All I Want For Christmas Is…A Beetle?
My friend PJ is an outstanding person. A month from now, PJ will be leaving her cushiony job in Korea to go work with babies in Kazakhstan. She’ll be teaching the Kazakh children English, playing games with them, helping them shave their mustaches and trim their chest hair, etc. Last week I went to the Kazakhstani Embassy with her, with the hopes that at least one of the workers would look like Borat. I was disappointed. Maybe in reality they don’t really look like that, and the babies don’t have mustaches and chest hair. Similarly, I’m told gay men don’t really act like Bruno.
See – I am a bad person and a moron. PJ hasn’t even seen Borat, because she is an outstanding person.
Due to her infectious goodness, I couldn’t say ‘no’ to PJ when she asked me to sign up for a Christmas donation program happening at an orphanage here in Seoul. The website had a spreadsheet with the names of the children, and next to each kid’s name was a gift request. Some kids wanted clothes, some wristwatches, some ambitious ones asked for MP3 players (dang! I don’t even have an MP3 player!). I told PJ that I would find the kid who wanted the weirdest present and sign up to buy it for him/her. She seemed pleased with that. Although she is outstanding, she is also broke, and so PJ did not sign up to buy an orphan an MP3 player. Instead, her kid gets a diary.
I looked through the list, trying to find a cool eccentric orphan to get a gift for, until I came to one that present stood out: Stag Beetle.
“What the hell is a stag beetle?” I asked PJ. She didn’t know, so I Googled it. I figured it was some kind of toy, like a Big Bad Beetleborg or something. Instead, Google sent me back pictures of a real living insect. “Does this kid want a real beetle?” I wondered.
Yes, it turns out. Yes he does. The Stag Beetle is apparently not that rare of a pet and they are sold in lots of stores here, including HomePlus (the Korean equivalent to Target). It’s also the only pet I know of that you’re supposed to “make into a specimen” once it dies. Stag Beetles don’t live very long, and when one dies, the owner is supposed to “pin” it and display it somewhere. I was also assumed to find out, from the stag beetle website, that between death and its pinning, the beetle is supposed to be stored in the refrigerator. Could you imagine this happening with any other pet?
“Hey, where’s your guinea pig?”
“Oh, it’s behind the milk.”
In other news, the stag beetle is wretched and disgusting. Watch the short video below to see for yourself. I’m starting to wonder if somebody’s playing a gag on this poor orphan:
Yesterday I got an email from the orphanage. The plan, as it is laid out on the website, has donators dropping the gifts off this weekend. The staff will then wrap the gifts and give them to the kids during the orphanage Christmas party. However, my situation is special. The email said that since the gift I’m donating is actually alive, I need to come to the orphanage Christmas party on December 18th and give the beetle to the kid in person. This actually sounds pretty cool, and I’m excited to see the look on the kid’s face when he unwraps the terrifying beetle.
PJ won’t be giving her kid the diary in person.
Who’s outstanding now, baby shaver?