Silly Grins

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Playing Chopsticks

Sometimes it's the little things that we overlook, brush aside, or ignore... sometimes it's the little things we treat as not worth our time.

Sometimes we're too easily dismissive.

When it counts most.

Like once upon a Monday morning.

Not the best time of the week. For most people.

Still, that's no excuse for showing up late... if at all.

To demonstrate this point, the 'teacher' who had been asked to lead the class, tried to get a very important point across. About the vale of listening and paying attention, instead of brushing aside what might seem to be inconvenient... trivial concerns.

Maybe it was a bit extreme, the material, but he figured something had to be done about the attitudes. He still took his job seriously.

This morning was not much different than any other Monday morning. He was starting on time. Doesn't everybody?

No, this morning was not much different than any other morning...except for maybe his Cheshire cat grin.

Maybe they sensed he was up to something?

The ones who did, the ones who were paying attention, they were right.

Something was up.

And that up was about to come down.

After the chime had sounded...

the sound of a door being locked echoed down an empty hallway. 

After roll call, he reached into his briefcase, pulled out a bundle of disposable chopsticks, and started to separate them.

Now they were curious.  They?  His students.

His students were curious. 

His students were curious because he began breaking them (the chopsticks... though he could imagine himself caning a few of the more hard-headed pupils)... he began breaking them along the shallow notches he'd carefully measured the night before. Measured with oh-so-steady hands.  He then passed around the broken bits of wood.

Now that grin, turned into a smile.

And this simple tune began playing in his head. As he spoke to his captive audience.

And he asked, "Can you tell me what you have in your hands? What do you have?"

The older student, the one with remarkably good English from leisurely time abroad, replied, "It's a chopstick... or part of a chopstick?"

"Thank you. Thank you for your response. Very good. You're right. It's a broken chopstick. Disposable. A 'foreign body'."

"How long do you think that is?"

"No, metric is fine."

"Wow...some of your guesses are pretty close. Impressive."

"Now, I would like you to listen carefully. It might not seem like much, but you'll need pay attention. You'll need to pay attention as I read to really get this piece. Consider this our Monday morning warm-up exercise."

In a flat, but radio-clear voice, the officially under-qualified native speaker began to read this.

After finishing, he asked "Well, how long was it? Do you get the point of the story, can you tell why it is so important?"

And for a moment, the class was deathly quiet.

After all, they were first year med students.


You never know what's possible unless you at least try.

To be fair, it's hard to compare, 'cause it is still greater than 0.4.



  1. Not shocked that the judge let him off the hook like that. Chopsticks into the brain... makes me cringe thinking about it. There was an inmate at a prison in Fuchu that killed himself by falling onto a chopstick and driving it into his brain.


    1. Fuchu? Looks like it's making the news again, courtesy of Dr.A.

      And to have thought that only real doctors weren't held accountable.

  2. One of the high schools in our district uses the Westminster Quarters as their chime to signify what time the period begins.

    And do you remember Astro-Pops? I used to love eating them while skillfully making into the sharpest shiv I possibly could without the pop breaking or bending. Sometime around high school age they started selling them inverted because kids were being injured by sugary shivs.

    1. Astro-Pops? Vaguely. They were forbidden. Not because of their shank/shiv-ability though.

      One of our junior high teachers used to taunt us, saying that we were just like Pavlov's dogs when we hear the bell. I think we were just excited to be getting out of his class. He was an English teacher with a lot of repressed feelings. Rumor has is he loosened up a little before he died in terms of being true to his self. He didn't always treat us like dogs.

      Westminster Quarters kind of makes me feel a bit uneasy for some strange reason.