by cheri block sabraw
Funny people are hard to come by.
With over 5000 former students in my mental Rolodex, only three types of kids come to mind: brilliant ones, defiant ones, and funny ones.
One of the funniest students I have instructed is Albert Guh. We met when he was a little 7th grader and reconnected later when he had grown into a big junior in high school.
I always think of Albert this time of year when the wild turkeys come for Thanksgiving.
Albert was the first person I know to turn a nationality into a verb.
Most of my students are either Chinese, Korean, or East Indian. Before every Thanksgiving holiday, I ask them about their holiday plans. Invariably the discussion leads to the food.
Does your mom cook a turkey?
Yes, Mrs. Sabraw, she does, but being a Chinese mother, she Chinese-a-sizes everything we eat, Albert said, waiting for the reaction.
How does she do this to the turkey? I ask.
Well if we have turkey, she adds Chinese spices and some noodles. My mom is from Taiwan and everything American that she cooks, she Chinese-a-sizes. Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, you name it. She puts soy sauce in hamburgers and stir-fry on the pizza. Albert liked my reaction.
My East Indian students found Albert’s story their own.
Oh yes, my mom does the same thing, commented Divya. She puts curry in the stuffing.
Yummmm, I said.
Today, I came home with my 31-pound turkey that I hope will feed the 27 people who will come to our house for Thanksgiving.
As I drove in, other turkeys had arrived in their ironic time frame.
Up on the hill, an Asian Fusion occurred.
As I snapped the picture above, their feathery fans turned to stunning onyx Chinese fans, lined with gold and I thought of Albert Guh.