Somewhere along the line I developed the idea that eating is a competitive enterprise. It's probably my dad's fault. He grew up on a farm and was made to clean his plate at every meal. He's never said what would have happened had he refused this order, but having not grown up on a farm I can imagine all sorts of terrible things.
Last night I was faced with quite a challenge. For dinner I decided to clean out the freezer, so we had tater tots, pizza rolls, mini tacos, and chicken nuggets. I cleaned my plate. Then, because my Spartans were playing in a bowl game, my dad and I met up with my friend Brad at a sports bar where I ordered cheese fries with bacon. The waitress asked if I wanted a half order or a full order and I told her half, but if she didn't screw up the order then I'd hate to see what the full size Looks like.
There were actually three choices for the cheese fries. Just regular cheese fries were $4.09. I could add chili for a buck or bacon for fifty cents. But they put these huge chunks of tomato and green pepper in their chili and since it was fifty cents less I chose the bacon because it made me feel thrifty. Plus, bacon is really good. So is cheese, incidentally.
So the waitress sat the enormous plate of cheese and fries and bacon in front of me and I entered competitive mode. Eating is really a contest between you and the establishment serving the food. Here's how I see it: It costs the place x amount of money to buy and make the food. It costs me x amount more to buy it. The system is designed for the establishment to win, just like casinos. But sometimes you just know they're taking a loss on the thing and this inspires me. It's why I love buffets so much. At buffets, if you eat enough you tip the scale in your favor. Four trips later, there's no way they've made money on me.
I've bought bacon at a store before and the stuff's not cheap. And these cheese fries had real bacon in them, complete with the little globules of fat. And there was a lot of it. So I knew that if I ate the whole thing, the place would probably take a loss on me. I faced the challenge with enthusiasm.
But bacon's hard to eat with a fork. It breaks off into these hard little bits that can't be stabbed and forks are shit for scooping, so I did the only reasonable thing. I picked off wads of cheesy fries and swirled them around the plate allowing the grease and gooeyness of the cheese to absorb the bacon chunks.
It was good. And, with an assist from my friend Brad (I offered out of altruism, not because I couldn't have finished the whole thing myself), we cleaned our plates.
And then today I woke up with a stomachache and had the audacity to feel betrayed.