A blog by Josh
Dad used to hate it when my brothers and I were squeamish about stuff. If we found a hair in our dinner at a restaurant and didn’t want to eat the food, he’d roll his eyes, tell us to pick the hair out of the food and just eat it. If we found a bug in our food, he’d sigh, tell us we should be thankful to have food, and make us eat the rest of it. Whenever that happened, I’d choke down the rest of the meal pushing back my gag reflex as I pictured the wriggling bug drowning and dying in the food I was now supposed to be thankful for. Of course, Dad never found bugs or hairs in his food.
Not long after we moved to Indonesia, I found a dead ant in my rice during dinner. Dad made me eat all of the rice anyway. This made me so angry that I started hyperventilating. I was in fifth grade and didn’t want to be in Indonesia. Dad was the one who’d made me move halfway around the world and now he wanted me to eat food with bugs in it?
“Not cool, Dad!” I wanted to scream. I think resentment makes your balls grow because I decided that it was finally time to give him a taste of his own medicine and I didn’t care if I got in trouble or not (note to parents: beware of your middle child).
The next day, I spent a couple of hours catching about twenty of the biggest, blackest ants I could find on our little, front lawn and putting them in a little tupperware bowl. After I had all I needed, I brought them to the kitchen. David and Ko joined me there. The three of us giggled and cackled like witches about to poison an apple for Snow White or something.
“Why are you bringing those in here?” she demanded. We told her to leave us alone and to get us a package of ramen noodles. Ko boiled a small pot of water on the stove and I added the chicken flavoring packet from the ramen to the water. We got the maid to cut up some celery and onions and then we dropped them into the soup base. David helped me put the ants into the soup. After a couple of minutes we stirred everything together and turned off the stove. Most of the ants floated on the surface.
David got Dad to leave his desk and come down to the dining room even though he said he wasn’t hungry. He sat down at the table reluctantly and Ko brought a bowl of the steaming soup from the kitchen and set it down in front of him. Dad jumped up immediately.
“What is that?!” he exclaimed.
“You said that ants weren’t a big deal and that we should just eat them!” I said as loudly as I dared. “So you should eat some to prove that you’d do it too.” He looked at each of us for a moment and knew he had to do this to save face. Reluctantly, Dad sat down again. Ko handed him a spoon and Dad stirred the bowl of ant soup gingerly, looking more and more disgusted. We all watched him closely to make sure he didn’t try to get away with anything.
Dad finally raised a spoonful of the soup to his mouth. It had one large, black ant in it. He stared at it and then looked at us again, wincing. Then he put the spoon into his mouth as the three of us boys held our breath. Dad gulped it down loudly and jumped up, knocking the chair backward.
“Ooo HOO HOO!!!” he yelled. He ran to the kitchen for a glass of water as the three of us bent over screaming with laughter and slapping our knees. We felt invincible and I didn’t want that feeling to ever go away.
So later that afternoon, I tricked the maid into having a spoonful of the soup. She didn’t like it either. I felt triumphant again.