Thursday, July 15, 2004


I ate in a buffet-style Chinese restaurant over the weekend. I'm the kind of guy who always likes to try something new, unless it's something that looks like it may have been featured in a Japanese horror film before it was killed for my eating pleasure. You know, things like lobster, crab, shrimp, eel, squid, etc. Yuck.

So, there I am, prowling the salad table first, intending to fill up a bit with low-calorie delicacies before I advance to the, er, meatier selections on another buffet table. Lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, cucumbers, all find their way to my plate. Then, I look for the crowning glory, the dressing that will set off this glorious conglomeration of rabbit food and make it tickle my taste buds.

Aha! Next to the thousand island dressing, the French dressing, the blue cheese dressing, I see something new. It has a luscious ruby colour with specks of white in it. It looks familiar somehow, and it is just so pretty and unlike anything I have ever put on a salad before, that I scoop some up and ladle it over my salad.

Spread over the green and red and white vegetables, the ruby dressing looks even better, so I ladle on some more. Lots more. Finally satisfied, I head to the table to join my wife who is waiting patiently for me there.

Anticipation. Don't you find that the waiting, before you actually get to indulge in something, is sometimes the most delicious part of the experience? My wait is finally over. I take a forkful of vegetable from my salad plate, taking care that the dressing is well-represented there for my culinary pleasure. It's new, it's exciting, I can't wait for my taste buds to break out in a chorus of 'Isn't it Lovely,' as the delicious concoction passes into my mouth and onto my tongue. But...

What the hell? Damn. It's seafood dressing. You know, ketchup and ground horseradish. The stuff you dip shrimp in. That's what is now all over my salad.

Now, if you were in my position what would you do?

► Run screaming to the bathroom and upchuck?

► Calmly explain the problem to a waitress, ask them to label the dressings properly or better yet, move the seafood dresssing to a more appropriate table. Then go for a refill.

► Hire a lawyer and try to sue for enough damages to retire on.

What did I do? I ate it. I ate the whole salad, seafood dressing and all. After all, I was looking for something new, wasn't I? And I got it, didn't I?

And it wasn't bad.

What is the point of this story? Life is like this little story. It has its twists and turns. Sometimes things don't turn out as planned. Sometimes it's someone else's fault. More often, it's our own fault.

I believe in rolling with the punches. We can't go through life blaming everyone else for everything. Even if it's only something as trivial as putting seafood sauce on a salad table.

I didn't even tell my wife what I had done. She might have laughed at me. It wouldn't have been the first time.

So, dear reader, laugh if you will. I'm used to it. Just don't sue me for writing a story that you thought might be of some great import, only to discover that it was merely a lowly parable about life and choices.

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