The Rationalization

When Brian joined me in Korea in August of 1987, he had recently met a young lady back home. They were in love. She turned out to be the one because they got married in 1988 and are still together. I was the best man at the wedding. We haven't spoken since. Apparently his lady didn't take a cotton to me and pretty much told him to freeze me out. Whatever. But that is not the point of this...

Given his new-found love interest back home, Brian never really sank his teeth into life in the Korea. He lasted only 2.5 months and was pretty much planning his departure from the moment he arrived. He was constantly in my ear about how I needed to get outta there, head back home, how I was meant to be in the States; constantly in my ear. Sure that wore on me and those seeds he planted were taking root, but other factors were at play.

My contract with Mr. Shin stated that any outside jobs he got me we would split 60 my way and 40 his way. Such was the job up at SamChullyHo Bicycle Company. As I mentioned before, I would drive his car up and back whenever I had class there. While not stated in the contract, he insisted I pay for the gas and that seemed fair enough to me. Every month SamChully would send him the monthly fee for my superior English Teaching and then he would divide out my 60%, subtract a chunk for gas, and give me the rest.

That arrangement worked pretty well until Shin decided to let me in on a secret that he was under-reporting my salary to the goverment so he wouldn't have to deduct as much Income Tax from my pay. (I was paying Income Tax to the Korean gov't?) He marketed it as a benefit to me 'cuz it saved me money, but it just made me more and more suspicious of him and his accounting methods. If he had never planted that thought in my dome, I might never have peaked inside the envelope of cash SamChully handed me for October 1987.

Inside that envelope I found 50% more cash than Shin told me they were paying. That means I was getting 60% of 50% of what they paid. I couldn't believe it. I must've counted that cash 20 times. I had Brian count it. I couldn't believe it. Then subtract from my cut the money for gas in the Pony. How much is gas anyway?

I volunteered to fill the tank on the way to SamChully one day. Turns out he was charging me more for gas to go to Yangsan and back each week than it cost to fill the Pony for the whole month for everywhere it went. I asked the SamChully executives about it. How much was gas. How many MPG (KPG) the Pony got. How much they spent on gas per month in their own cars. No matter how I mathematized it, I was getting gouged there too. I confirmed with them how much they paid for my services each month too. Again, confirmed. I could only guess Shin thought I would never figure it out.

As I noted in my journal, I had planned to tell Shin of my plans to bail on the contract because he was ripping me off, but I must've called an audible at the line of scrimmage.

Before actually going through with the Midnight Run, I consulted another English Teacher in town. He was somewhat of a big wig at Shi-Sa or somewhere. I laid out the facts as I knew them and he was supportive of my decision. That was all I needed as a capper on top of the rest.

You already know what happened the first week of November 1987...


Amanda said...

That sucks. First off, your friend shutting you out sucks. Second off--lying, cheating hogwon bosses--some things never change!!

Anonymous said...

ever any regret with Brian?

interesting how Mr. Shin sounds a lot like other scary 학원 bosses in the early 2000s, too.

please keep the good stuff coming. this story has me hooked ^^