By Matthew Maschino
While I was being served a scrumptious helping of turkey-flavored goo, smashed potatoes and assorted green things last week, I couldn’t help but notice something was grossly awry in the Commons.
As I plunged my hand into the forest of silverware atop the serving station, I found plenty of knives and a wealth of spoons. As my hand meandered from one canister of utensils to another, the gravity of the situation finally sank in: Where have all the forks gone?
I gripped my tray tightly with both hands. How am I supposed to consume the amazing mess of Commons goodness that inhabits my plate at every meal if the three-pronged master of food consumption is missing?
Empty handed, I solemnly carried my tray to an empty seat where my friends had already begun eating their Jell-Oo and tomato soup. As I sat down, I noticed that the fork famine had affected other as well. Ordinary people stared at their plates, confused as to how they should approach the pile of steaming delectables that beg to be speared with a miniature trident.
One student attempted to use a spoon to eat a leafy salad and was faced with utter failure. Another student stabbed a sizable chunk of turkey with her knife and the dead bird took flight somewhere between the plate and her mouth. Two professors sharing a booth near the windows were so overcome by anxiety and confusion that they buried their heads into their plates, picking up chunks of food with their teeth and licking off the layer of lunchtime slop that covered their faces.
A temporary shortage of forks might be livable. But this terrifying occurrence was only the start of a catastrophic weeklong case of fork deprivation.
With each passing day, forks became more difficult to find. When the scarcity of forks becoming harder to bear, desperate students began hoarding the remaining silverware. Accusation flew around the room like a Cold War-era meeting of the UN Security Council. First the freshman filched the forks. Then sophomore scavengers sold the silverware. Were the Tri-delts using them for a secret ritual or were Ruter residents raiding Kurth with those tiny metal pitchforks?
Stories abounded, but no one seemed to know for sure where the forks had gone. Conspiracy theories cropped up throughout campus. Was Della using them for some nefarious plot to overthrow Ella as Queen of Friday Lunch? Were the cooks preparing to oust their Sodexho masters and create an independent eatery?
After days of unusually severe malnutrition, the students learned what had finally become of their fine three-legged friends. The steel workers’ unions were striking across the country and our hardworking stainless steel forks had left the lunch line for the picket line.
The forks employed by the Commons work tirelessly from early in the morning to the bustling noon hour to late night shifts. They have to deal with many occupational hazards that frequently leave them disfigured. I personally have met several forks in the Commons that are hunchbacked and have twisted appendages.
Our poor fork friends were back to work on Monday, but they returned without achieving any progress in their attempts to improve workplace conditions and provide better compensation for injuries on the job. They reluctantly resumed their duties after learning of the widespread starvation and anarchy that ruled the student body in their absence.
At lunch, I breathed a sigh of relief when my hand came to rest on a fork as turkey pot pie landed on my plate with a splat. Finally I could chomp into that turkey-based concoction the way it was meant to be devoured.
But aAs I reached to collect my fork’s counterparts, I came to a new terrifying realization. Where have all the spoons gone?