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What's your beef?

01-31-2011 10:34 BJT

No sympathy. No hugs. Just a whole mess of warnings about meat.

我从自行车上摔了下来,扭了自己的胳膊。我的中国朋友们看到之后,却毫无垂怜之意,只是反复告诉我:“别吃牛肉啊。”这到底是怎么回事?我花了三年时间才解开这个谜。

BY ZAC COURTNEY

It was a rainy day a few Augusts back when I flew off Tank, landed awkwardly on my left arm, slid through 12 Beijing puddles, and cursed very loudly at the driver who had cut me off.

Tank is my pushbike, an antique monster I purchased for a single pink bill. I love him, although he is possibly the heaviest bike ever built, and only has one speed: ultra gizmo fast. He doesn’t, however, have brakes that work. Hence my predicament.

Lying on the ground, hundreds of people ran to my aid. “Can I help you up?” “Here’s your bike, buddy.” “Do you need me to take you to hospital?” “You should ride slower!” Thanking everyone profusely, I jumped back on Tank, and gingerly rode the rest of the way to class.

I entered the classroom to an ocean of horrified looks, and realized just how muddy I was. And not only that. My business shirt was ripped and covered in blood. Hmm. Maybe the fall was worse than I thought. My co-teacher and friend Ting Ting cancelled class to march me to hospital. As I was whisked out the door, one of my students kindly said, “Your arm hurts. Don’t eat any beef.” OK. Strange kid.

Fortunately for me, Haidian Hospital was just up the road. I find gigantic hospitals confusing at the best of times, so it was great that Ting Ting was there to help me as we climbed three flights of stairs to register, then along a passageway, then down to the basement, then through the super-secret door leading to the fifth dimension, and finally up one more staircase to where the doctor was. He wanted us to go for an x-ray. No problem.

Seventeen hours later, when we’d found the place, a very helpful team of radiologists put my hand in position, smiled, and then blockaded themselves behind six inches of armoured glass. They neglected to use a lead sheet to protect my vitals while my wonderfully safe x-ray was taken. No big deal. Maybe it means one day my wife will give birth to super-mutant kids who’ll take over the planet. Oh, and if you haven’t ever seen an x-ray of a hand wearing a wedding ring, it’s quite funny.

One x-ray and forty corridors later, we somehow found the original doctor again, but of course by this time I could have walked to Tianjin. He told me that indeed it was only a sprain, wrote a prescription, and ended with, “Oh, and don’t eat any beef.” Is there something that I’m missing here?


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