(Featured Image: author at far left, Buck, Mike, ?, Kevin, Dave, Guy, Walter, Mac, Tm Cdr Peter A.)

I’m what they call a Polyglot, me, so I fancy… meaning I have a lot of glots. Poly means ‘many’ and glot means ‘tongue’; a man of many tongues. And you know what they say about a man who has many tongues… he can tell many more lies.

I became obsessed with the Chinese language as a young boy. I couldn’t possibly explain the feeling. It was just so mysterious and difficult. At the time I thought that learning the Chinese language had to be the most difficult feat in the (known) universe. To this day I still believe that no two Chinese people are ever perfectly certain just what the other is talking about.

At my high school, a science teacher had lived in Beijing for a time, and he offered Chinese language to our curriculum, more as a joke than anything else, knowing nobody would sign up for it. He was wrong. One young punk signed up. “We can’t run a class with just one student; we need five.” He told me.