When you do something right once, there is a hopeful indication you might…
Wait. I’ll do that tomorrow. Instead…
“Regrets Around Food”
I’ll keep this short and simple. The recollection hovered around as I wrote yesterday’s post and it will not receive peace till I let it come out. Or so it insists.
There’s a chance these things don’t matter to anyone but me. Still, I harbor the hope that, though the specifics are alien to you, it will rekindle some unresolved memory in your life. Think: A personal issue, residing in a coma. Suddenly awakening, because something reminded you of it. Which, for me, was yesterday’s post.
The entire trauma around food preferences and their contorting consequence on one’s everyday responses sounds, in retrospect, theoretical, and sometimes, I fear, “theoretical” may be synonymous with “I think I’ll skip this”, the “this” being a motif I enjoy that lacks wider appreciation.
This time, it’s different.
What I am offering today is an example, wherein the theoretical became practical. And the practical became paralyzing.
Returned to mind writing yesterday’s post is a situation I have regretted for some fifty-plus years. That’s a long time to go “Whoops.”
Okay, here it is.
When I was nineteen years old, attending my second year at the University of Toronto, I won a two hundred-and-fifty dollar prize for Philosophy. Don’t ask me how. I just answered the questions on the exam. I guess a lot of them were right.
Although hardly a fortune, the award covered more than half the tuition – of four hundred-and-eighty dollars – for my third year of university. (The remainder, paid for by counseloring at camp.)
Okay, so I’m the winner of the – I am making this up – “The Digby Huffington Prize for Undergraduate Philosophy.” Which was great.
Until I received a call from Digby Huffington himself.
My heart pounded thunderously as I trudged to the phone. I’d had no thoughts beyond taking the money. Now, I was “Voice-to-Voice” with the august source of my pecuniary windfall.
His voice was dignified and refined, reflecting a Canadian cultural elite, defined as, “Not me, or anyone I knew.”
I immediately felt small.
He congratulated me on my award – which was actually his award – and I no doubt said “Thank you”, wanting to sound as gratefully appreciative as I was. More importantly, I wanted desperately to get off the phone.
Before that transpired, however, I would endure the reason – beyond personal congratulations – for the call.
Which was this.
On behalf of his wife – possibly Eunice or Felicity – and himself, Digby Huffington, as was apparently traditional, was inviting the current recipient of “The Digby Huffington Prize for Undergraduate Philosophy” to tea, scheduled for an upcoming Saturday afternoon.
Consistent with my culinary peculiarities, my immediate reaction to this surprise invitation was,
“What are they going to serve?”
Although unfamiliar with the included offerings of the traditional “Tea”, my mind flashed on “Egg Sandwiches” – which, mentioned yesterday, I had difficulty with, or its popular alternative, “Ham and Cheese,” which, for religious purposes, is off the menu.
I immediately panicked.
“I’m sorry,” I nervously replied to the invitation. “I will not be able to attend.”
Subsequently adding, pulling an excuse out of the air,
“I think I have a Bar Mitzvah that day.”
I could hear… I don’t know what I could hear… confusion, annoyance, a generous benefactor considering stopping payment on a check… Whatever it was, Digby Huffington did not take the rejection easily. Neither did I, though the “discomfort inducement” was my fault and not his.
You may not find this believable because it’s crazy. But truth be told, I turned down an honoring invitation to tea because I was worried about the food.
As I said yesterday, you do not have to visit some distant, impoverished country to offend people by refusing to join them in a meal.
You can be an incredible idiot without leaving your house.