There’s a fine line between “free spirit” and “miserable fuck up.” All throughout sophomore year it felt like we were playing jump rope with that line. We were at a crux of being too young to be held accountable, but too old not to know better. Freshman year of college it was almost cute when we got in trouble, the dozens of write ups from public safety and the chicanerous stories of excessive debauchery that accompanied them. By our second year of college we had learned our lesson, only because by then we had it down to a science. Don’t get me wrong, if anything we behaved even worse, but by then we knew exactly how to get away with it.
We had this Sunday morning tradition of rallying the core group together and trying to make sense of the night before. In most cases, we were a raccoon eyed bunch of unwashed ragamuffins. This particular Sunday we had decided to venture beyond campus and dine at Lost Lake Cafe, and from what I remember, the night before must have been especially rough for your humble FFF blog writer. The details of the night seems so tawdry, but when I reminisce of the breakfast that followed, it never fails to get a smile.
We walked from the dorms to the cafe, three large boys from the crew team and yours truly, the runt of the litter. The thing about befriending gentle giants such as these folk, is that you need to learn to be able to keep up in every sense. This would likely have explained why my brain felt like an under-cooked meat patty. Had you stuck a fork in my cerebral cortex, I guarantee the juices would not have run clean.
As we walked I made a point in adding minimal contributions to the conversations that were happening for two simple reasons. The first being that I knew the likelihood of me making a fool out myself was significantly diminished if I limited my responses to a simple “yes” or “no.” The second reason being that I was fixated on my order. I recited my lines in my head as like an Eastern mantra, “Chicken fried steak… CHIcken fried steak… chicken FRIED steak…”
Before I knew it, I was sitting there listening to the echo of the waitress’s voice bounce back and forth between the interior walls of my skull, “And what’ll you have, hun?” I cleared my throat and then arrogantly exclaimed, “Chicken fried steak!” As she took note of my order she then uttered the most treacherous sentence in the English language, “Mmmkay, and how do you want your eggs?” My mind went blank, I was not prepared for a follow up question.
I knew in that instant, I was fucked. I had studied for a multiple choice test, and I had no idea there was going to be a short answer response section. The word “fried” popped into my head, but then I began second guessing myself, thinking “Aren’t most kinds of eggs technically fried?” Pencils down, time for an answer. I looked to Brendan, helpless. Brendan, my saviour, in my time of need, I was hoping he would intervene. My eyes must have told the story, because he asked aloud “what are you looking at me for? I don’t know what you want.” The waitress laughed, and mortified, I must have mumbled “sunny side up.”
The eggs were runny and looked like how my brain felt. I worried about making a mess and twice, a fool out of myself, but then I watched and noted Anthony’s method as he consumed eggs in the most efficient fashion. He had this beautiful system where he would lift his eggs up onto the hash browns so that when the yolk inevitably ran, he would have a nice little bed to catch them. He deserved the Nobel Prize for that, the brilliant bastard.