Pot Stickers and Cervantes’ Six Teeth

Pot StickersI was frying up some pot stickers. Why? Well, I don’t feel well. And steamed pot stickers, while doubtless much better for me, are edible but hardly delightful. And as I was frying these things, I had to flip them each two times. That’s because they have, roughly speaking three sides. And every time I flipped them, I was lightly splattered with very hot oil.

Now before anyone starts writing comments about how I can flip my pot stickers without burning my hands, let me tell you: I know. Feel free to send in your best tips, but don’t think me such a fool that I am unable to do so. The reason that I don’t take precautions is the whole point of this article.

Pot Stickers Aside: Facebook Rant

(Well, the actual point of this article is to see if the ridiculous amount of work I did trying to get my posts to display automatically on Facebook worked. I’m not that hopeful. I find it interesting that in a day, I’ve received 9 “post engagements” on Facebook but not one single click. This, I take, as an indictment of Facebook and humanity as a whole. As I’ve long said, Facebook is just a photo sharing site, and that’s quite right. I’m amazed that people post images with statistics that don’t go along with links to the actual data. But I digress.)

Thicker Skin and Cervantes’ Teeth

So there I am frying up my pot stickers and having my hands lightly burned and not caring. In fact, I hardly even noticed. But it occurred to me, if I had been doing this when I was 8 years old, I would be crying. Over the years, physical pain has doubtless dulled my senses as well as my perception of the pain. And so we come to what I think of as real men, like my father, who seem to deal very well with pain. It must just be that over time, these men had gradually grown what is, in the pot sticker case, a thinker skin.

This reminds me of Cervantes. In the prologue of Exemplary Stories, he mentions that he had only six teeth “in bad condition and worse placed, no two of them corresponding to each other.” The great writer was doubtless exaggerating. But I’m sure that he did have rather bad teeth and had a number of them pulled without benefit of Novocain. Is it possible his last tooth extraction bothered him as much as the oil splashing on my hands? I suspect so.

I’m not concerned that people will consider me a wuss. One of the greatest pleasures of old age is learning not to care what people think of you. But it makes me feel better about the people who came before me who suffered so much. I want to think that it wasn’t as bad for them as it sounds to us.


It worked! It worked!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

1 thought on “Pot Stickers and Cervantes’ Six Teeth

  1. Well done — both on bending Facebook to your will and on the point of the post. It is nice to think that maybe suffering is less than we imagine.

    Unrelated, but amusing, are my hands and hot peppers. One should never work with hot peppers without gloves, but over time my hands have built up something of an immunity. They still taste hot in my mouth, yet I can chop up even Indian ghost peppers without my fingers feeling the slightest burn.

    A few weeks ago we had some friends over, and I diced up jalapenos for those who wanted them as a topping. Again, no big deal. Until the fatal error. I had a big annoying booger in my nose, and when I was safely hidden in the bathroom, I stuck my finger up there to get it out.

    OH MY GOD MY NOSTRIL WAS ON FIRE. Because I washed my hands before cutting up the food, not after. And so I still had jalapeno juice on my fingers.

    I remember seeing some cooking show years ago with a French confectionary maker who grabbed hot sugar and twisted it with his hands. And I’ve seen footage of European beekeepers who don’t wear bee suits because they’re used to stings. I wonder how this works.

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