By Tatini Mal-Sarkar
Yeah, why wouldn’t I eat it?
The grease dripping from this pizza is better than the condescension you’re dripping. Dweeb.
It’s Saturday night after a long hard gen chem-heavy week, OK. What would another wild night on the town (read: back booth at 1020) be without something delicious, fatty and large to finish it all off? Unfortunately, my lame friends have decided bed trumps Brooklyn Lager, so what am I to do? They stopped me from diving into Koronet, and I guess I ended up in Carman. Is that why I was banging on your door?
Abandoned and alone, I’m just a wanderer, you know. Searching the hall for a lost soul, friend or foe, to persuade, cajole, or—worst case scenario— flat-out blackmail (look, what happens in Carman stays in Carman… until it doesn’t) into accompanying me for late night happy hour margs. I’m not done yet! In the face of all this refusal, the only option seems to be emanating luxuriously from this trash can I’m sort of sitting on now. Just sniff those Domino’s boxes, wafting from the depths of the plastic abyss. I’m contemplating dignity, morality and gluten. And I guess I’m picking up these wads of cheese with my hands now. Mmm.
Why don’t you put down that Jansport and come join me at this al-fresco picnic scene? You can tell me about how it was to be in Butler all Saturday night. Why are you looking at me like that? As if your Red Bull was so healthy. As if that 2 a.m. ButCaf banana you snarfed was so sanitary. You’re hardcore like me. You stayed till Butler’s last call. I know you’re tough. I know you want it too. Let’s just break some crust together and settle our differences. Hey look, a pepperoni piece!
“Isn’t that, like, dirty?” you ask. Sure, but what’s a little dirt in the context of the grand scheme of things? Isn’t the whole point of the college years to get a little messy for the sake of memories? Never mind that I might not remember this tomorrow—college camaraderie! Joyous youthful spirit via carby deliciousness! After all, as the age-old saying goes, friends who eat each other’s vomity pizza stay together.
Humans are not thinking things—they’re eating things. Which is why I’m not going to deny myself the pleasure of the consumption of this slice of pizza. So what if I got in from the trash? It was in a box. So what if someone vomited on (and kind of into) the box? Matter is constant. That vomit essentially may as well be mine. I’m not saying it isn’t, either. I’m all about excess and consumption, and what’s the most elemental way to do that, my friend?
Oh yes, the introduction of foreign matter into the body— indeed, the introduction of foreign substances as body. Growth only happens when you encounter new things and catabolic enzymes strip the electrons from the carbons and use them to drive mitochondrial proton gradients. The first mouthful of air you drew into your body contained molecules that were probably farted out of a Cambrian era lizard’s feathered ass. Why are you looking so creeped out? It’s not like I’m coming on to you now, dude. I’m just asking if you’re gonna eat that.
By Channing Prend
No, I’m not gonna eat that. I’m anti-consumption; I’m a veritable production machine, which is why I was in Butler ’til just now. We only have four years at this bastion of learning, so why would I waste it consuming alcohol? Why such bacchanalian excesses? Who needs Cannon’s when you have the Western canon? Yet my sweet, sweet slumber and dreams of Catallus are interrupted by this disheveled harpy dressed in what looks like a frayed maternity dress with the bottom cut off—the kind of person I would usually avoid. I hate Carman.
The thing, meanwhile, has tripped over its own feet and by some accident of blundering coordination caught itself on the trashcan. At this point it’s honestly tough distinguishing between person and food, by which I mean the garbage is overflowing with pizza boxes from the hall study break. (No, of course I didn’t attend it. I was studying.) The real question here is, why are they in the trash rather than the recycling bin?
I think the thing is beginning to put the boxes in the correct receptacle. But now I’m realizing, to my horror, that it is merely searching each putrid, grease-soggy box for scraps like a hungry, particularly poorly behaved dog. It’s looking at the goopy craters of the pawed-at pizza like a rabid animal, seemingly transfixed by the food. What’s that piece of paper stuck to the corner of the crust—is that an ad for the study break? Oh God, it creeps towards the mouth. I feel sick.
“Arssszzure yadon wannanee?” she slurs. Clearly this girl is beyond my ability to help. As if it weren’t enough that what we know as Domino’s is glorified microwaveable plywood, slathered in additional lard, the trashcan has coated this sample in a blanket of staples and wool. Who knows how many people have touched it? Who knows how many people how breathed in its general vicinity? Is that vomit?!
“Isn’t that … dirty?” I ask. I can’t really fathom what happened to you tonight, or in your early childhood, that has led you to eat pizza dragged along the dirty floor like a rat in a viral video I haven’t seen. You could get hemorrhoids or dysentery. Are you up to date on your immunizations? Think about what you’re doing! It’s garbage, waste deemed unfit for retention, let alone consumption! Why do you disregard epochs of evolution and drag yourself back into the primordial ether? I’m reaching for the hand sanitizer in my back pocket, thinking to dissolve your sins like a medieval witch, but all that comes out of the container is a sad isopropyl poof. Empty. I want to take another shower but I’ve already taken four today.
Oh, this age! How tasteless and ill-bred it is. Mother told me to live in Carman so I could make new friends. But what’s the point of sharing experiences or pizza with people if those experiences are just going to be regurgitated onto the JanSport bags of strangers? Does any of this consumption produce anything that lasts? Tonight you extend to me the triangular, bile-stained hand of friendship while I hold your head so as to gently redirect the stream of regurgitated pepperoni emerging from your mouth, but tomorrow all that will be left are the stains caked into my shoes.