Eating at Dartmouth

“It all depends upon your appetite …”Billy Joel

Hard at work. Thinking. Writing. Creating.

Then … “Jeffrey M. Deck has received new mail.”

A message from Chris. Subject: “McDinner.” Message: “Let’s eat soon.”

A message from Jeff Two. Subject: “Re: McDinner.” Message: “Yeah. FC?”

A message from Elyse. Subject: “Re: McDinner.” Message: “Sounds good. 6:30?”

A message from Liam. Subject: “Re: McDinner.” Message: “I’ll meet you guys there.”

Eating at Dartmouth is a wholly new experience. Wherever you may hail from, getting used to the college way of food, especially at Dartmouth, is probably a trying exercise. The BlitzMail repartee is just one example. You’re in college, now you have the full rights of the First Amendment — the freedom to eat as much unhealthy and potentially hazardous food as possible. As Daniel Webster once said, “It is a small college, sirs, but there are those who love it and its Food Court.”

Let’s take, for instance, the dread illness known as “EBAs syndrome.” You’re there hanging out with your amigos, it’s ten at night, and someone says, “Hey, let’s order EBAs.” Okay, a little pizza would be nice. Five slices later, you’re suffering from Grease Overload. You say, “Whoa. I feel like a friggin’ pig.” But it happens two nights later. And again. And again. EBAs suddenly becomes a must-have for any social gathering, a magical elixir for the other dread illness known as “Boredom.” It becomes the fourth meal of the day. Pretty soon, you become dependent on EBAs. You start referring to them as your “supplier,” and you meet pizza delivery men on dark corners. You request to pay EBAs by the ounce. You go out to an armaments dealer and buy a piece. “In case they try to take … my precious,” you mutter to yourself. Eventually, you suffer from a pizza overdose, and you are taken, shaking and sweating, to an EBAs rehabilitation center. During the nasty stages of withdrawal, you begin to see pepperoni crawling on the ceiling and tomato sauce slowly dripping down the walls … the sauce flows toward you … it’s “The Shining” on speed…

But we’ll not talk about EBAs any more. We can use another example, the mundane, the everyday … the Food Court. Now this is, to us, a somewhat close approximation to the high school cafeterias that we knew so well. It is where everyone’s little eating group — mine usually being Chris, Elyse, Liam, Jeff Two and myself — often ends up. (I hear that some people, brave souls, actually go out to meals without a support group). What I have discovered … some more investigative journalism … is that there is a secret war going on in Food Court. No, no, hear me out. We, the unwitting patrons, are on one side, and the Food Court pocketbooks are on the other. There is a huge web of deception and greed under the idyllic surface, beneath the giant pizza sculpture on the wall and the garish signs. I was in line the other day, waiting for Food Court Pizza(R). I saw a container of garlic bread. There was a sign that said “$2.50.” Wow, I thought, pizza and garlic bread together for only $2.50? Good deal. Wait … was that right?

“Excuse me,” I said to the Pizza Man, “how much is that garlic bread?”

“What does the sign say, buddy?”

“Two fifty…that’s just for the garlic bread? For One Little Piece of garlic bread?”

“You get to put this little stuff on it. Hey listen … I don’t set the prices around here. Sorry,” he said apologetically. “Next!”

I went to the lunch table where the others were sitting and feeding their collective face. Chris was eating today’s Pizza Special, a super deluxe-crusted, cheese filled, gigantic slice of heaven. “Wow,” I said. “That looked good, but I didn’t want to pay $3.00 for it.”

“I didn’t,” Chris said. “The cashier lady thought it was the regular cheese pizza and charged me the regular price.” Someone else held up a piece of garlic bread, saying, “I don’t think she charged me for this.”

Score two points for the patrons!

With all of this just going on in humble Food Court, doesn’t it make you want to go out and have a taste of Dining Services right now? Instead of reading about Run DMC or laissez-faire capitalism, go have some free garlic bread!

Freshman Fifteen, here we come!

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