Though today free food seems to be ubiquitous, such is not always the case. When this situation inevitably arises, one might want to resort to Christopher Morris-Lent’s final three commandments for finding and obtaining free food.
8. THOU SHALT STEAL SILVERWARE FROM JOHN JAY
Free food usually comes with the utensils required to eat it, but these forks and spoons are but miserably flimsy plastic facsimiles of their steel counterparts. Plus: invariably you will take, say, a delicious salad back to your room and discover that you failed to pick up a spork with which to eat it. Running down to 212 to grab a disposable utensil is admitting defeat, and letting the salad sit uneaten is missing the point entirely. In cases like these, then, I contend that it is convenient to be able to bust open one of your drawers and pull out a fork that you conveniently forgot to place on the conveyor belt as you left John Jay, because said fork was in your pocket. Grab a spoon and a knife, too. You will use them. Washing is optional – whenever my fork got grotesquely encrusted with detritus from who knows what bygone meals, I’d simply flip it over and use the other end to stir my tea (brewed in a mug still redolent of last night’s Monarch vodka).
9. THOU SHALT FILCH FROM 212
A different kind of “free food” than what ABC might have in mind, stolen goods from Café 212 form the dietary staple of those poor freshman souls who have blown all their points on overpriced sandwiches by mid-October and have no desire to run the laxative-filled gauntlet of John Jay more than is humanly necessary. Simply pluck a salad or a Naked Juice from the shelf and walk away. Works best whenever the underpaid cashiers are inundated with orders from grumpy students (between the hours of 10 AM and 8 PM); comes with complimentary thrill of taking it to The Man and staving off a dinner of Hamburger à la Ex-Lax for just one more goddamn day all at once. I personally never did this. Heh heh. [N.B.: BWOG DOES NOT ENDORSE STEALING. – Ed.]
10. THOU SHALT REFRESH BWOG EVERY FIVE MINUTES
But seriously: even if you make a fetish out of following the first nine commandments, you will often find your hands and stomach empty and your wallet faced with the ignominious task of sacrificing its contents to food. This is because your success anent free food is based largely on luck, like baseball or hooking up with the opposite sex (or so I tell myself.) Free food appears around campus irregularly and unpredictably only to evanesce an hour or two later. Humbert Humbert might have put it thus: “Free food, sweetest and most capricious of commodities!”
The sly scavenger has but one recourse, and that is to refresh Bwog religiously. Searching for free food without reading Bwog would be like fighting Nazi Germany without solving Enigma. A dedicated team of tipsters works around the clock to inform the editors of any potential free feeding frenzies, and the editors work around the clock to bring knowledge of these to the masses. With this advantage in information, you are assured a greater bounty of free food than even the luckiest and most persistent campus peripatetic.
Free food is sporadic and ephemeral. Most of the time your cravings will go as unsatisfied as John Daly’s yen for a swallow of Gentleman Jack in the middle of the 10th fairway. But life is too short and John Jay too, um, shitty, to miss those rare and glorious occasions at Columbia when there is such thing as a free lunch.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner: New York, 1953.