The Sacrificial Tuna
Some of you may be well acquainted with my deep and abiding love of Food
, and many share it, as aptly chronicled by Megan
recently. That's what makes this evening's events so noteworthy.
Lurking around the sushi counter at Whole Foods, where they have recently instituted the annoying practice of keeping some of the rolls inside an inaccessible plastic case, I was joined by a mother and her two squirrelly children, around 7 or 8 years old.
The sushi man came to the counter. The mom and I looked at each other. I had been eyeing up a tasty-looking salmon roll, and was opening my mouth to ask for it when the smaller of the two children pointed excitedly at it. The other began hopping up and down. The first reached for the salmon roll, bending her fingers back against the plastic case in a gesture of ecstatic longing. The other held her back, still hopping.
There were only two salmon rolls in the case, and three of us: me, twitchy, and hoppy. Sushi guy looked from the mom to me and back again. Mom gestured to me in a go-ahead sort of way, and smiled.
Me (uneasily, to mom): I was going to get one of those...
Mom (smiles and kind of rolls her eyes): That's OK. You were here first.
Me: Uh, are you sure?
Twitchy (whining desperately): That one. Thaaaat ooooonnnnne....
Mom: They can share.
Me: I don't know...
Sushi guy (inwardly): What the fuck.
Me (to sushi guy): I'll take the tuna.
Hoppy (hopping faster)
Mom (relieved): Thank you!
As I walked away with tuna in hand, I felt disappointed but oddly proud. Overly proud, some might say. Tuna has a lot of mercury in it. On the other hand, I had helped nurture the burgeoning sushi love of two small children, and maybe prevented a scene. I left the store feeling noble and self-sacrificing. I really felt I had paid it forward.
Then I thought about what I had given up, a $4.99 container of supermarket sushi. What the fuck. Seriously.