Do you want fries with that?
For the first blog I thought I would share an experience that occurred last semester at one of the dining courts on campus. About three friends and myself were all grabbing lunch and about to leave the table when an elderly man came up and asked if he could join us. We, being the gracious students we are, smiled accordingly and made small talk with the gentleman. After five minutes of conversation, we found out that he was actually the oldest faculty member on campus and that he worked in the math department. Then, it was time for him to get to know us and so the nightmares would begin.
The man went around the table listening carefully to each word that my friends were saying. He smiled as they told him about their biology classes, he nodded as he heard news of the physics test, and he even chuckled at one who made a very bad math joke. After all the science/math/engineer students had given the man their life stories and aspirations he turned to me.
“And what is your major?” He asked offering me a smile.
“Well, actually I was seeking a biology degree, but I recently switched to the College of Liberal Arts and am now an English major.” I stated returning the smile.
There was a pause. A silence overwhelmed the room. The old man was thinking of what to say and the anticipation for his words could not be greater. Then looking directly into my eyes with his withered face, cold eyes, and now smile-less mouth he said, “Do you want fries with that?”
Shock. This is what the body goes through after a trauma. The idea that the amount of damage to your body could be so great that your body simply ignores the pain/suffering is an adaptation I find truly remarkable.How can this be? How can this old man be blatantly making fun of what I’ve chosen to do for the rest of my life? Is this legal?So my body went into shock. The room started spinning, the lights dimmed, and everyone started laughing at me; it was like a poorly written dream sequence out of an independent film.
As we were leaving the table I was determined to not let the decrepid man’s opinion become my reality. However, his words fluttered in the back of my mind; they liked to land on my shoulder and whisper into my ear. I guess I will be working at Burger King. Although, I hear that McDonald’s really treats their employees well. So I slipped into a depression that lasted the whole of two days.
I ate more ice cream, slept more, and even did assignments earlier than the day before they were due. During this “Jesus and the desert” time in my life I did a lot of soul-searching. I found out that I didn’t care about old man mountain, that I didn’t care about his or anyone elses’ opinion, that I didn’t care if I made one thousand dollars or one hundred thousand dollars. The only thing I care about is being happy and what better way to be happy than to be surrounded by words that offer escape, redemption, power, and a sense of reality to a culture consumed with technology.
“Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.” -Walt Whitman