The first time I ate at the table of art with a family, I was flabbergasted. I was 16 years old, but it wasn’t with my biological family, it was with the Chess’s.
The Chess’s was your typical Naisacuac nuclear family. The king, the queen and the pawns – all present. However, they weren’t at all conservative, but they believed in social control. When I walked in their boot box – I knew they were of wealth. Their great wall of China, rooms designated for every possible hobby and wall paintings. Never have I seen a family portrait as a cartoon painting. The traditional egotistical pose is out of the box, because now the Nacirema family has a sense of humor.
I knew the Chess’s through their all-Nacirema, plant-burning daughter, Lani. She and I played diamondball together. One day she asked me in such an orgasmic way, “Would you like to have dinner with my family tonight?” I still do not understand why she made it sound like a hot commodity. Or maybe, I’m just ethnocentric.
I followed Lani to a corner of the box where the table of art was – that’s where we were having dinner. I never knew it was a custom to sit at the dinner table together…as a family. It’s strange. While I mentally came up with reasons why they called it the “table of art” – the queen placed a tub of perfectly golden yams on the table. She walked back into her studio and came out with a big bird – a big dead bird. She placed it in the center of the table and you can still hear the oil pop on that poor dead bird. She walked in and out her studio probably five times. Each tub consisted of some type of meat. They eat a lot of meat, I thought.
The King sat in his cushioned chair with the letters “Patriarchy” stitched in it. That must be HIS chair. The Queen sat in a chair with “the Good Wife” stitched it in. She looked dreary and annoyed; however, she ignored it by asking “How was your day?” I didn’t know who she was talking to. One by one, they answered – so I answered. After one question came many more came. How do people in the Nacirema culture eat if they’re talking at the same time? I was rather annoyed that they kept talking and I was annoyed by the lack of salt on my dead bird. I wanted to get out of there.
I don’t like eating at the table of art, because it caused my stuffing to fall out of my mouth and it caused me to choke a little. It’s a hazardous ritual.