At 10 a.m. last Monday morning, my girlfriend had a biochemistry test that should have been an inconsequential event in my life. As it turned out, however, this test ultimately set off a chain of events that would inevitably lead to my utter humiliation. This story really starts off the night before at about 11:30 p.m. as I was lying next to my girlfriend, who was taking a break in her studying to watch “The Search for the Next Pussycat Doll.” As we were watching the show with a bag of popcorn and a jar of Nutella, I listened as one of the contestants (named Anastasia) confessed that the stress of the show was causing her to fall back onto her self-destructive eating habits. As I swallowed a handful of popcorn covered in Nutella, it occurred to me that my own eating habits had taken a destructive turn. I resolved to change my ways.
The next morning, after my girlfriend’s alarm went off at 6 a.m., I was forced to suffer through seven “snoozes” as she put off her last minute studying until literally the last minute. Finally I emerged from my bed tired, upset and worried about my weight. I sauntered to the balcony of my suite to acclimate myself to the day. As I peered out upon the world, one of my suitemates snuck up and roused me from my sleepy stupor with a swift punch to the stomach.
“What was that for?” I asked with a grimacing look upon my face. “It was for using all of my body soap,” he answered. “You got the lathery satisfaction of being clean, you owed me an equitable satisfaction – my punching you in the stomach.”
“Good thing he doesn’t know about the shampoo,” I thought to myself as I turned around and headed back to my room.
Still feeling somewhat drowsy, I headed to the gym in the hopes that an early morning workout would sufficiently energize me. As I approached the the Goergen Athletic Center, I heard the word “Asia” uttered by a girl who was talking on her cell phone. Hearing the word “Asia,” reminded me of the contestant Anastasia from the show I watched the night before, and I began to once again feel anxious about my weight. Thus, I headed straight for the scale in the locker room.
While I was on the scale, wearing nothing but a pair of spandex, I noticed one of my professors come into the locker room and make his way toward the scale. “I see you’ve put on some muscle” he began in a friendly tone as he settled behind me.”Muscle? More like blubber,” I answered giddily. “Well,” he replied, “at least you’re here and that says something.”
After contemplating his comment I turned to him and said, “I heard that during the filming of the movie ‘300,’ the actors who played the Spartan soldiers in the movie worked out for six hours a day. They also ate only two meals every day, an apple and a chicken breast. Now that’s saying something.”
“I’m not familiar with the movie,” he responded, “but I’m certainly not impressed with people who resort to starving themselves in order to enhance their appearance.”
“That sounds like something Anastasia would say,” I thought as I stepped down and left.
A couple of hours later, I was sitting in my class with the aforementioned professor who was engaged in his monthly ritual of passing out donuts to his students. He eventually made his way to my desk. “Take a donut, Andrew. Hell, after the way you worked out today, go ahead and take a couple,” he said. “No thanks, professor,” I answered, “I’m saving room for lunch.”
“Does this have something to do with our conversation in the gym?” he asked with a concerned tone. “Absolutely not,” I shot back. “It’s just that I promised some friends I’d meet them for lunch.” My professor shook his head with a disappointed look and went to the next student.
After class, I went to Douglass and had a kosher sandwich for lunch. In the midst of consuming my six-dollar turkey sandwich that probably cost the school under a dollar to make, I ran into my friends who persuaded me to join them for lunch at the Meliora. Arriving at the Meliora, we were immediately ushered to a table where we began an intense philosophical debate over whether or not the act of incest would be more forgivable if Scarlet Johansson was your sister. During this debate, unbeknownst to me, my professor and a group of his colleagues were seated at a table directly adjacent to my own. After a short while, our waiter came to take our orders. “Just a glass of water with a side of ice,” I told him jokingly. My professor, who had just gotten up from his table, approached me and disapprovingly asked, “What happened to saving room for lunch?”
“I already ate lunch,” I replied flippantly. He shook his head and looked at me with a recognizable disappointed expression.
Later, I got up from my seat to go to the bathroom. As I was about to open the toilet stall, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I was greeted with a massive right hook to my stomach and as I crumpled to the floor, I heard my suitemate say, “That one was for using all of my shampoo.”
Pushing myself up to my hands and knees, I felt the sudden urge to vomit. I crawled to the nearby bathroom stall and threw up every cent of the six-dollar turkey sandwich that I had recently consumed. “Now I’m ready to eat,” I jokingly said out loud, as I wiped off my mouth and opened the bathroom stall. But, emerging from the stall, I saw my professor standing before me, washing his hands at the sink with a facial expression that had become too familiar. “I hope that was worth it,” he said bitterly, as he shook his head slowly and walked away.
Schwartz is a member of the class of 2007.