Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

Burger Boy

“How was your day?”  I asked Zen Mum during dinner one recent evening. 

“Same old, same old.”  Zen Mum mumbled with her mouth full of food.  This is her standard line when it comes to work.  Not much variety working in the cafeteria of a public school.

Except this one day long time ago when I had to rush to pick her up because it was rumored that a gang fight was going to break out immediately after the final bell.

“How about you?”  I turned to Zen Master.  “How was your day?”

Zen Master is the only man in his school kitchen and the bunch of ladies that he sees everyday usually keeps him on his toes.  Because his strong work ethics dictate his doing good work in the most efficient and effective way, he’s quite industrious all around the kitchen.  He would zoom around the cafeteria, set up his station, serve food to the kids, clean up his station, zip all around the kitchen and help others out.  Lately he’s been helping out a couple of ladies ready the chicken patty sandwiches and cheeseburgers.  There would be hundreds of sandwiches and burgers that needed to be put together.

But his standard line would be:  Same Sh**.

Except this night.

As I directed my question to him, he immediately scowled into his rice bowl. 

“What happened today?”

“I was helping out with the burgers today.”  He said as he poked his chopsticks into a piece of chicken. 

“Yeah, so?”

“Do you know what they call me now?”  He stuffed the chicken into his mouth and chewed and chewed.

I knew it was a rhetorical question so I didn’t say anything but continued to look at him.

I was still waiting for him to swallow that darn piece of chicken.

When he finally did, he declared with indignation, “Burger Boy!”

“They call you Burger Boy?”  I asked blankly.  “The cafeteria ladies call you Burger Boy?”

He glared at me, his cheeks hot with embarrassment and irritation.

I’m sorry but I need to confess something.

I was on the floor, crying, hot tears streaming down my face, I was laughing so hard. 

I almost wet my pants, it was so funny!

“It’s not funny!”  Zen Master shouted at me, which just made me holler louder.  He looked at Zen Mum.  “She’s laughing at me!”

I wiped the tears off my face with my fingers.  “I’m not laughing at you, Zen Master.  I’m laughing with you.” 

Then I paused for a second as he continued to cast his evil eye at me.  “Nope, nope, sorry, I’m laughing at you this time.  Burger boy.”  And I burst out laughing in his face again.

He didn’t speak to me for the rest of the dinner.

Sorry, but it was worth it.

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