China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Dear Students Who Covet Our Autographs


Dear Students Who Covet Our Autographs,

When you tell me “write your name” on this pencil case, jacket, notebook, text book, toy, hand, etc. and I ask you, “why?” it is not because I don’t understand what you are saying. No amount of repetition, louder, slower or otherwise will answer my question. I’m looking for a reason. Even a simple “no why” would suffice. But this unqualified demand of my mark, my elaborate X, my illegible squiggle, is disconcerting.

I knew a kid once, perhaps a few years older than you (I’m not good with age – at this point, everyone is either young or old and in this case you are young and I am old), who could copy signatures and was able to reap all kinds of benefits from it. So, one of the things I’m really asking when I ask the simple question “why” is: Are you burgeoning con artists? I’m also wondering if maybe there is a large Black Market appetite for foreigner autographs, no matter how insignificant the foreigner.

If the second scenario is accurate I will be expecting some kickbacks for the twenty minutes of class time I spent signing every text/note/library book, plastic desk cover, uniform coat, and random Korean popstar poster you could get your hands on last Tuesday when the zoo keeper (your homeroom teacher) failed to show up with her big behavior-monitoring stick. I must say, a mob of screaming, highlighter-wielding 12-year-olds is a very frightening thing and the fact that the ground floor classroom doors were wide open and other teachers were walking by, giving wide berth to my unfortunate situation despite the fact that the path would’ve taken them within inches of the chaos, only encourages the idea that my John Hancock is of some worth.

I know this is a little unexpected, as other entertainers (i.e. movie starts, basketball starts and politicians) do not ask you directly for money or something else in return. They are sneakier than me and have usually already taken it from you without you realizing it.

I’ll put it simply. Next time I see you I expect payment. This is why I write. Whether it takes the form of popsicles, candy, soda, street food or little red envelopes I do not care. I just feel the need for some sort of restitution. It will help me to heal and maybe, hopefully, to help me find a better job. That’s all. I’m sure you understand.

Thanks and see you soon,

This Ridiculous World

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