Life, Once Again! - Chapter 744
“Do you think 2.4% is a good result?”
Maru poured some of the broth into a paper cup and put it down in front of Daemyung.
“It’s lower than the programs airing on the other channels in the same time slot. I don’t think it’s something to be joyous about.”
“That’s such a pity. I enjoyed it a lot. Though, mom said she didn’t like it that much.”
“What did she say?”
“She said it was too bland. She likes provocative stories. Can I eat another one?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
Daemyung grabbed another skewer in joy.
The first episode aired without a hitch. The people at the bar yesterday all applauded when they heard the drama’s ending song. Jayeon sighed in relief, perhaps because she was nervous as the person in charge of the drama. After the drama ended, Jayeon and Ganghwan, who originally looked like they were going to drink until they passed out, finished their Friday with just two more bottles of beer. Jayeon had to go to work, and Ganghwan had practice.
“What are you up to these days?”
Having received a question, Daemyung started chewing quickly. A fishcake skewer disappeared into his stomach.
“I’m commuting to the library.”
“I’m going to study basic production skills. There were too many things I don’t know yet. Also, I have to write a script as well, so I think I’m wracking my brain even more than when I was at school.”
“You kept writing that.”
“Of course. We decided to shoot it in the Winter. There’s not long left. I think I can finish it by next week at the earliest. I’ll show it to you once I’m done.”
“You sound confident.”
Daemyung rubbed under his nose and smiled.
“Now that makes me nervous since you sound so confident. You didn’t write down something I can’t do, did you? It has to be doable in real life, okay? Think about the costs too.”
“Don’t worry about that. All I need is a single room. Maru, did you watch Shining?”
“You mean the film? I did when I was studying acting. Is the one you’re writing similar to that?”
Daemyung nodded energetically.
“I said it before, but you played that murderer in The Witness, didn’t you? Both Sora and I think that a psychopath’s image suits you a lot.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment for now.”
“It is a compliment. When Sora first said that we should write a script together, we already had a genre in mind. Horror, mystery. Not the kind of horror like ghosts; it’s the cruelty of humankind, as well as their violence. I wanted to create something along those lines.”
“If it’s possible, I’d like you to add erotica into the genre.”
Daemyung’s eyes looked up before coming down again.
“Sh-should I try?”
Maru pulled out another fish cake skewer and gave it to Daemyung.
“Forget it, just eat.”
“Maru, what are you up to these days? Is there an audition you’re getting ready for?”
“Nah. I only go out on weekends to shoot New Semester, and I’m mostly at home otherwise. I’m running out of time watching the dramas and films I have to watch for studying. Gosh, why are there so many things to watch?”
An actor’s way of studying was ultimately related to the trend of the era. After going through all the so-called ‘classics’, they would have to watch the things that reflected the current era. While learning the trends and the skills that were popular in the current era, the actors would have to go back to the classics to add depth to their acts. An actor was a kind of profession where one could not improve if they stayed in one era.
“Being an actor isn’t easy, huh.”
“I mean, what is?”
The lady gave them a bowl full of soondae. It was quite a lot considering it was supposed to be 1 person’s portion. Maybe she took a liking to Daemyung since he ate so happily.
“When do the CSAT results come out?”
Daemyung flinched as he skewered a piece of steamed pig lung with a toothpick.
“On December 7th, so the day after tomorrow.”
“Didn’t you tell me that you did well? Why do you look so awful?”
“I think I will only barely make it since I compare my scores to the results.”
“Even though it’s philosophy?”
“It was unexpectedly quite high.”
“What are you going to do if you don’t make it?”
Daemyung became gloomy in an instant. This feeble fella shook his head as though he didn’t even want to imagine what life would be like if he didn’t make the cut, but he still stuffed his mouth with food. If his obsession with food would only apply to other areas as well, Daemyung would probably be able to return from the middle of a jungle even if he didn’t have anything with him.
“I’m definitely not going to study for another year,” Daemyung said.
He was filled with resolve. If not for the bits of food around his mouth, he would have looked pretty serious.
“You’re not going to go to college?”
“It’d be good if I can go, but I don’t want to waste a year.”
“Think about it carefully. It might be a year now, but that year may decide the next five or ten years. People don’t sell their cows to send their children to college for nothing. There are definitely cases where going to the ivory tower will change people’s lives. I mean, college students have an especially large number of opportunities they can take. There are things their departments provide them with, and you will form connections with professors as well. There are many people among writers and producers who have degrees in philosophy, so it will be much easier to talk to them if you have one of your own.”
“You’re making me scared here. I was determined not to go if I didn’t make it.”
“I’m just telling you to think about it. It’d be great if you get admitted into the college of your choice, but didn’t you just tell me that it was quite close? You should think about it beforehand. Have you thought about lowering your goals?”
“Philosophy in Hanho university. That’s probably the lowest my parents would allow.”
“Well, they gave you permission to go to such a department, so your parents will be devastated if they found out that you were aiming for a lower college.”
Daemyung blew some wind over the broth to cool it.
“Maru, do you think college is absolutely necessary?”
“If you can go, you might as well do it. While the times treat college degrees more and more like scrap paper, there are times when that scrap paper is something required. Well, there are many people who say they are fine without a degree, but many companies don’t even accept anyone who didn’t go to a 4-year curriculum university. If you just look at the successful cases, anyone would be able to become Bill Gates. Normally though, people have a higher chance of failing than succeeding, don’t you think?”
“Then why did you give up?”
“Because I can go anytime I want, and it doesn’t really matter even if I don’t go. If I was unsure, I would also have prepared for CSATs. But now, I feel pretty confident. I’ve given up on it after calculating the benefits and losses, so I don’t have a problem. If you are giving up on your own accord, it should be fine, but if you’re saying that you want to go, but you just don’t want to waste another year, that sounds like you’re running away from reality.”
“This reminds me of a career consultation session I had with a teacher.”
Daemyung’s shoulders drooped down.
“I want to go too, but there’s the affordability to think about. If I pass now, president Lee Junmin will support me with tuition, but if I have to wait another year, that would no longer be the case. My parents only allowed me to major in philosophy because the tuition was free. If that doesn’t happen, getting admitted next year won’t do any good either. Honestly, I know myself the most. I don’t have the confidence to study hard while earning money for tuition. I don’t have that great of a concentration skill.”
“So you want to go, right?”
“Of course I do. How many people don’t want to go to college? But I can’t be a kid forever, can I? It’s not like the thing I’m trying to do is going to earn me money immediately. That’s why I thought about it. If I don’t get admitted into the college of my choice this time, I’m planning to work. I’ll save up for about three years and do the things I want to do then. Oh, wait. I have to do my military service too. I guess it’ll be better for me to work for two years and then go to the military?”
Daemyung laughed in vain. He put down the toothpick in his hand. The soondae cooled down.
“Anyway, I had a great three years with you, so I have no regrets. Above all, I’m glad that I met you, Maru. Without you, I would have sat in the corner of the classroom like I did in middle school, right?”
“You were bound to change. Even without me, you would have done fine by yourself. I just became a trigger of sorts.”
“That trigger is very important, though. Now that the CSATs are over, I feel like 3 years passed by in a flash. During our first year, it felt like time was never passing when we stayed at school until 11 to practice, yet here we are, just before graduation. Everyone is bound to go through the same process at one point, but I feel rather awkward. I feel like it would’ve been better if I went to school for another year.”
“Once you go to college and go to mixers, you will never think like that again.”
“How can I go to mixers when I have Jiyoon?”
“Usually, those who open their eyes to love late are usually the scariest. Just like you.”
Maru smiled faintly as he looked at Daemyung, who tensed his eyes. He had seen a few couples that started dating in high school and went all the way to marriage. Those people broke up 9 out of 10 times, but the ones that continued to have a good relationship until the end usually had a happy marriage. Although they would have fewer expectations for marriage because they would have seen everything about each other already, there would be just as little disappointment, making it possible to have a stable married life.
“Yeah, get married, alright. Get married and have a child that looks just like you.”
“I hope that happens.”
“I’m scared that you aren’t denying it.”
Maru dipped some soondae in some salt and then put it in his mouth.
“Even if you don’t make it, you should study and take the tests in a year if you have any intentions of going to college. I’ll pay for your tuition. Usually, trying to save up to do something later in life doesn’t do any good. Do you think people don’t want to do that? People think ‘I’ll do this after working for a few years’ all the time, but they end up becoming managers in their companies. Usually, once you start postponing your dreams, you’re bound to keep postponing them. Dreams are the most insignificant things after all. Your priorities will be delayed without end.”
Daemyung coughed dryly while eating.
“Y-you’re saying you’ll pay for my tuition? What do you mean?”
“It’s just as I said. I want to invest in you. If you get admitted this time, you get the president to pay for it, and if you don’t make it, you should study a year or two more and go to the college you want. I’ll pay for everything. But if you go to college and get a scholarship, half of it is mine.”
“I can’t do that. How could I possibly do that?”
“Why not? I’m willing.”
“College isn’t cheap.”
“I said it’s an investment. I personally think that the brand of Park Daemyung has a bright future. Even if I consider the opportunity costs and the money I would end up investing, I don’t think it’s a loss for me.”
“Are you serious?”
“Do you want me to write official documents for you?”
Maru put down the toothpick and shook his hand.
“Try. I thought you wanted to go to college. I thought you have something you want to do. Try them all out. Don’t worry about the money. If necessary, I’ll go meet your parents and explain everything.”
Maru took out some money from his wallet and handed it to the owner lady.
“If you’re done eating, let’s go. Dowook and Dojin are waiting in the PC-bang.”
He left the pojang-macha first and started walking. Daemyung followed suit.
“This entire conversation is pointless if you get admitted, so don’t think too deeply.”
“I’m a little dazed right now. There’s no way you’re saying that as a joke, but that means that you’re serious, so it makes me wonder why you are going so far.”
“I’m not saying that I’m going to take responsibility for your life. It’s just college. I can take care of that much with the money I have.”
“What if I fail the next year’s exams? You’d just be wasting money.”
“So are you going to fail?”
“Then I don’t see a problem.”
Maru shrugged. A few dozen million won. It was definitely not a small amount of money. Heck, it might decide the life and death of someone. If Daemyung was someone who was all talk and did not put in the effort, he would not have proposed such a thing. He had the will to study and had a high probability of success. That was why he reached out to him. When he said that he believed in the brand of Park Daemyung, he wasn’t lying. Maru had a premonition when he read the novel that Daemyung wrote. This fellow had the talent to write good stories. Although he said he wanted to be a producer, even if he didn’t go down that specific route, he looked like he had the potential to become a good novelist or a drama writer. That was obvious from the fact that writer Lee Hanmi, who everyone from the TV stations wanted to take, looked out so much for him. There were writers Ahn Pilhyun, Bae Chulho, and Gwak Joon as well. They all talked about how Daemyung had talent.
He wanted to make a bet. He was willing to gamble on the stock known as Park Daemyung.
“If you become successful, write something and give it to me. You know, right? This is all for my sake.”
“Well, think about it when the results are out first. This is all meaningless if you get admitted.”
Maru slapped Daemyung’s back.
 The CSAT results are announced at a certain time, but examinees are allowed to take a ‘card’ with them after the exam where they put their answers on. (Remember, it’s multiple choice, so it’s not that hard to mark) The answer sheets are usually posted on the internet hours after the tests, so they can check their scores early.