Friday, October 19, 2012

You are what you eat

"Teacher, teacher!" Luke says as I enter the classroom. "A man in your state ate many cockroaches and died. It's really disgusting!"     
     "What do you mean?"     
     "It was in Florida. He ate many cockroaches. They were having a 比賽."     
     "Contest," I say. "They were having a contest."     
     "Contest. It was an eat cockroach contest, and he ate too many and died."     
     "It was in Florida?"     
     "Yes, I saw in the newspaper."     
     "That's disgusting!" Cindy says. "Florida people are disgusting."     
     "It was in your state," Luke continues, delighted. "Florida people eat cockroaches! Did you eat a lot of cockroaches too?"     
     "Well, I'm not from Florida," I say. "I already told you guys. I'm from Wisconsin, in the north. My parents moved to Florida."     
     "Because they have more cockroaches there," Hank says. "Your dad wanted to eat them."     
     "No. I only go to Florida to visit," I say, but then wonder: "Luke, why did someone die from eating cockroaches? Why did he die?"     
     "I don't know. It just said he died."     
     "Are you sure it's a true story?"     
     "Yes! It's true!" he yells. "It's from FLORIDA!"     
     "Why are Florida people so crazy?" Joseph asks. "Like the man who ate people's faces."     
     "It was only one face," Mary points out. "He ate a man's face."     
     "Well..." I begin.     
     "And you," Luke interrupts. "You are also crazy. Soon the police in Taiwan will catch you."     
     "I don't think so," I say. "I'm pretty smart."     
     "No! You are stupid!" a few kids yell. "They will catch you!"     
     "Well, why do you think they'll catch me? I've been here since 1996, I've already eaten three faces, and they haven't caught me yet."     
     "Ewww!" Cindy snaps. "Disgusting!"     
     "Maybe they don't want to catch him," Hank says. "He keeps the night market clean because he eats all the cockroaches."
     "Do you help the government clean the night markets?" Luke asks.
     "Actually cockroaches aren't bad," I say. "But they have to be be fresh. They're kind of 脆脆." And I mime eating and chewing cockroaches.     
     "You are DISGUSTING!" Cindy snaps. "You go back to Florida NOW!"     
     "I like Taiwan," I say.
     "Why do you like here?" Joseph asks.
     "Well. . . . The faces here are more delicious," I say, reaching toward Cindy as if to touch her face.     
     "EWWWW!" they all scream and start pounding their desks.     
     This theme of "Crazy Florida" theme is well established in at least three of my classes. Another class started on it with the news of the Florida pastor who was planning to burn Korans. And there was another previous story about something from Florida, I can't remember what, that they'd heard from the news. So they started getting on me. And I can't really blame them, since I've noticed it too. Florida makes it into the news here all the time. But it's always insanity and mayhem.
     Back when Florida messed up the 2000 presidential election, I got grief for that too. But the kids I teach now don't know about that, as most of them were babies then.     
     After getting home I did a search on the cockroach story. Not in the least surprised to find it true:

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