A Friday Story

A Friday Story

I had high hopes for this week, what with the drinking hiatus (save for 36 hours last weekend – it was a holiday), the working out, the reading.  My newly clear head certainly seemed destined to write some hard-hitting pieces on healthcare, the economy or the seemingly tenuous state of Brad and Angie’s relationship.  Instead, I just started sleeping another five hours per day (now up to 16!).  So nothing hard-hitting, thought-provoking or tumescent.

Anyway, I was watching The Office wedding last week, which I enjoyed immensely – despite the fact that much of the plot was eerily similar to Marshall and Lily’s wedding two years ago on How I Met Your Mother.  I’m generally okay with repetition (as anyone who’s read the same thing six times on this site is well aware of.)  But one aspect of the show reminded me of a lunchtime day at the Naval Academy some 15 years ago or so…

I’m relating this story second-hand, but I have it on good authority that it is factually correct.  The photo above is from King Hall, the Naval Academy’s massive cafeteria – allegedly the world’s largest – where thousands of people are served a delicious (lunch) or horrendous (breakfast, dinner) meal almost simultaneously.  The machinelike precision of the cafeteria workforce is a pleasure to watch in action, and visitors come to marvel at the spectacle.  For the mids, King Hall is an important place, beyond just getting some food.  Back in the good old days, plebes used to get f*cking screamed at non-stop throughout every meal (when no visitors were present, of course) for not knowing arcane facts about some upperclassmen’s favorite team/current event/cartoon.  Good times.  Now, I’m pretty sure there are mani/pedi stations at every table, and the pitchers of water have ice and cucumbers in them.

There are something like 600 tables in King Hall, and they are arranged mostly by company – you sit with the people that you live with, basically, for the structured lunches.  Members of athletic teams ate together at “team tables.”  This story is about the golf team table.  I won’t go into unnecessary detail about Academy food, it was not that great, except for some of the lunches.  That’s were I found out I love gyros; that was easily the most polarizing lunch offered – people either loved or loathed it, and there was always a ton of gyro meat for the plundering.  If, for example, you hated the lunch that was offered, you might just make yourself a pb&j.  Complete with USNA-branded peanut butter (there used to be an academy-owned dairy or something, the milk and juice was branded as well – trivia).

Anyway, on one Friday afternoon, one anonymous midshipmen golfer was enjoying a pb&j in lieu of what was on offer.  He had chosen chunky peanut butter, a reasonable choice.  I’m a smooth man, myself, but I can understand the appeal of chunky.  He was laughing, shooting the shit, imagining the good things to come over the weekend, when he bit down upon a particularly difficult peanut.  Giving it his best effort, he could not grind the thing down into a familiar comestible chunk.  A startled look grew upon his face, catching the attention of others at his table, causing a stir as they mulled what could be causing the struggle.  Ultimately the midshipmen golfer realized that he was going to have to pull out the offending peanut particle.  Upon removing the gnawed item from his mouth, he gave it a look and found….

a yellow toenail.

Like you wouldn't totally eat that

This development caused midshipmen golfer to vomit in projectile fashion, leading many of his comrades in long irons to do the same.  It was like Stand By Me up in that mother fucker!  The Office’s cold opening had some group hurling, and jogged the old memory.  I apologize.

Have a sweet weekend,


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