The Deli Dilemma

DeliDilemmaPostLunchtime sounds the Clarion, beckoning students, faculty, staff, visitors, and a wide variety of interesting human beings to congregate in student unions and cafeterias. The excited mixture of sounds, aromatic food, laughter, displays of frustration… a place where all human emotions blend to create an aura of bliss for some and chaos for others.

It was during one of these moments that I wandered into the Student Union between classes to enjoy a quick lunch. I joined a queue at the deli sandwich station in anticipation of ordering a sumptuous Ruben.

A colleague in front of me was a visiting Asian professor who was relatively unacquainted with the scene in which he was immersed. He quizzically examined the chalk board, which displayed the names of a variety of sandwiches including “belly busters”, “chewy wraps”, and “spine tinglers”, among others.

Thanks to the enthusiasm and efficiency of the student servers (who were also the creators of savory delights), the line was moving rapidly.

An inexperienced freshman server, who seemed eager to please, shouted “Next!”. The boy’s shocking red hair and freckled face gleamed while projecting a clownish appearance.  A canoe-like white cap plowed through the center of his head extending globs of red hair on both sides.

The polite and somewhat insecure professor, feeling rushed and understandably confused by the number and variety of sandwiches, was forced to make an uninformed sandwich decision.

“Peanut butter and jerry sandwich,” responded the dismayed and puzzled professor.

“Peanut butter and what?” was the immediate retort.

“Peanut butter and strawberry jerry,” whispered the beleaguered customer hoping that this would clarify the impending impasse.

“Wheat, rye, white or bagel?”

Further confused and clearly overwhelmed, he squeaked out “rye”.

“Nuked or raw?” The inquisition continued. Nuked was the questionable default choice.

“Coming right up!” the freckled face chirped.

Soon, the student presented the microwaved disaster on a plate, bearing what appeared to be a seedy looking board floating in an algae laden swamp.  It closely resembled the waste of yesterday’s lunch.

The newbie chef, who seemed to regret posing the “nuked” option, attempted to make amends by cheerfully asking, “How is it?”

Confused and not amused, the Asian professor absorbed the shock of the sandwich result. Upon reflection of this delicate situation, and driven by the desire for measured retaliation, he quietly gave birth to, “Ahso”, heard by all in the immediate area.

The freckled young student, unsure of if the professor just called him an a**hole or if he was simply sighing, “Ah, so” to the unexpected sandwich result, turned red in the cheeks and slowly backed away from the scene and jumped back behind the sandwich counter.

So much for international understanding in the student cafeteria.

 

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading about the time Old Tone begged his mom to make him gnocchi; and make him gnocchi she did.

If you want to read more about miscommunication among cultures, you might like this story about popcorn, peanut butter, and one very confused Polish family.

Old Tone About Old Tone

Old Tone is a widowed 84 year old retired University administrator and Graduate School professor; one married daughter, four grandchildren, enjoys the Arts (music, theater, painting), Etymology, travel, reading, loves eating and cooking, limited gardener, devoted Catholic, outdoors man. Banks robbed and parole records available upon request.

Old Tone About Old Tone

Old Tone is a widowed 84 year old retired University administrator and Graduate School professor; one married daughter, four grandchildren, enjoys the Arts (music, theater, painting), Etymology, travel, reading, loves eating and cooking, limited gardener, devoted Catholic, outdoors man. Banks robbed and parole records available upon request.

  • TheBigMilkshake

    I enjoyed the story, but laughed out loud at the bio. Certainly the best personal add I’ve ever seen. If I were a single woman, I would certainly want a date with Old Tone.

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