Of all the projects I have in the works right now, the sitcom I’m developing with my friend Kaela has to be the most exciting. We haven’t exactly written the pilot episode yet, but we’ve sketched out the characters and feel the premise is so strong the show will write itself. Here’s our pitch:
The name of the show is High School Seniors. They’re in high school, and they’re seniors…like, um, senior citizens. Get it? High School Seniors!
Corny? Perhaps. Puns like this don’t come around every day, though. We haven’t decided on much past the title. Kaela and I agree that there should never be any kind of explanation for why the old people are still in high school, nor should anyone ever comment on it. They’re just there, go with it. Plot lines include a hot female teacher coming on to one of the old students and a pregnancy scare (“My period’s late!”) that turns out to be menopause. Also, there will one student who writes an online journal type thing – a la Doogie Howser or Sex and the City – but our elderly character won’t share much insight because he can’t figure out how to work the computer (he types with two fingers while squinting at the keyboard).
But enough about High School Seniors. I bring Kaela up because she contacted me early in the week and asked me if I’d ever been to the Costco in Seoul.
“No,” I said. “I’ve never been to Costco anywhere.”
“You need to go to Costco,” she said. Kaela lives about an hour and a half away from Costco, but that wasn’t stopping her. As she would later explain, she really wanted sour cream and cheddar cheese. Just as God is non-existent in North Korea, sour cream is otherwise absent in the South.
I had to research Costco to get a better feel for it. (You know, years ago when I’d say “research,” I referred to the investigating of a particular topic through books, the Internet, talking to people, etc. Now when I say “research,” it means I typed something into Wikipedia.) My research taught me that Costco has higher sales than Sam’s Club and that it’s the first company, ever, to make over $3 billion within its first six years. Apparently, Costco is a business juggernaut.
Must be the sour cream.
Kaela and I waited patiently in line to open our Costco membership. In front of us, a Korean man was returning two bags of tortilla chips. While he talked with the lady at the customer service counter, I wondered what the possible rationale could be for returning tortilla chips. What was he saying?
“Listen, I thought I had salsa in the fridge…turns out I didn’t…these chips are useless!”
Finally the chips issue was resolved and we got our membership. Really, she got the membership, but I plan to borrow the card a lot. Down into Costco we went, and that’s when, suddenly, as though I had entered some sort of teleportation device, I was back in the good old US of A.
Pork and Beans. Combos. Provolone cheese. Deli meat. Pastrami. Bagels. And then I spotted something that almost made my foolish heart go still.
French’s mustard. Straight from my hometown of Rochester, NY. Sold in packages of two, each bottle enormous, the size of a fire extinguisher. It would last me a lifetime. Kaela hid in the next aisle while I openly wept.
In total, I bought turkey, pastrami, cheese, bagels, and French’s mustard. The prices were high but I didn’t care. My check-out total was $50. “Wow,” I said, “I just spent $50 for sandwiches.”
Kaela wanted to make taco dip. She looked at the things she bought and then at her receipt. “I spent almost a hundred bucks for taco dip.”
It was like going to the little Korean market in Charlotte, kind of, but the total reverse of it. My country doesn’t represent itself with little independent stores all over the place, run by American immigrants. Instead there’s one big giant overpriced Costco.
Fifty bucks for a sandwich? I felt proud.