Me: "Dan, it turns out you're the #15 commenter on FriendFeed."
Dan: [very seriously] "So who are numbers one through fourteen then?"
I went to Hearst Castle earlier in the month. The library contained a tall vase with white lilies. I couldn't figure out whether the lilies were real, no matter how much I stared.
I was reminded of an incident from my childhood.
When I was eight, my uncle visited the US from China for a one-year fellowship. One day, my parents went to the bank to open a checking account, and took him and me along.
My parents sat at a bank representative's desk filling out the new account form. I pointed at the leafy plant on the desk and asked my uncle in Mandarin, "Is that plant real?"
My uncle replied, also in Mandarin, "Modern plastic plants are often very realistic. They look real, the texture feels real, and they even smell real. There's only one way to tell."
He snapped off a leaf between his fingers, and placed it in his mouth. After two chews, he announced, "Yup, this one's real." I nodded in satisfaction.
When I looked up, the bank rep was staring open-mouthed at us.
Later I considered it from the bank rep's perspective. A family comes into your bank to open a checking account. The uncle and niece speak to each other in Mandarin, and then out of nowhere, the uncle picks a leaf off your plant and eats it for no discernible reason.
I still laugh when I think of it.