Chronicles of a writer abroad

Two types of ski-trip irony & being big in Korea


A traffic jam when you’re already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

– Alanis Morissette, “Ironic”

The above song, released in 1995, has been credited with giving many people a false understanding of irony. Many of the things Alanis cites as ironic in this song, it has been noted, are not actually ironic but just unfortunate.

On our second trip to Davos this past weekend, we experienced both types of irony — real and Alanis-Morissettesque. Allow me to contrast them for you below.

Real irony: Many of the snow activities that we wished to do — skiing and sledding being among them — were unavailable due to too much snow (and ensuing avalanche risk/technical difficulties).

Alanis Morissettesque irony: A couple of hours before we began the train journey back to Zürich, the storm ended, the skies had cleared, and Davos looked like this:

It wasn't ironic to have to leave this: it was unfortunate.

But the weekend, though not as sporty as intended, was still a lot of fun. We ate copious amounts of good mountain food (Alper-macaroni, cheese fondue, etc.) and enjoyed good company, as well as the resurrection of an old joke.

CUT TO: Lab dinner at fondue restaurant. STELIAN and KRISTEN sit across from  VISITING RESEARCHER FROM KOREA. Polite dinner conversation is occurring.

V.R.F.K. [changing subject]: Do you like dramas?

STELIAN: Dramas?

V.R.F.K.: Yeah, like TV dramas?

STELIAN: Oh. Yeah, I guess.

V.R.F.K.: Like Prison Break?

KRISTEN knows what’s coming and begins to giggle uncontrollably.

STELIAN: Oh, yeah, I’ve been told this before…

V.R.F.K: You look like Michael Scofield!

STELIAN: Yeah. People say that.

V.R.F.K. [wielding iPhone]: May I take your picture? People in Korea will think I met Michael Scofield.


The reason why this is so funny is because Stelian’s facial resemblance to Prison Break star Wentworth Miller is a joke that goes back to our undergraduate days (interested parties can search for the now-dormant but still-existing group “I think Stelian Coros looks like Michael Scofield!” on Facebook, which was created by friends of Stelian at UoGuelph six or seven years ago). I love it when silly threads of continuity like this run through life.

Off to Barcelona in a couple of days — talk to you on the flip-side!


2 thoughts on “Two types of ski-trip irony & being big in Korea

  1. Witnessing that scene in person was priceless, but you did a fantastic job of recounting it in script format.

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