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Essays  ·  Poetry  ·  Comedy  ·  Art  ·  Video summer 2021
I Am Salad

Apr. 14, 2003,

· Sitting with Mama
· Maria
· Nine Crossings
· Mama and Her

· Fallopian Chron IV
· Why I Toast, I
· Why I Toast, II
· Why I Toast, III
· Scooter/Dot-Com
· Fallopian Chron II
· Fallopian Chron III
· Strange Bedfellow
· Almost Equal
· A Difficult Day
· Phantom Lover:
    Ode to
    Leslie Cheung

· I Am Salad
· Fallopian Chron I
· Taiwanglish
· Childhood's End
· Psychic Friends
· Life in the
    Time of SARS

· Waiting for
      the Goddess

· Roswell My Eye
· Catisfaction
· My Laramie Project
· Stopping on the
    Street for
    Coltrane: A Real
    Latter Day Saint

· Whither Moocat?
· Happy Palindrome!
· Happy Tiger
· Tourist for a Day
· Geography
    as Destiny

· "Bastards"
· Watching the
    Pentagon Burn

· Communing with

· Milk
· Infinity
· Emailing the Dead
· Broken Water
· Sand Shark
· Grandma Said
· Golden Days
· Americat
· Moe Howard on the
Death of His Brother,

· Flashpoems
· Minyan
· Inside Scoop
· Nativity
· I Ask My Mother
To Sing

· Absence of Colours
· Island Logic
· Peepshow Kleenex
· Allen Ginsberg
Forgives Ezra Pound
on Behalf of the Jews

· Lacing Your Shoes:
Haiku & the Everyday

· Four Haiku
· Smoking Haiku
· Geary & Jones,
Monday, 8:23 a.m.

· The Keeper
· december 13, 2001
· Memento Mori
· Football's Birthday
· The Edward Gorey

· Arrival
· Victim o'

· The Origin of
Teeth and Bones

· Questions for
Martins Ferry,

· This Is Just
To Tell You

· Not-Cat (& whatnot)
· To My Unmet Wife

· Englishhua
· Dave for Pope
· Papa Loves Mambo
· A Culture Report

· The Louisiana
A Special Radio X
Historical Docudrama

· Krawkawkaw Gives
a Little

· Meet Dr. Klaww
· Letters to Dr. Klaww
· Letter from the
Hall of Justice

· An Invitation
to be Keynote

· More

All Things

· Gajandra Meets
    the Scatoman

· Gajandra and
    the Curse of the
    Six Monkeys

· Gajandra and the
    Eating Lesson

· A Moment of

· Gajandra and the
    Great Rumble

· Gajandra and the
    Problem with

· Mohamed Tahdaini
· John Guillory
· Berkeley Pier
· Bruce Dene
· Death of The Bayou
· Taiwan Food Vendors
· John Freeman
· Robin Liu
· Hector
· Dave's Corner
· Zuni Kachinas

· Mainland Murmurs
· Next to Heaven
  · Episode #8

  · Episode #16
· Crosswords Brunch


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... And I have a government I.D. to prove it. As you may well know, in Malaysian, the name Saia (sp. "saya") means "I am" or "me." Here in Taiwan, one must be careful not to reveal to one's students one's last name if it is Saia, because in the local Taiwanese dialect (Fukkianese), the word "Saia" (rhymes with "Hi ya!") is titillatingly close to the word "sai" (pr. sigh), which means, "shit."

But I digress. In fact, my Beijing-ese Chinese teacher in the U.S. had endearingly called me, "Lao Sai," (roughly, "Old Saia") as a friendly gesture. When I mentioned this to a Fukkianese-speaking acquaintance in San Francisco, he cracked up, insisting that I do not go by that name in Taiwan. Why? Although in Beijing-hua "Lao Sai" is simply a kindly buddy-greeting for a person of the common Chinese family name, Sai, in Fukkianese, it means "diarrhea" (literally, 'fast shit.')

This card makes me legal here.

But I've digressed again. I am salad. You see, it's just hard for them. Some Chinese bureaucrats, I mean, to decipher English writing. Someone understandably mistook the "I" in the weird name, "Saia" for an "L," thus renaming me "David Sala." This has happened often in my life, most notably with telemarketers and other business persons who do not love me. Once in fact the Saia/Sala schism resulted in my not becoming a Canadian. "What?!" you say, "how can use of 'Sala' for 'Saia' affect your citizenship status?"

My birthday's off by 1 day

It was 1995, and I had put in all my paperwork for my application for Landed Immigrant status to the Canadian immigration agency. One sleepy morning I received a phone call from a well-spoken man who said, "Mr. Sala?" Considering "Sala" a telemarketer's dead-giveaway, I groggily lowed, "Uhhhb ... Nope." The off-put gentleman, having sought to do me a favour, simply hung up. It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that I realized who that call had been from — when I received the letter from the Canadians stating that I had neglected to include my US$1,000 application fee. Oops! By that time I was just a few days away from my round-the-world trip, and every major $1,000 chunk of budget had already been allocated. Had I realized my oversight 2 weeks earlier, I'm sure I would have gotten it together to send the check.

The deli's in the details!

Wait a minute — have I been redigressing? To make a long story into one that has an ending, today, when I went to the hospital to get my new National Health Insurance card, the busy card-reissuing worker failed to put a space between my last name "SALA" and my first initial, "D," thus granting me my new and most nutritious pseudonym ever.

— David Saia

David Saia edits His work has been published and produced in several venues, including The Daily Reveille, The Culture Report, New Delta Review, and the now-defunct San Francisco Review.

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