Rice and salt as indicators of experience

My parents love to use old Chinese proverbs to prove a point.

I don’t remember exactly what my parents were lecturing me about, but I definitely remember that they were trying to prove that I will always be significantly less experienced in comparison to them. The discussion happened over the dinner table, a typical pastime: feeding the kids with exhaustive lectures and delicious dishes at the same time. This way, we aren’t inclined to run off. Sometimes, my parents can be pretty brilliant. At one point, I decided to be a smartass and disagree with my dad. As usual, he would go off about his experiences and tell me that I still have much to learn. Before you know it, my mom would chime in (like they’ve planned the whole act) and spit out an old Chinese proverb. “I have eaten more salt in my life than you have eaten rice” is the one that really sticks to me. When I really think about it, they’re probably right. My parents have endured 30 or more years worth of crap in their lives when compared to me and my brother. That’s a lot of crap and a lot of salt!


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