Today Mr. Choi, a teacher from Avalon, stopped by my place to see if he could get my refrigerator, which has been out of order for three weeks, to work. Mr. Choi is an extremely nice middle-aged guy (even for middle-aged guy standards) who likes to talk about sharks and other random topics. He speaks relatively good English and you can usually find him in a flannel shirt and black pants. Recently, Mr. Choi has assumed the responsibility of taking care of the paper work and housing arrangements for new foreign teachers after the last guy, Robin went AWOL. A few days ago Mr. Choi proudly handed me my alien registration card. Today he came by place to resolve this lingering issue.
Mr. Choi confirmed what I had voiced concern over for three weeks ago, “Daniel your refrigerator is not working”, then set up a time for a repair man to stop by and fix it. I thanked Mr. Choi and as he was leaving offered him a delicious, crisp apple. Mr. Choi laughed, gladly accepted and offered a slight bow. He then explained that he needed a signature from my neighbor and fellow Avalonist (this is how the big wigs at Avalon refer to the employees). Fresh out of bed Chris lethargically answered the door. While they were going over the paperwork, I went into Chris’s refrigerator (where I have been storing perishable items) retrieved my milk and went back into my room to enjoy a few bowls of Special K.
As I munched on some cereal I could overhear Mr. Choi profusely apologizing to Chris for waking him up. A few minutes passed when Mr. Choi peeked his head in my room and said good-bye. I went across the hall to talk to Chris.
“Ha, Mr. Choi gave me this apple.”
“What! I just gave him that apple!”
“Ha ha really? He left it on my desk and asked if I wanted it.”
“Did he mention that I just gave it to him 5 minutes ago?”
“Na, he just offered it.”
As I started to express my unhappiness with the whole situation Chris sank his teeth into the perfectly ripe piece of fruit.
One, you don’t regift.
Two, if you do regift you give the original giver his or her due credit.
Is Mr. Choi the Korean Tim Whatley?
I thought maybe Mr. Choi felt so terrible about waking Chris that he felt obliged to offer the apple, in which case I could cut him slack based on his intent. But! As it turns out, this is not Mr. Choi’s first time regifting. The head teacher at my school approached me while I was replaying the incident in my head. He said that he heard about the apple episode. He explained that a short time ago he asked Mr. Choi if he would like a hot chocolate in which Mr. Choi replied unequivocally, “yes”. I’m sure you can figure out the rest of this tale -which would only be funny if it wasn’t true. Mr. Choi passed off the hot chocolate to one of his students (not even another teacher!) with no credit going to the head teacher.
There is only one way to handle a compulsive regifter: give them a gift that is so useless that no one else would even accept it. Luckily, I have a carton of expired milk sitting in my tepid refrigerator.
p.s. Mr. Choi is still the man.