Saturday, January 5, 2008

Which Way To the Scowling Contest?


It had been a pretty tough afternoon for Mrs. Chung and her daughter Xiao Lei. The pair had spent the last several hours shopping in the department stores of Beijing, and the hours of walking through the cavernous monuments to materialism had begun to take their toll on both of them.

First, Xiao Lei threw a screeching tantrum outside a department store in the Wangfujing district of the city after being denied an ice cream cone. Then, Mrs. Chung had gotten into a heated argument with a shopkeeper while haggling over the price of a dress she'd taken a fancy to. Then, to cap things off, a truck drove by and splashed both Mrs. Chung and her daughter with filthy gutter water from a recent thunderstorm.

But then their fortunes took a turn for the better. First, Mrs. Chung found a store that was selling these amazing red t-shirts with Snoopy and Woodstock on the front, and bought one. Then, Mrs. Chung saw a poster from a local television station announcing a unique kind of contest, in which the child with the most angry scowl would get to appear in an upcoming television commercial.

As Mrs. Chung looked at her still seething daughter, she decided to enroll her in the contest. "I'm gonna teach you how to make lemonade from lemons, girl!" said Mrs. Chung.

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