Then There’s the One About the Herd of Meatballs

September 3, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

Don’t believe everything you read.  If there’s anything you might take away after reading this column, I hope you believe that simple fact.

Hmm…I think there’s something wrong with my point, but I just can’t put my finger on it.

Anyways, the point I was trying to make is about how in this day and age, the internet allows anyone who has a keyboard to write just about anything they’d like for public consumption, which makes it tougher for everyone to discern fact from fiction.

Case in point:  The mystery of the genetic robo super-chicken.

My father is a very educated and wise man.  He came to this country from China nearly penniless, and yet he’s gone on to become a respected university professor, written a text book, and owned several businesses.  He and my mother managed to raise my brother and I, support us through college and send us on our way to make our own lives.

Yet for most of his life, as with most people of his generation, when they read something in a newspaper, book, or magazine, they could usually trust that the information they were reading had been thoroughly vetted by an editor or publisher.

So you can understand how an errant e-mail might distort my dad’s “reality field”.

Let me just say, before I begin, that I did not make the following up.

Not so long ago, a friend of the family forwarded an e-mail to my dad with a disturbing report.  The e-mail, written entirely in Chinese, claimed that Kentucky Fried Chicken (now known as KFC), in an effort to cut costs and boost profit margins, had managed to genetically alter the DNA of a chicken so that these new chickens no longer had feathers, bones, a beak, wings, legs, or heads.

Essentially, KFC had created a living, breathing, full-sized chicken nugget.

Upon further investigation, I was astonished to learn that when these boneless blobs of chicken roll around vigorously in their chicken coops, they sweat honey mustard sauce.

OK, OK, I just made up that last part.  But, it’s not like after reading about this robo-chicken that someone’s going to read my little fib and say, “OK Wayne, now you’re just being silly!”

Seeing as how my father has always loved eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken (as does all of the Chan family, which probably has something to do with his DNA being passed along to all of us), he was immediately taken aback and aghast.

In fact, he was so repulsed by what he had read that it prompted him to write a letter to the president of KFC to seek out the truth.

In his letter to the president of KFC, my Dad wrote:

Dear Sir,

I have enjoyed eating KFC products for many years.  However, I am writing to you today because of an e-mail I recently received that deeply troubles me.  The claim I’ve read is that the reason Kentucky Fried Chicken has changed it’s name to KFC is because KFC no longer serves real chickens.

I would appreciate it if you would respond to these allegations so that I might be able to continue enjoying your products.

Thank you.

Surprisingly enough, KFC did manage to reply to my dad’s thoughtful letter.  In it, they assert that this rumor was an urban legend and that KFC serves the same type of chickens that we all might buy at our local markets.

Fair enough.  The only problem I have with their explanation is that it doesn’t exactly give me a vote of confidence when the last time I visited the supermarket I bought a big tube of boneless ground chicken.

A Promise to Keep – A Letter To My Daughter

August 31, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

To my beautiful girl,

It has taken me quite a while to bring myself to write you this letter.  I write this to you now in the hopes that many years from now, with a lot of hard work, patience, and no small measure of luck, this will be a faint reminder of the past.

It has been several months now since we first learned of your diagnosis.  Learning that your child has the telltale symptoms of autism has affected both your mother and I in different ways.

It has hit your mother the hardest.  I married your mother because of the way she lives her life.  She has a beautiful heart – simple, innocent and pure.  She’s worried about your future.  She’s worried about your future if and when we aren’t here to care for you.  She is sacrificing everything she has to provide for you.

While I support everything your mother is doing for you, because it will help – I see you walking down a different path.

From everything I have read about this condition, it is like each child has a door to open.  It’s a door to your consciousness, a door to your being.  It’s a door to you.

For whatever reason, God has made your door a little heavier – a little harder to unlock.  Yet with each passing day, your mother and I are pushing a little harder on the door, and some times you manage to peek your head part way through.  While it sometimes only lasts for a second, we see you struggling as hard to come out as we are trying to get in.  Yet for each of those moments, we can see that the potential and promise is worth every effort.

A few days ago you told us you wanted to watch Elmo.  Just the other day when mom asked you where her nose was, you showed her and pointed at her nose as if you had known for years.  You laughed and mom cried, yet you were both happy.

You are already a beautiful child.  I have no doubt in my mind that you will be a beautiful grownup.  I believe when all is said and done, you will surprise everyone – including me.

Regardless of what the future brings, as your Dad, I have signed on for the duration.  You should know that you will never go hungry, be without shelter, or be without love.  As long as I draw a breath and even beyond that, you will be cared for.

Let me be more specific.

When you start walking to school on your own, try not to mind the gray-haired fellow hiding behind every bush or sign behind you.  He just wants you to show him the way.

When you start to read and run into one of those hard words, come to me.  I probably won’t know it either but at least I’ll help you find the dictionary.

When you start to play soccer, softball, or make the cheerleading squad, try not to mind the gray-haired fellow jumping up and down in the stands.  He is your cheerleader.

If there is any time you can’t do something even when all your friends can, let me know.  You can do it.

These are some of the promises your mother and I have made.   I am sure we’ll make up some more along the way.

The door will open soon enough.  Good morning, sweetheart.  Wake up, come out and play.  It’s beautiful out here.