I don’t think it’s any big secret that I have, as a general policy, a goal of setting as low of expectations in other people as is humanly possible. In a phenomenon known among psychologists as “Achievement Relativity,” this renders even the most mundane accomplishments on my part on a par with creating desktop fusion. Some of my proudest moments come when I hear someone say something like “Hey, Dead Acorn! You tied your shoe on the very first try! Good job!” without the slightest hint of sarcasm.
I had a fairly good pay-off last night over dinner – one of the low expectations that I’ve set is that no one thinks I’ll ever try any food out of my normal (and limited) dietary standards. And of relevance to the current tale, I wouldn’t say that I hate seafood, because technically, Skipper’s Fish & Chips fillets are seafood, but outside of those, I would absolutely say that I hate seafood. And very high on the list of hated seafood lies raw seafood … it’s fair to say that I’m not a sushi fan. (As far as meat goes, I mainly stick to chicken … not because I like chickens, however; on the contrary, I hate them. A number of chickens were involved in one of the tragic failed romances of my youth, and I have sworn to devour them even unto my last breath. Damn you, chickens! Plus, chicken tacos …. mmmMMMmm … they’re delicious!)
Anyway, I got to have dinner with The Live Acorn last night, and I was suggesting various places we might go (“Chicken Shack?” “No …” “The Rooster Dome?” “No …” “Poultry-Geist?” “Dad, NO!”). I knew where this was headed, as she loves ... loves ... sushi. Finally, I bite the bullet, and agree. To be honest, I was certain that they’d have something that wouldn’t actually make me shudder just thinking about it.
Ummm … no.
Really, Fancy Schmancy Sushi Restaurant? You can’t keep one goddamned chicken in the back for your
So The Live Acorn, fighting back tears, quietly offered to eat somewhere else. “It’s okay, dad …” she said, in between stifled sobs. “The Wing Nut is just around the corner.” She arose slowly, staring at the ground.
“Hey, Live Acorn?" "Yeah, dad?" "I’ll be fine. This is just fine.”
I spoke the words with the tone of a true martyr, someone willing to make an heroic sacrifice for the sake of his beloved and only daughter. She looked at me with eyes that said “All of the dads on this planet who drink out of coffee mugs that say ‘World’s Greatest Father’ are lying to themselves. They’re all just playing for 2nd place.”
So yeah, I ordered whatever looked like it had the most spices, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that “wasabi” is Japanese for “horseradish.” Between that and the numerous cans of Kinmugi, I could barely taste that squid, or carp, or whatever the hell they use. And afterward, I got more high praise from The Live Acorn, a “Good job!” text from The EMDAMOTLA*, and general accolades from all those who heard about my selfless act of love and generosity. Ah, the magic of low expectations.
Look up Achievement Relativity in the new DSM-V when it's published. I'm the case study.