Ever heard of the expression, “be loud and proud“? Well this applies to every aspect of the phrase including your heredity. There was a moment I wasn’t …
Ever since then, I’ve learned to always be proud of who you are, no matter.
In the summer of 1994, I was enjoying being a high school graduate, yet preparing to be a collegiate freshman at Western Washington University. I wanted a vehicle instead I received a mountain bike from my parents (which led to my crash and tattoo inspiration for another time)
I also requested from them a microwave and/or a hot plate for my dorm room when cafeteria wasn’t open since I would be working at the Payless Drug Store in Bellingham.
I received a Tiger Rice Cooker, model JNP-0720, in the classic color of pink. You know, as in the choice color of popped collar wearing douchebags of the world. Wearing an actual dick costume makes you look like less of a dick than this. Still, the preppy set of the 90s never met a collar they didn’t want to pop. Some men even dared to sport popped collars in layers, like the world’s most unappealing onions – and of all the colors it was pink.
I digress …
No other present was more emasculating than this pink rice cooker, at least to me. My mother can sense this, feel this, so she quipped, <insert Filipino accent here> “If you have rice, you have food. If you have food, you have everything.”
So that’s a “no” on returning this abomination for a microwave?
Laramie was my roommate at the Omega Ridge Dormitory at WWU. He could’ve care less about judging me, I was still not proud of this gift. At work one night, I brought home a cardboard box big enough to place on top of it and use black color duct tape to disguise it further.
As always, your proud parents will visit their son’s dorm room after awhile … my mother quickly scanned the room but didn’t find my rice cooker. She casually walked over to the desk, lifted up the black duct taped box and yelped, “Why are you hiding your rice cooker like this?”
Like the gaudy looking picture frame a mother-in-law gave you as a wedding gift that you crammed into a junk drawer … I had done the same, much to my mother’s dismay.
She put it back, pursed her lips, and mumbled, “You should be proud to have a rice cooker, and that you’re Filipino.” Then strolled out of the room, leaving the emptiness of the words and disappointment drench you every second you remained in there.
I apologized profusely and immediately. I walked over, removed the cover and used it as a carrying bin for my mountain bike until it eventually was destroyed. There it sat on my college desk in all it’s pink colored glory for the remaining time at Western.
I am proud I am a Filipino American. Over the years, I’ve learned to love the rice cooker, especially ever since Mom died. Now the obvious question is: So, Los, do you still have it? I mean it’s 27 years old.
Damn right! I used it the other day to make delicious rice.