Cultural expectations not always what we expect

Published 10:27 am Wednesday, May 19, 2021

I finally decided it was time to drop a few pounds so I went on down to the gym to get started. I jumped on the treadmill and walked until I began to see tweedy birds flying around my head and then decided it was time to call it a day.

On the way out of the gym, I saw they were giving away free donuts. This struck me as odd.

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I just spent the last 15 minutes getting myself in shape and now the very people that I trusted to get me in shape were trying to derail my fitness plan. After all, if I was able to pass up a free donut I wouldn’t be here trying to lose weight to begin with.

Later on that afternoon, I wiped off the Ben Gay from my legs and ankles and went to my dentist appointment. After spending an hour getting my teeth scraped and cleaned, I walked out only to find that they were giving away free candy and lollipops.

I began to notice a trend here. What’s next — the cardiologist giving away fried Twinkies? My life insurance agent giving me free cigarettes? Seems kind of odd to me.

Later on in the week I decided I had earned a treat and went in to a place that advertised authentic Italian food. Once inside, I was greeted by a man with “Junior” printed on his name tag.

Granted, I have not been to Italy but I highly doubt they have many people named Junior there. Normally the juniors of the world would probably be able to scrape up a fine barbecue meal, but Italian, not so much. I made my exit and decided on some Chinese food. When I entered, I saw that the place was run by a man named Hector.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that preparing Chinese food is probably not a huge thing in Mexico. However, by this time I was getting pretty hungry so I decided to eat the Chinese food and take my chances.

It didn’t take long to realize that decision was a mistake. I’m no expert but are egg rolls supposed to have salsa in them?

As I sat in my car eating my food and thinking about the cultural trickery that I had just witnessed, I began to think back to another time I was tricked with my meal time.

When I was small, one of my favorite cartoons was Popeye. I can remember at one meal I had a nice helping of spinach on my plate that I refused to eat. I was pretty sure that I would not or ever eat that spinach.

However, my mother pulled a trick out of her sleeve. She brought me my spinach on a place with Popeye’s picture on it and a glass of milk with Popeye’s picture on the side. My mother said, “Eat your spinach and you’ll be strong like Popeye.”

I began eating and inhaled every bite. Then she said,” Drink your milk, Popeye is drowning in milk.” I rushed into action and downed the milk in order to save Popeye.

It was then that I began to laugh and realized that the cultural stereotypes that I expected were in my own mind.

Why can’t a redneck cook Italian food or a Mexican cook Chinese? It’s a big beautiful world and we can be or do whatever we want.

As for me, I have Peking duck tacos to eat and I can’t wait.