Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Japanese, Nicknames, and Ping Pong: Three Unrelated Topics That Will be Reconciled in the Last Sentance

If you've ever wondered what my name looks like in Japanese (and run through a cheesy Photoshop filter), today's your lucky day!


"Now, see here!" you're saying, "What's this second batch of foreign characters that you've put up with no explanation?"

Well, the first half (everything before the novelty "Greater than or equal to" sign) is the Japanese way of writing "Schnorr". The second half...well, let me go on a short aside.

Having the name Schnorr comes with a few...downsides. First off, it literally translates into something akin to a conniver, a wheedler, someone who takes without giving back. Basically, a less than pleasant person. (When all of my German residents found out my name, they thought it was pretty funny.) This, I can take in stride, because my name was mentioned in this context on The Simpsons (by Krusty the Clown during a soccer game) and on Little House on the Prairie (by some Rabbi telling a girl to plant a tree so that you'll "never be a Schnorr"). So, that's notoriety. Also, I like to tell people that one of my ancestors was a Bavarian prince of thieves, which is where the name comes from (and I haven't gotten any evidence to the contrary, so I'm going to assume its true).

However, there is a question that has haunted me all my life, as well as my father's (he told me as much), and I'm assuming his father before him:
"Do you Schnorr at night?"
Good. God. You have no idea how many times I've been asked this, especially when I was younger. Hell, even Santa asked me that when I sat on his knee! But no, it didn't end after I graduated from elementary school. No, there were people who asked me that in high school, and even a couple in college. Not even a variation, either, just "Do you Schnorr at night?" I just want to respond by saying, in a bitterly sarcastic tone, "Wow, I'm impressed. That's just so original. I've never heard that once in my 20 years on this earth. Congratulations, sir, your wit is an inspiration to us all." (I'm usually nicer than that in real life.)

Now, in more recent times, I've gotten an honest-to-goodness nickname based upon my last name and it's resemblance to the word "snore." And that came from one of my SoCal Magic: The Gathering buddies (who unfortunately quit). A few years back, I saw him at a tournament, and went up to me, and when he saw me, he said in a deep voice "Schnorrlaaaaax!"

You see there's this animal...a Pokémon, really, called Snorlax. Here's a picture.
Yeah, it's a fat...thing. That eats and sleeps a lot. And is really fat.

Luckily, the resemblance is in name only. So, anyway, I was given the nickname "Schnorrlax". But it kind of died down after a while. Then I started hall staff and I mentioned it. It caught on, and it's all a few people call me. I don't mind it at all. In fact, I was interested in seeing what my nickname looked like in Japanese. And thus, that's what the second batch of Japanese characters at the top is.

Now, I know what the second question on your mind is: "Andrew, where'd you get Japanese writing?"

Well, tonight was "Japan Night," one of our Tuesday Night Socials. As it was Japan Night, there were a bunch of stereotypical Japanese activities, such as sushi eating, origami, and chopstick races (transferring a bunch of marbles from one bowl to another). I don't eat sushi, and I wasn't too interested in origami, so I tried the chopstick races. I actually did pretty decent (and I think I had more class in my maneuvering than anyone else).

But, overall, the main attraction was a single girl. Her name is Mariko, she's Japanese, and at least half of the men in the dorms have a crush on her. Seriously. They're not even shy about it. When I was telling some of my Finnish residents about it, they said, "Is, uh, thawt Japan girl goeeng to be thare? Maybe wee'll go." Thing is, she seems completely, 100% oblivious to it. But I suppose that's part of her charm.

Anyway, she was writing people's names in Japanese as part of the activities, and I think she did a pretty good job (though, to be honest, I can't real a word of kanji, so she could be serving me total BS and I'd be none the wiser).

I actually spent most of my time at the social playing ping pong. In fact, I played for 80 minutes straight; no hyperbole there. And I haven't played ping pong in years. How did I do? Somehow, I was on fire!

I partially attribute this to my latent abilities, and partially to the fact that I've very recently found myself a new...I dunno what you'd call it, "Pump-you-up Song"? It's called "Atlus", and it's by some relatively no-name band called Battles, but it's completely insane (that is, it makes you feel like you belong in a madhouse or something). Here, take a listen. I think it matches well to my brain style.

Anyhoo, I had this song playing through my head again and again, and I think it was pumping me up. I took the ping pong paddle, and it was like ballet. I was dancing to and fro, spinning around, and striking poses as I was hitting the ball. And every time, I hit near the edge. Every time.

Co-Worker: "Wow, Andrew, since when have you been a master at ping pong?"
Me: "I'm not. I...I don't know what's come over me."

80 minutes I played. Nothing actually competitive; the only rule was "The ball is always live." Still, I was playing like I knew what I was doing, and I made it look like an artform. I was working up quite a sweat, too; that's what running around a room trying to hit that pop-fly will do to you (I did end up hitting that pop-fly, and even from a distance of at least 20 feet, I was able to make a corner shot...that was awesome).

As I got more and more tired, my game started degrading, but I still think I did pretty well for myself overall. Maybe I should just drop college altogether, begin anew under my true calling. If I ever end up playing ping pong against a Japanese guy, I could even show him how to write out my nickname.


Anonymous said...

Confidence is one thing. But I dunno if hearing how you made ping pong look artful is over the edge. Still, congrats.

Andrew Schnorr said...

If you saw it, you may have disagreed. It was actually one of the onlookers who said that, not me.

Anonymous said...

I thought of this just now, so forgive me commenting so long after the fact, but I think it's time I reveal to you one of the ways I originally employed to remember your name. Andrew Schnorrington. Don't know why, but Schnorrington stuck in my head better than Schnorr, so I used to see you in SA, walking about, and think to myself "there goes Admiral Schnorrington".