret not moving to Sesame Street?
DL: I would go on the show.
The Word Association Portion of the Interview
The Favorite Anythings Portion of the Interview
CP: What’s your favorite awful movie?
DL: I’m not gonna say BASEketball. Letting you know. Does The Fountain count?
CP: TAKE IT BACK.
DL: Because the critical consensus is that its Darren Aronofsky’s worst movie, but it’s my favorite. Top Ten All Time.
CP: It is a masterpiece, and it does not qualify. He drinks the tree cum.
DL: I saw a movie called Rampage by Uwe Boll. It’s on Netflix, and I watched it, and it wasn’t bad.
CP: What is your favorite song lyric of all time?
DL: Easy. “Rape me, rape me my friend, rape me, rape me again.” Nirvana.
CP: What’s your favorite part about being Asian?
DL: Aside from the acne, and shitty teeth, and terrible social skills, and accents, and glasses, I would say that being the model minority is convenient sometimes. People don’t really, really hate you. I’ve been made fun of, you know, “HEY CHINO” or “YO, BRUCE LEE” but at least they get my last name right.
CP: What’s your favorite part of nihilism?
DL: Fight Club? Does that count?
CP: Sure, but the correct answer is nothing.
Dahyun’s Question for Carmen’s End of the Month Self-Interview
Q20: If you had the opportunity to make one movie-unlimited budget and unlimited resources-what would that movie be about? And who would be on the soundtrack?