20130209 Chinese New Year BBQ.
At a Chinese New Year barbecue a few friends were talking about their career plans. They are all teachers at a ‘prestigious international school’ and have impressive credentials in regards to the places they have worked and their long and continuing education. The fact that this is known is part of the social customs of Americans. While most other civilised societies consider the amount of money earned in a year to be a matter only discussed with an accountant, a solicitor while making a will and maybe your closest friend, the Americans seem to ask this question as way of quickly establishing a pecking order among colleagues.
One particularly bright chap regaled the assembled merry-makers with tales of working for and with such great minds as Jacob Goldman and for companies that have brought amazing and innovative products and inventions such as ‘the wheel’, double-sided sticky tape and the photocopy machine. In an effort to counter his like-minded science teacher and best friend, another teacher told his story of his involvement with the creation of the Internet while studying at Berkley and the life-saving research into the American obsession with ridding the world of the scourge of the remote probability of eating an egg contaminated with salmonella.
Sitting around a fire, just like our early ancestors, holding a piece of dead animal on a stick in the glowing embers it became apparent that as a civilisation, in terms of social customs, we have not progressed that far.
After all was said about their education, their research into lasers, radiation and optical physics, the brightest teacher of them all, the one who had worked for xerox and who currently held 4 masters degrees in physics and education, considered his primitive meal slowly roasting on the end of a stick by the heat of a open fire and asked a simple question: “How can you tell when chicken is cooked?”
The term “prestigious international school” appeared on the Wikipedia entry with the conspicuous footnote of “citation needed” and had since been changed.
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