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How I Mastered Chopsticks

I posed for this drawing. (image public domain)

I’ve told this you before – I don’t believe in bragging. That’s one of the cool things about me.

I passed this idea on to my son. Not the idea that I’m cool, but that bragging isn’t. He lives by a code that says that it is better to show people what he can do instead of telling them. He’s a wise man.

Unfortunately, there are some things that I do well that don’t lend themselves to showing you here. Because of that, I’ve had to tell you that I am the King Of Parallel Parking and that I am exceptionally good at peeling oranges. I’m going to have to go against my principles and brag to you about something else I’m good at.

I Can Feed Myself In Asian Rim Countries

Chopsticks. Not the piano tune called chopsticks; I’m talking about the eating utensils common to east Asian countries. I am really good at using chopsticks.

There was a time in my life that I couldn’t say that I was adept with chopsticks. If I wanted to finish eating dinner before breakfast, I had to have a fork. A fork or perhaps a knife to sharpen my chopsticks into tools that I understood how to use. My fingers just couldn’t make the sticks work.

That time has passed; I’m really good with them. Small bits of food, no problem. That stray piece of rice? Up and off the plate in one quick try. The only thing I haven’t mastered eating with chopsticks is soup; give me time, I’ll find a way.

The aim of my chopsticks is true. I’m surgically precise. My hand is sure. No water chestnut is safe from the mighty kung-fu grip of my bamboo eating-sticks.

Some who read this will understand the pride that I feel in being able to say that I’ve mastered chopsticks because they, too, have them licked. Others will wonder if I could teach them to do what I now do instinctively. No. No I can’t.

When I Say That I Can’t, What I Mean Is That I Can’t

I love pho. Haven’t figured out how to eat the broth with sticks, yet. (image via j.nguyen CCbySA3.0)

Given that I’m bragging about my skills, my seeming to refuse to teach you about chopsticks might seem uncool. But things are not what they seem. I’m not refusing to tell you how I do it. It’s just that I don’t know how or why I’ve gone from incompetence to mastery overnight.

Yes, it was that simple. The last time I tried chopsticks before I became the best in the world at using them, I was helpless to feed myself. The next time that I picked up a pair of sticks I realized that I was not just competent with them, I was an artist. No moment where I saw the light, no epiphany. It just became as if I’d been born with sticks in hand.

As a person who has total mastery of something that eludes so many, I wish you luck in your battle to gain what I have.

And when you are successful, remember, it isn’t cool to brag.

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10 Comments on “How I Mastered Chopsticks”

  1. Blogdramedy says:

    Since your retirement you seem to have developed quite the talent for eating.
    With a knife and fork.
    With your fingers.
    Now with chopsticks.

    Tell us, Oma. What’s next?

    *sits waiting wide-eyed*

  2. kategladstone says:

    Re:
    “The aim of my chopsticks are true” —
    The agreement of your grammar aren’t.

    • omawarisan says:

      See, and I struggled with that. Damn it. I considered using is, and then fell into the trap of chopsticks being plural, forgetting that what is true is my aim, not the sticks.

      I apologize to you and Elvis Costello for muffing that.

  3. I was all set to learn how to use these dang things and then … no joy! My only hope that is the chopstick fairy will sprinkle the same dust on me she sprinkled on you and I will learn how to use them before I expire. Like Chinese food with no MSG.

  4. List of X says:

    Impressive, and I will be even more impressed if you master peeling oranges with chopsticks while parallel parking.

  5. Yes, I do know what you mean! A certain dexterity just ‘clicks’ and then you are master of it.

  6. I do not think I’ll ever be able to hold them properly, much less feed myself with them. If I had to rely on them, I would surely starve.


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