Eat your dinner

“No, no, no, I don’t want any”, but it was like she couldn’t hear me when the serving spoon came down on my plate with a click, click, click as my mother tried to dislodge a glob of Aunt Ruthie’s pineapple tuna surprise casserole onto my plate.

“It’s delicious”, she said.

“Then why don’t you have any”, I asked?

“I am having some (about a tablespoonful). It’s just that it’s so rich and I’m trying to lose a little weight”.

She thought that I didn’t notice that she had positioned her little serving so that it could be covered by a dinner roll or that green beans with the fried onions stuff.

“I don’t want it”.

“Well, young man, you’ll sit there until you eat it.  Children are starving in China, you know”.

Children are starving in China?  What does that have to do with Aunt Ruthie’s casserole?  They’re half a world away.  Let’s see, if I don’t eat it they starve? So, I guess, if I do eat it they’re okay?  I didn’t seem to make any sense but then what did I know?

With this connection between the Chinese and me I thought about those corny old movies where people appear in the sky at the end of the film.  I could just see a vision of a Chinese kid in the sky smiling and waving to me as if to say, “thanks for lunch, American buddy (but please, next time no pineapple tuna surprise).”

During the last presidential election most of the campaign and news and debates seemed to focus on the economy.  What had happened to the nation’s economy, what could be done to strengthen it and what needed to be done to create new jobs?  To show just how important the jobs topic was Vice President Biden said, “…tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.”  Jobs are pretty darn important.

The arguments went back and forth with the usual statements: the loss of jobs was caused by greedy corporations; no, the loss was caused by greedy unions; no, it was Walmart’s demand for lower costs from their vendors or maybe it was because the American people want lower prices.  It seemed that all of the arguments about the movement of jobs to China centered on the cause being on this side of the Pacific (I was actually happy to see this since I started to wonder if I should fear for my safety if the American people ever discovered who was really responsible—I could almost see torch carrying mobs in the streets).

Greedy corporations, greedy unions, Walmart and American consumers may have forced jobs to China but to have those jobs sent to Asia meant that China needed to have a large, strong and healthy population to receive and work those jobs that were being sent over.  A starving population can’t make quality products and that’s where I came in.  I did eventually eat my Aunt Ruthie’s pineapple tuna surprise casserole which made that Chinese kid in the sky smile and wave and then, wouldn’t you know it, that darn kid grew up healthy and strong  and took those American jobs.

My fault.  A nine year old Ohio kid should have done the patriotic thing and just sat there and not eaten that casserole. Blame me.  My bad.



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