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A popular chain of sushi restaurants in Taiwan announced a limited time offer last week:
Any customer whose name includes the Chinese characters for the word “salmon” gets an all-you-can eat sushi meal with five friends.
A lovely little promotion. Right?
I was admittedly a little jealous at first, knowing that my last name would preclude any promotion of this kind, but then I learned that more than 150 people visited government offices last week to change their name to “salmon.”
A medical student changed his name to Salmon Dream, only to later discover he had reached the maximum quota of three name changes and would not be allowed to change his name again.
Salmon Hope for life.
I’m hoping that most of these people changed their name because they thought it would be amusing, memorable, and fun. In the service of having fun, I can get behind all kinds of stupid things.
I once attended a college party the included a garbage-can sized container of spiked punch. Floating in the middle of that punch of was an enormous chunk of ice, and frozen into the center of that chunk of ice was another ball of ice, laced with blue food coloring and containing road kill.
Our job was to finish off the punch before the ice melted down to the blue ice and road kill.
Stupid for sure. But oh so amusing and memorable.
These are the kinds of acts of stupidity that I support. Those inadvisable, less-than-ideal decisions that often produce negative results but an enormous amount of hilarity.
I routinely played mailbox baseball as a teenager.
I have an inflatable mallet in my classroom that my students use to smack me over the head when they think it’s deserved.
I will often attempt an impossible golf shot from a thicket of angry brambles rather than taking a drop because it’s a more amusing and memorable way.
As a kid, I rode my bike off the barn roof, thinking it would be epic.
It was most certainly not.
Stupid for the sake of amusement is fine. Advisable, even, especially when it doesn’t result in injury or the possibility of death.
If these folks in Taiwan thought it amusing to change their name for some free food, good for them.
But if they changed their names just for the free sushi, that is a sad state of affairs.

sushi on black plate