Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tai Chi Masters of Dim Sum Checks

Peter C. T. Li

Like two Tai Chi masters practicing the art of the sticking hand
my father and my mother-in-law pushed each others' arms in various
circular motions while fighting for the prize of the dim sum check.
The check would be passed from hand to hand,
back and forth,
up and down,
round and round,
in sync with the Yin and the Yang motions of the universe.

Both dueled to save face in the name of family honor.
Armed with ancient secret techniques such as
"Crane Plucks Check from Tiger's Claw" and
"Buddha's Benevolent Palm Tipping the Waiter for Check."
It was no surprise that my father would defeat
my mother-in-law each outing and pay for the lunch.

The only time my father lost was when my mother-in-law
snuck away from the table while he was busy eating the last
siu mai of the meal.
I named her technique "Fox Stealing from Sleeping Monkey."

It was an unwritten Chinese tradition of the dining martial arts
passed down through centuries from one generation to the next.

Dim sum and my in-laws at the China House Restaurant.
My family, not being Chinese of course, just brawled in Sav-on. Although my favorite technique, (ssh, don't tell) is to leave money in a coat pocket, in the car, or on their person. Although of course, in a place where it will not get lost, stolen, or end up in the washing machine. I almost always win too.

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