Did you know our mother was on the verge of eating a scorpion, and that it was only due to my prudent intervention that she didn’t?
I had all these intentions of eating something crazy when we went to what is popularly called ‘Snack Street’, a collection of little side streets in Qingdao with vendors offering everything from sea urchins and lizards to grubs and other indescribable objects. Maybe I would have a fried grasshopper, or a starfish. Because, you know, I am an adventurous youth and I like to do exciting and unique things. But after walking around the alleyways observing the squishy, tentacly, oozy, and/or antennaed specimens, my enthusiasm for the exotic dimmed. “You know what Mom? I actually think I’m good”. My stomach was feeling decidedly queasy, and I didn’t have anything to prove, after all. I was confident in my adventurousness. At least...that’s what I told myself.
After a while of wandering we got to a stand that some of the craziest things yet; and worst of all, there were scorpions. Three different sizes – big, bigger, and the kind you see on horror movies. They came pre-fried on a stick; unless, of course, you wanted to pick out your own live produce from the open tubs full of scorpions at your feet. Now, a single Auberry-sized scorpion gives me the heebie jeebies, much less a whole tubful of monsters as big as my hand that were currently devouring live insects that had just been fed to them. Ugh. After watching in fascination a while, we walked on.
“So Mom, if you were to eat something, what would you pick?”
“Oh, I’m going to go for a scorpion.”
I kind of laughed because I assumed she was joking; but when I looked over at her I saw she was, inexplicably, serious.
“Mom...no!” I gasped in horror.
“Yeah, come on!” She said.
“Oh no! Heck no!” And then out of morbid curiosity, “What size would you get??”
“Um, one of the biggest ones probably...”
“Oh Mom, NO!!”
As you know from the first sentence, this story ends happily – Mom did not eat a scorpion, thank heavens. I had to use all my powers of logic and rhetoric to dissuade her...because, you know, I am a responsible adult and I don’t let my mother do outrageous and irrational things. But after walking out of that alleyway, I wasn’t quite as confident in my adventurousness. At least...not in comparison to my mother.