Chopstick City

“Do you have any chopsticks?”

“Sir, this is a delicatessen.”

I like that old Seinfeld routine where Jerry praises the Chinese for staying with the chopsticks. He goes on to wonder whether when the Chinese have a funeral they try to dig a hole in the ground with a couple pool cues instead of a shovel.

But I dig the chopsticks. I have an eating disorder where if food is placed in front of me I wolf it down. I have waged some mighty battles with all you can eat buffets. Sometimes I win and sometimes the buffet wins, but damage is always inflicted on both sides. I have realized the only way to slow myself down is to use a less effective eating utensil than a spoon or fork. The chopsticks are perfect. You manage to get most of the food off your plate, but it takes time and concentration to transport it to your mouth.

Because of these concerns for my health for years any time I frequented an Asian restaurant I asked for chopsticks. But recently I have begun asking at other genres of restaurant. Most taco stands give you a strange look, so I translate my request into Spanish, “Tiene palillo chino?” I get turned down more often than the guy with the open sore on his lip at the bar. But just the other day I was at a high class establishment. I asked the waiter for chopsticks.

“One second, sir.” he said.

This was going to become my favorite restaurant. They had their priorities in order, but instead of getting wooden sticks, a pianist went to the piano and started playing that song one finger at a time. Chopsticks.

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