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On The Chopping Block Over Chopsticks

| Learning | November 10, 2014

(When I was in grade five, I was obsessed with learning as much as possible about all of Asia. One day, to surprise me, my mom decides to pack my lunch, and, when I open it, I find sushi, spring rolls, mango salad, dumplings, and a thermos of green tea, and, even better, my mom has packed in a pair of chopsticks. The only problem is, because the packaging is so big I need to bring two bags, but I don’t care. So, it’s lunchtime. I’m unpacking my food and I’m about to eat when a teacher, who I’m convinced has an issue with me, comes over.)

Teacher: “And what do we have here?”

Me: “It’s a special lunch.”

Teacher: “Well, I don’t see why you need two lunch bags. Pick one, and the other one can go into your backpack.”

Me: “But… I have food in both of them…”

Teacher: “Choose!”

(After hesitation, I unload one bag, put it in my bag, and get back to my meal. I pull out my chopsticks and I’m about to start eating, when the teacher comes running over.)

Teacher: “Excuse me!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am?”

Teacher: “This isn’t China! Here in Canada you eat with a fork!”

Me: “But… I didn’t bring a fork.”

Teacher: “Don’t lie! Now, I’m going to do another round, and when I come back, you’d better put those away and have a fork, otherwise you’ll be in big trouble.”

(She leaves and I start crying.)

Me: “I’m going to be in so much trouble!”

Friend: “It’s going to be okay. Eating with chopsticks isn’t illegal. There isn’t even a rule!”

(I nod, and go back to eating. Five minutes later, the teacher comes back.)

Teacher: “[My Name]! Office! I told you to use a fork!”

Me: “But I don’t have a for—”

Teacher: “Office! Pack up your lunch and go to the office!”

(Crying uncontrollably, I pack up and head to the office, and the teacher comes with me. When the principal comes out, she looks at me confused.)

Principal: “[Teacher], is there a problem?”

Teacher: “Yes! [My Name] has been very disrespectful to me!”

Principal: “How so?”

Teacher: “She refused to listen to me!”

Me: *crying again* “I was just eating my lunch.”

Teacher: “Tell her the whole story!”

Me: “Well, I didn’t know you had a rule about eating with chopsticks. Or about bringing more than one lunch bag. If I knew that, I would have brought a fork instead of these.” *pulls out chopsticks to show her*

Principal: “Oh, what beautiful chopsticks! I’ve never seen anything like them, especially the yin and the yang on each one! [Teacher], we don’t have a rule about chopsticks!”

Teacher: *going red* “You don’t?”

Principal: “No, we don’t. Nor do we have a limit on how many lunch bags someone can bring. Now, [My Name], you can—”

(Bell rings.)

Teacher: “Well, bye!” *runs out*

Principal: “You can finish your lunch before you go to class. I’ll give you permission.”

(Not long after that, the teacher was fired. My friends and I joke that it was because she struck a student for bringing in a durian.)

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