The Terrible Ramen Fiasco

It is very important to admit your faults. Being willing to admit the things you are unable to do is a sign of personal growth which, I hear, is a good thing. That is why I would like to take a minute to open myself up and be vulnerable in front of the entire world. It is not easy to make myself exposed like this, but in order to better myself as a person, it is necessary to admit this.

Sometimes I do not read directions well.

This is not a new problem. I remember one day in elementary school, our teacher handed out a quiz. On it were directions. “I know how you fill out a test. I don’t need directions!” I said, smugly. Sixth grade Nathan was always very smug. I proceeded to answer every question on the quiz and I answered them well. It was, I am fairly certain, the perfect quiz. Not only would I receive an A+, but I was fairly certain that this quiz was so perfect that Green Springs Elementary would drop that moniker in favor of “Honorable Nathan Badley Elementary”.

Of course, there was one problem. The directions on the quiz said to turn the test in without answering any questions. By answering each question perfectly, I had, in fact, missed every question. There were two things I learned that day. First, directions are important. Secondly, teachers are shifty and cannot be trusted.

From that day forward, I did my best to make sure I was fully aware of the directions before I began any task. I did a very good job of it too. For the most part, everything that I took part in was a very well-directed endeavor with very few blunders, fiascos, or, God forbid, catastrophes.

That is until today.

There are some mornings when I do not want to get up and pack a lunch before heading to work. I would rather sleep. This is due in large part to the fact that beds are incredibly comfy and significantly more pleasant than assembling a sandwich. Knowing all about this, I made a decision during my last trip at the grocery store. It would save me some time and money if I were to take some cheap lunches to work. They would always be on hand on the off-chance that I experienced a great deal of reluctance in the getting out of bed department.

I looked through the aisles trying to find just the right thing. That is when I saw it. That old college staple: Ramen noodles. Nothing is simpler or cheaper than a package of Top Ramen. First you cook the noodles, then you put the seasoning in it. Those are the only two steps. There is not a simpler food to prepare.

I carefully looked through the Ramen. Now that I am a full-grown adult, I decided that I had outgrown the small package of “chicken” flavored noodles. Instead, I grabbed a couple “spicy chicken” flavored Ramen that came in a microwavable bowl. I took these to work and, for a couple of weeks, forgot all about them.

Then today, the inevitable situation arrived. Not wanting to get out of bed, I did not leave myself time to pack a lunch. The day of Ramen had arrived.

At lunch, I headed to the kitchen. I ripped open the package and filled the bowl with water. Seeing a line, I deduced that this is the line marking how much water you are to put in your cheap noodles. It was a deduction that even Sherlock Holmes would have been impressed with. I placed it in the microwave for the four minutes listed on the front of the package, then waited.

Eventually the microwave dinged. I pulled my noodles out, forgetting that things that have been microwaved for four minutes are usually very hot. After a fair amount of muttering, I opened it up to add the seasoning.

I began to shake in the mysterious flavored powder when something struck me as odd. The noodles did not look as soft as I remembered. I poked them with a fork and, lo and behold, they were not soft. They were still very hard and crunchy. I stood there, staring at my noodles for an inappropriate amount of time.

Finally, completely baffled, I glanced at the directions that I had ripped off of the package. “Fill the container to the SECOND line” they read. In a fit of Top Ramen hubris, I had not noticed that there were two lines and had tried to cook noodles in half of the water needed. I had botched the one unbotchable dish in the world.

It was not my proudest moment.

I learned a lot in sixth grade. Apparently the lesson of that quiz did not stick. This is a harsh reminder that I do not, in fact, know everything.

For instance, I really have no idea why they would put two lines inside of that container. Maybe that is a fault that the company should address…

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