Mushrooms and How People Can Be Different

My colleague Teddy and I went out to lunch the other day. He got a pie and specifically asked for one without mushrooms. I never liked mushrooms growing up because they were too slimy for my taste, so I could understand why he would prefer not to eat them. But when I asked why he didn’t want mushrooms, I was surprised by his response.

“No, I like mushrooms, but I just know that some mushrooms can be very dangerous. I don’t trust the ones found in the supermarket because anyone could just grow mushrooms any how and package them and you wouldn’t know if they are safe or dangerous. I’d much rather buy the mushrooms from the regular market or from the ladies with baskets of wild mushrooms on their heads. Everyone buys those, and I know they are safe.”

That, I thought, was a perfectly sensible answer.

But I had another perspective to share:

“Teddy, did you know that when visitors come to Zambia, they are more suspicious of the wild mushrooms found in the market or on the ladies’ heads or being held up on sticks by boys on the side of the highway than the packaged ones found in the supermarket? We trust supermarkets. But sometimes we don’t trust the judgment of people collecting mushrooms in the wild. Isn’t it funny that it’s the opposite reason as yours?”

We laughed at the irony. Two people can be very different and, as this case proves, can both  be right.

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