I Know What Chicken Tastes Like

May 27, 1997  Tuesday

I have been a graduate for little more than a week, yet I await my genesis (dramatic flare: check).  I am like a vessel, waiting in the harbor to undergo my most dynamic voyage yet. It is only a matter of waiting for the tide to go out.

I have already been to the town library today, but it was still closed.  Last year at this time I read a detective novel entitled Clandestine, which I took with me to Orlando.  Let’s just say it was grittier than Dick Tracy, but the story was totally enveloping.  That’s what I should do again: get lost in a world of great fiction writing.  Before walking home I continuing another block until I was before the giant, three-story brick building that had been my grade school.  Most of the details are gone, now that it has been turned into apartments, but the building itself leaves a powerful reminder.  I don’t know exactly why I stopped, and it was eerie to chart the steps of my childhood, the well-remembered cracks in the sidewalk, or following the circumference of the unique nooks and crannies of  the century-old building. As I visited these places, several flashbacks came to me.  One was of me, walking with Mom along the sidewalk. I must have been extremely young, because my hand had to raised high up to grasp onto hers.  By the playground I then saw myself, standing before the other kids on the swings, going through a stand-up routine.  Some time I would like to go through the halls of the building as well.  I believe they would all be good memories, especially on the lower floors.

I know what chicken tastes like.  This statement may seem odd at first, but it has a point. One of the greatest gifts of life is experiencing something for the first time.  Do you remember the first time you sampled a strawberry, or heard the tale of Snow White?  When I look at a menu, here in central Illinois, I’ve noticed that I see things that are all well and fine, but little that really appeals to me because I can already imagine its taste, like it was already chewed and consumed.  What I wish is that I could do so many things for the first time.  How wondrous it would be to taste orange juice for the first time again.  There are nothing wrong with my long Accomplished List, but I know what to expect. I know what chicken tastes like.  To use a term, I seek a new dining experience.  Yet, it would be foolish to build this scheme around merely food.  I look at a lot of old movies, and I wish I had not yet seen them.  Imagine having Darth Vader reveal to the unknowing you that he is Luke Skywalker’s father, and you’re totally shocked by it, and walk home from the theater that night, considering all of its implications, and maybe your own family structure.  Personally, I wish I could erase all memory of Field of Dreams, and experience it for the first time, the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson standing in the Iowa moonlight.  I could go on an on forever, but you must get the point.  It could apply to music as well, or book, or places, or… We naturally become more and more accepting of something, until it loses its specialty.  That’s the world.  I just hope in the future I don’t try some exotic new dish in a far-flung region of the world and comment, “Tastes like chicken.”

Somethings, however, will never become mundane.  How could anyone become complacent with sunsets, the sound of rain and the dusty scent it sends to your nostrils, or gazing into your loved one’s eyes.  Some things don not get old.

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