Home > Musings > Sushi makes me stupid

Sushi makes me stupid

So apparently some people like to eat sushi. That’s what I keep hearing, anyway. I’m never sure if the people saying it really feel that way, though. It’s kind of like when people say they like Radiohead. You never know if they’re really a fan or if they just think it makes them cool to say they like the band (for the record, I like Radiohead… No, really).

I think some people say they like sushi because it makes them seem cultured and sophisticated. Other people actually like the food. To be honest, I’ve never seen the point. After all, one of mankind’s greatest achievements was harnessing fire. That allowed man to cook food and no longer have to eat raw mastodon, which was great, because fighting off attacking dinosaurs is much easier when you’re not sick from food poisoning. Choosing to eat food raw would be like riding a horse and buggy to work. Sure, you can do it if you want, but doing so when we invented a much better form of transportation just seems odd.

King Louie knew importance of man’s red fire

One day back when I worked at Thoughts.com, the writers decided to go out and get sushi at the urging of Janelle, who is quite the sushi fan. She assured me that it was safe and that not all sushi is even raw. Of course, this is the same person who tricked me into eating a cake made with sauerkraut, so to say I was skeptical is an understatement. Let me put it this way: Before we ate I let everyone know that I would prefer to be cremated rather than buried, just in case.

When we were given the menu, I saw a bunch of stuff with names written in another language. There were pictures, but I’m not used to identifying small pieces of flesh wrapped in rice. So I had to ask “What would you suggest to an ignorant American who has never had sushi?” The waiter picked something out for me and then the cook let out a devilish laugh while staring at me and sharpening his knives. I don’t remember what the food was, but I know that one of them used the word “tempura,” which is Japanese for “some kind of mystery meat batter fried.” I’ll eat pretty much anything if it’s batter fried, so it was a win. And I didn’t feel sick after lunch, which means that sushi is at least safer than Taco Bell.

Of course, the experience wouldn’t have been complete without another complication. Not only was I supposed to eat this new crazy food, but the waiter gave me two wooden sticks to eat it with. Look, I have nothing against Japanese people, but why are they so against culinary advances? They don’t like fire or forks! Forks are great because they have these tiny spikes, called tines, that stab into food, making it easy to transfer from your plate to your mouth. As for chopsticks, not so much.

She figured them out

Every time I start to get too big of a head, I remind myself that I’m incapable of using chopsticks. I realize it’s not rocket science, but it just doesn’t work for me. To me, eating with chopsticks is like trying to go through your day-to-day life without thumbs. Want to know how much I struggle with chopsticks? Try not to use your thumbs for a day. Of course, everyone had advice for me.

“Just hold it like you hold a pencil,” Janelle said. So I did. “That’s how you hold a pencil?” I nodded. “Then you hold your pencil wrong!”

So thanks to sushi, I know that not only am I unable to figure out how to use two wooden sticks to pick up food, but I also never mastered a skill we were supposed to learn in kindergarten. Yes, I hold my pencil wrong. Thanks so much, sushi, for making me more insecure!

The big deal about chopsticks isn’t that I can’t use them; it’s that I can’t use them even though they’re so simple. As people are telling me what I’m doing wrong, I feel like a child who keeps trying to cram a square peg into a round hole. Whenever people see me trying to use chopsticks, I wonder if they think someone else must tie my shoes for me. I can quote and understand Shakespeare, solve mathematical equations and analyze complex political situations, but I can’t figure out how to press two wooden sticks together in such a way that they can carry food.

I’ve never made it through an entire meal using chopsticks, but I’ve tried. A couple years ago I broke one of my own rules (more on that later) and was on a date at an Asian restaurant. While there, I tried to use chopsticks to eat my Korean food. Luckily, we were making good enough conversation that it didn’t seem odd for me to take so long between bites. While talking, I would be desperately trying to grab the food with the chopsticks, with the wooden bastards constantly thwarting me. Eventually, she asked for a fork and I asked for one, too. For that I am eternally grateful. After all, if she had seen me continue to struggle with chopsticks throughout the dinner, there’s no way I would have gotten another date with her. Of course, I didn’t get another one anyway, since she moved to Maryland, but at least it wasn’t because I embarrassed myself, unless that getting a job in Maryland thing was an excuse…

Obligatory Katy Perry Pic of the Day

  1. August 15, 2012 at 3:14 am

    LOL was she moving to Maryland to get away from you? 😉 Another great post. I shared on Facebook.

    • August 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks. You never know what lengths women will go to in order to get away from me.

      • August 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm

        LOL yes, hey I linked you on facebook, any extra page views?

      • August 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

        Yeah, it looks like I got some views from your Facebook friends.

  2. August 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    In all fairness to you, I can’t use chopsticks very well either< BUT, now I'm going to have to re-evaluate my pencil holding skills…THANKS J. 🙂 Funny piece. I have one coming up, Dating in your Forties. No holds barred. 🙂

    • August 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. That blog sounds good. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. August 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I can use chopsticks but often have problems with a fork. Wonder what that says about me? Very funny entry, glad I found you on Bloggers.

  1. August 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

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