Thursday, January 19, 2006

After many stressful years living in the U.S., playing the all-American money game, I am finally resigned to a relaxed, peaceful life in Asia. Alas, part of this relaxed, peaceful life is contingent upon humor and when you live in a foreign country; definitions of humor are decidedly different.

Thai humor only mildly amuses me, so I turn to more familiar sources such as the Bangkok Post newspaper, which is Internationally inclined and in English. The Bangkok Post has many familiar contributors to its humor columns, such as Dave Barry, Roger Crutchley and other local favorites.

The “funny pages” as I am used to calling them, offer more comic relief, peddling my familiar favorites such as Garfieldâ, Peanuts®, Monty®, and Bizarro®.

But all this humor is not sufficient. So, I have included a new source of humor to my daily readings…”Miss Manners,” Judith Martin’s widely read column on the code of (supposed) correct conduct according to (ahem) social standards. Martha Stewart is old news, so I’m tramping on new ground now.

Knife or fork? A recent reader wrote in to Ms. Manners, in a quandary over whether a knife should be used on a normal broken salad, especially with a whole cherry tomato and a salad plate included in the equation.

The reader states she (he?) was taught that a salad fork must be used to cut the salad, but their “partner” says that as a cherry tomato tends to scoot across the table when attempting to cut it with a salad fork, a knife should be used. The reader adds, “Can a knife be used if the lettuce is not sufficiently torn?”

Jesus freaking Christ!

After I stopped laughing and rolling about on the floor, I read Ms. Manners answer…

”Miss Manners recommends dropping whatever else you are doing to go hunt for salad knives. It will not be easy, but the small knife, also sometimes called a tea knife or a youth knife, is the only correct one to use. You need them, because you are at an impasse. You are right that meat knives should never be used on salad, but your partner is right that one has to defend oneself against inconsiderate and lazy salad-makers.”

To knife or not to knife, that is the question. Tis…

My God! Who are these people?

I try very hard…(okay, I try sorta hard) to value other people’s opinions and cultural differences, but there are just some things that I consider weird…and Ms. Manner’s column exposes a good majority of them.

Another article is titled: “Use Patience.” The patient writer states that her husband maintains that it is rude to blow on hot food to cool it.

Hey, sounds cool to me…(pun intended)

However, the husband’s troubled spouse maintains that her husband’s practice of cooling the food by inhaling as he takes a bite is rude, since he makes a slurping noise while doing so. She goes on to point out the inherent dangers of children practicing this, “inhaling food” practice, since they can accidentally ingest large pieces of food whilst inhaling.

The answer? Ms. Manners states that both parties are wrong and neither should inhale or exhale on their victuals, but rather have patience and wait until their dishes have cooled.

Lord help me.

I use any convenient knife I can find to cut salad, meat or anything else on my plate, and I use (horror) mason jars for drinking glasses. When knives are not convenient, I rip things apart with my bare hands or cut them with my pair of industrial bandage scissors. I have no clue what a tea or youth knife looks like, nor would I ever purchase one if I saw one.

When food is hot, I blow on it, inhale when eating it, and even go as far as turning on a nearby fan to further cool said grub.

Miss Manners, my hat is off to you in regards to your getting paid to actually answer this obvious foolishness and walk away unscathed. I will continue to monitor your column for my regular humor boost, and I suggest you continue to laugh all the way to the bank.



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