The Joke’s on Me!

Comments (12) Essays, New



The Joke's on Me.During one of my earlier trips to a Chinese Hot Pot buffet, after feasting on beef, chicken, vegetables, and all the other “non-traif” items that I enjoy (and keeping everyone else’s creepy-crawlies out of my hot pot broth), I decided to be bold before I left and try the most objectionable item I could find at the buffet bar.

It was the baby octopus, whole.

I asked my friend Melinda to snap a few photos documenting the process, and relished the fact that I would zip them to my kosher mother as a little affectionate poke in the ribs, just to make her shudder a bit.

The octofiend tasted like a wad of rubber, and that was only until the head exploded in my mouth.  I am loathe to pry anything out of my pie hole once I start eating, for fear of offending my fellow diners, so this little eight-legged monster was going down the pipes no matter what.

HOT.POT.ChewI instantly felt that the nausea and overwhelming urge to gag was some kind of celestial payback for violating the rules of my tribe and flaunting it to my mom.  The biggest slap in the face to me was that my mother didn’t believe I really ate it!

The joke was on me.

By Keith Douglas Kramer
Photos by Melinda Chiu

12 Responses to The Joke’s on Me!

  1. Sydelle Kramer says:

    Congratulations, that was so very interesting and well written!!! Your loving Mom.

  2. Debbie Tischer says:

    You made me squirm and cringe at this end of the screen. EWWW. I can only imagine the feel of the fluids as they flooded, not your senses, but your lack of sense. What WERE you thinking?! EWWWW. Raw, whole, and please, please, tell me it wasn’t alive?

    Now breaded, fried-to-perfection calamari is another story, my friend. If done correctly the calamari isn’t chewy and each bite will leave you craving the next. Slightly dense and, if not over-seasoned, it is able to bring a touch of the sea to the palate.

    Guessing, however, your experience may have ruined you for trying one of my favorite treats! If not, give fried calamari a try. Bon appétit!

    Can’t wait to read your next musings…

  3. Carmella Bailey says:

    Great read and best wishes to you. I’m gonna enjoy reading what you’ll be writing.

  4. Susan says:

    Great start, my friend!! Here’s to wishing you nothing but the best!! Ahhhh….I remember that pic of the octopus you had up….. :))

  5. Adina O'neill says:

    Great job Keith. Congratulations! Looking forward to reading more.
    Your cousin Adina

  6. Carol says:

    Hilarious Keith!

  7. Daniel G Hood says:

    Brother Kramer, that brought me back to before my Wedding to Penny, when her friend Lee, who is Gay, invited us to “The Third Act” in the Valley, which at the time was and may still be a gay bar. I was on my wife’s arm. It was the first time in my life that felt like most women must feel when around a group of men, looking at them as if they were meat for the taking. I actually felt like a piece of meat. Once I got to it and settled down to wedding plans and all it went better.

  8. Melinda Chiu says:

    I remember that incident fondly, though you never told me how much you deplored eating that thing!

  9. Carol Kolsky says:

    Love your writing but the nausea serves you right. Looking forward to your other topics

  10. Susan Guzman says:

    I feel your nausea. Most powerful was the head exploding. Lovely (?) imagery.

  11. Eydie Dloss says:

    Very good Keith! I can feel the nausea!
    Love you!
    Aunt Eydie

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