Bamboo-zled: Breaking apart the chopsticks’ significance

by Kaitlin Hsu, Winged Post Editor-in-Chief

For four illustrious days, the utensil receptacles of Manzanita were graced with chopsticks.

When my eyes first lighted upon the crimson sheaths, I couldn’t believe that an idea the student body had been advocating for since my freshmen year actually materialized in my senior year.

After impulsively grabbing a pair, I gravitated toward the classic Chinese characters on the wrapper—“lucky”, “live a long life”, “healthy” and “peaceful”—as well as the two disarming illustrations of pandas, one of whom implored me to “Ask for NEW Kari-Out Low Sodium Soy Sauce.” Oh, panda, if only I could

Upon closer inspection, the wrapper was jammed with other information, such as the phone number of the manufacturing company as well as an obligatory chopsticks-related fun fact. “According to Confucius, knives were equated with acts of aggression and should not be used to dine. Chopsticks then became the eating utensils of choice.”

I used these chopsticks to pick up things that should never be picked up with chopsticks: jalapeño poppers, a grilled cheese sandwich, even yogurt. In fact, the utensils so radically improved the quality of my lunch period that I couldn’t imagine spending any other school meal without them.

I was so incredibly blown away by the quality of the wrapper and the smooth ivory sticks inside, I was compelled to contact Kari-Out Co. to either shower their CEO with adulation or ask for a job. Unfortunately, Kari-Out is based in White Plains, New York, so my proper

Consequently, I was absolutely devastated when I couldn’t find chopsticks during lunch on Sept. 28. According to student council, the chopsticks poke through the linings of trash bags, so they have been temporarily removed until a better method of disposal is devised.

I express my gratitude toward the kitchen staff and Ms. Rachel Joslyn, Head of the Food Services Department. I would also like to thank student council, especially senior class secretary David Wen (12) for spearheading the project and ASB treasurer Megan Huynh (12) for purchasing the chopsticks themselves.

The instructions also sparked a heady wave of nostalgia, harking back to the Chinese restaurants I frequented when I was in the lower school.

The instructions also sparked a heady wave of nostalgia, harking back to the Chinese restaurants I frequented when I was in the lower school.

I’m amused we have chosen to rally behind this specific cause, but there really isn’t a better way I’d like to begin my last year of high school. I do not regret how I’ve spent the past four years. There isn’t a universally optimal approach to high school, and the balance between academic, social, familial, and other duties is different for everyone.

However, some of the moments I recall most vividly from high school haven’t been the big tests or the big social outings—rather, they have been the moments involving what seem to be trivial events: romping around campus, laughing hysterically with my friends over our horrible karaoke skills, boba runs and of course, these chopsticks.

So, freshmen: the utensils will be the first of many memories you have on this adventure known as high school—try to keep viewing the world around you with that wondrous freshness.

Sophomores: though you can finally claim to no longer be the newcomers on campus, these chopsticks are just one step along the way of your high school journey. Continue to explore, enjoy and enrich your growth.

Juniors: the College Board knows you need a break whenever you can catch one. Let this be it. I promise that taking joy in the mundane will carry you further than one extra hour of cramming.

And, to my very own senior class: pretend the chopsticks are talismans that ward off procrastination. But, seriously, I believe we can make it through these next three months together.

I encourage all of you to stop and not only smell the roses but also use the chopsticks.

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on October 12, 2017.