Before we get started with today’s post, I would like to briefly explain about a comment I made yesterday or the day before, about The Great Wall of China restaurant and my not being very familiar with The Buddha. You may have missed the comment because it was waaaay at the end of the post. (Also, if you read it on your phone, did you get the weird pop-up telling you “You are 6 minutes from the Great Wall of China in Edina”? My husband totally got that on his phone. Spooky. I so don’t get how technology works.)
Anyway, if you actually did make it through that whole thing and read to the end, leave me a note about it and I will drive a cupcake over to your house to say thank you for your perseverance.
(Unless you happen to be my brother, because winter driving conditions are too unpredictable to justify driving all the way to Cleveland or Chicago just to deliver a cupcake. But come visit me, and I will take you to a place called Cupcake and we will buy one and eat it together. My treat. What I mean is I will buy one just for you and you get to pick the flavor and can have the whole thing by yourself. I might get one too, but I want you to know the real reason we are here is for me to tell you how grateful I am to you for reading, not just so I could get a cupcake. But here’s the menu so you can start getting ready. I’m gonna either go with the Triple Vanilla or the Boston Cream. Maybe both if I skip breakfast.)
Back to the explaining about the comment. Which to remind you again, was this: It’s okay to “not be familiar with” certain people even if it is someone very famous, like the Buddha.
I’m sure somewhere in my conscious and/or subconscious mind I have known for quite a long time what the Buddha looks like. If you could poke around in there and find the image stored away and upload (download?) it here, it would probably look something like this (but no caption because I just Googled that part right now, and I’m sure we didn’t even have the internet whenever it was that I first encountered an image of the Buddha):
But what is and has been my true primal, unconscious (different than subconscious, dontcha know) understanding of the Buddha? Possibly an initial sense of “look somewhere else because someone left the barn door open,” (no wait, okay good, that’s his big toe), but then this: Smiley guy with big belly, good luck if you rub it.
It’s not that I was raised super strict Christian where you didn’t get to acknowledge the Buddha or anything (I don’t even know enough about Christianity to know if that would be true for any Christians), it’s just that I was not a deep thinker as a young person, I was quite literal about most things, and I was often confused. What is the difference between Jesus Christ and God and The Holy Trinity? Are they three different people? Where does Santa fit in to all of this? So it’s Jesus’s birthday, right? Well then, is Santa like a mascot for him? Is Kris Kringle real? Is Jesus real? Is God his actual Dad? Will I still get presents if I don’t believe? That kind of thing.
So my (lack of) understanding of The Buddha was on that same continuum of stuff that as a child I sensed was quite important but mostly unclear and not really interesting enough to hold my attention long enough to sort any of it out. ( Too busy reading Tiger Beat and worshiping false idols like Shaun Cassidy and the guy from James at Fifteen.) Also, if there ever was reference made to “Buddha” I would hear it as only the first half of the more complete and germane phrase “Buddha Belly,” because I have a tendency to bloat after I eat, so it was a little bit of a nickname for me.
If you add all this confusion to the fact that I did spend a good deal of my childhood watching cartoons, particularly those created by the talented team of Hanna Barbera, somewhere along the line my unconscious image of Buddha, a big happy guy with a big belly, who was what, Indian? (Chinese? Asian? Indonesian? Arabian? Not Minnesotan, and definitely not Edinan) was altered to be something more like this:
So, like I said, I mostly knew who “The Buddha” was, but also knew nothing at all. Much like today.
So what does any of this have to do with the Great Wall of China, you ask yourself? Well, one time long, long ago, when I was just a baby right out of college, I was at my then-boyfriend’s parents’ house and I guess his mom Julie needed a break from cooking or it was a special occasion or something so we were ordering takeout from Great Wall of China. How exciting, getting takeout and I get to pick my own dish and everything! We didn’t do this kind of thing in my family growing up. We went out for dinner only rarely, and usually went to The Rusty Scupper (“The Scupper, Es?”) or Steak and Ale, nothing that would be considered “ethnic.” Although the Olde English theme of the latter might have felt a little European to us in the 1970s. And there were the regular Sunday brunches at Bridgeman’s or Uncle John’s Pancake House after church. I don’t mean to give the impression that I had some kind of hardscrabble life. But there was no takeout food brought home, ever.
So there we are at the boyfriend’s parents’ house, and Julie was going to phone in the order to The Great Wall but didn’t have a menu (this was waaaaaay before the days of the internets) so I asked my then-boyfriend, “What is the name of that one dish that I like, again? Named after that one guy?” So it was perhaps this moment, my not being able to recall the name of “Buddha’s Delight,” that signaled the beginning of the end for us.
Not like we weren’t already headed toward the end, because he and I were already at a crossroads, about to follow very different paths in life at that moment in time. He was about to take a sharp turn onto the Peace and Justice Road (the road to Enlightenment, perhaps?), falling off the deep end into Liberal Hippydom (and I say that with absolute love and reverence, not judgment even though I am sounding glib), meanwhile I was working my first job out of college in Corporate America, becoming more and more part of the Institution, and mainly feeling lucky about finally making some money, paying back my parents for my fifth year of college, and getting to eat takeout and stuff like that.
And, to be fair, it probably was the cartoon Babu guy image that my non-verbal memory was grasping for. And I should feel lucky that I didn’t accidentally blurt out “Haji’s Delight” or “Babu’s Delight.”
Which brings this discussion nicely back around to Jesus Archies, which I promised for today. (I am tracking here, folks, although it may not seem that way.) BUT FIRST, one more tiny digression, which is this: I totally thought this Babu coloriing page was of Babu and Shaggy, but it turns out it is actually a guy named Tinker, who was Speed Buggy’s mechanic and driver. ALSO, one of the kindergartener’s favorite gifts this past Christmas was Scooby Doo Meets Batman, so it feels like the entire world just moved one degree of separation closer together.
Also, crap, it’s already 3:15 and I have to run and get the kids, and I think the kindergartener put my camera in a “special place” so I will post the Archie’s comics photos when I get back if I can stick the kids on Club Penguin/You Tube for a minute.