Bible Verse of the Day

Thursday, August 09, 2018

But What If We're Wrong?

If someone had told me 40 years ago that I would truly love Japanese food at some point in the future, I would have laughed and asked what they'd been smoking. When I was just short of 24, I had gone to a Japanese restaurant for someone's birthday and did not understand what all the fuss was about. Didn't like the flavors at all. I didn't eat Japanese food again until 1988, when I was in NYC on business and decided to see what all the fuss was about re: sushi. (Sushi was big in the Eighties.) I tried a vegetarian variety, and liked it a great deal, along with sake. Still, it was a few more years before I began seeking out sushi on a regular basis. Then I tried other Japanese food, such as udon noodle soup (yasai udon, at a lovely hole in the wall north of Watertown Square, near Boston, long gone I suspect). Then it was Vietnamese food and pho. Now it's just about anything Japanese (and Vietnamese) I can find, IF it's good quality--not a lot of that when it comes to Japanese and Vietnamese food in east central Kentucky. (I admit I have not tried raw fish--but if I could go to a reputable sushi place in a big coastal city, I'd ready for it.)

Photo courtesy of langll on Pixabay.
Creative Commons licensed.
The point of all this is not to give you an exhaustive tour of my food obsessions, but rather to segue into a book I began reading: "But What If We're Wrong?" by Chuck Klosterman. Like my first foray into Japanese food, in the beginning I couldn't see what all the fuss was about re: this book. It meanders all around and makes me impatient. CK spends a lot of time talking about what makes something "great" (for lack of a better adjective). First it's literature, then it's 20th century rock music and its evolution into hip-hop. He's got me now, I admit, with the last topic.

The book takes a skewed look at how none of us can predict what will be popular or considered "great" in the future. I recently read something (God knows where or when or by whom) about how humans are notoriously poor at predicting the future, even the near future. The book nails this statement to the wall and insists you study it and accept it.

When I look back at my life, I see now that I could not have predicted most of it--practically all of it, honestly.

So what makes me think I can predict the future? Why do I keep trying?

That's hard for me to swallow, because I am a planner. Boy, am I a planner. Plans often change, but in the planning, I've found, I've come up with ways to deal with the unexpected. That's the real value of it. ("Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, general and US president)

One thing I could have never predicted was that I would end up retired in Kentucky. Or that I would live for 13 years in NJ between Massachusetts and here. Or that Japanese food would end up being my favorite Asian cuisine, more than Thai, far more than any type of Chinese. (And if I could have predicted the 2008 crash, well, let's just say my life would be way different.)

Keep planning. But watch out for life along the way. And always have a backup plan, even if it's crap.

P.S. Korean is the one cuisine I'm still trying to love, at least dishes like bibimbap, which leaves me cold. Those who have eaten bibimbap will get the wordplay.

No comments: