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Ways to Amuse yourself in the dining hall

Tom Raaf | Thursday, January 15, 2004

After going to the dining hall almost every day for two and a half years, I became bored with simply sitting and reading School Daze again and again until it actually became funny. I decided that I needed to spark some of the dormant creativity that goes unused in many of my business classes to make lunches and dinners a little more interesting. As a result, I developed several activities that can be done to provide hours of entertainment in a place in which most students spend a great deal of time. The first set of ideas deals simply with seating arrangements. If you’re in South and have a group of friends who has tired of everyday lunches, arrange yourselves in the “Last Supper” seating arrangement by sitting with everyone on one side of the long wooden tables – this is preferably executed on the Right-Right side of South dining hall. If you are by yourself and wish to create an awkward situation, sit directly across from someone else who is eating by himself, except sit one table away so there’s all sorts of uncomfortable, unwanted eye contact. If you wish to make this situation even more fun, carry on a conversation with your imaginary friend across the table from you … oh, yeah … and this friend is telling the best story you’ve ever heard. If you’re not really into permanently severing a relationship with a complete stranger, this idea may not really be for you.Picking out food can also tend to get a bit repetitive and tedious at times, especially when the item of the day is the Quesatater Potato Tantalizer, the new food that looks like grade school mini corn dogs. If you feel like making the food selection process interesting, grab a friend and rehearse a ridiculous 10-second conversation. Next, find an unsuspecting person (preferably a quiet girl) walking around and follow them around, station to station, having the same annoying conversation at each station. Once she realizes what is going on and gives you both a look that says “You two are criminally insane,” you can leave her alone. As a warning, don’t do this around exam time because it might just be the thing that sends someone over the edge.Another fun activity is standing by the pre-peeled hard-boiled egg bin and observing the people who come by. There seems to be no middle ground with the hard-boiled egg eaters. Either they stop by, grab one quickly and continue on their way or they bring a giant bowl and pile just an absurd number of eggs. Today I saw some kid with like 20 eggs … I call him Cool Hand Luke now.On the more normal side, experimenting with food and making yourself some new dishes can always be a good change of pace. Since the only Quesadilla the dining hall offers is cheese and broccoli, I make my own chicken and cheese ones that I call slippery muppets. Would you like to try one? The meatball sub has also been a good addition in my regular rotation … and it keeps me regular, which is nice. Occasionally, I also build a giant dish I call Nachos Bell Grande, which has everything in the Mexican section on it.Looking to see if I was the only one who has tried to make time in the dining hall more fun, I asked some fellow students for their reactions. “I have a friend who laughs really easily, and we try to make her spew liquids from her nose. As soon as she takes a gulp of anything, we just say something strange to her and let nature take over,” said junior Caitlin Rackish. “My favorite was when we got her to spew hot chocolate. It was probably a bit dangerous, but after doing a cost-benefit analysis with my friend, we decided it was definitely worth it.” Off-campus Junior Mike McNamara said, “When there are potato skins at dinner, I lather my face in creamy peanut butter and stick the potato skin to it. Then I run up to people saying I’m the guy from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’ve gotten four dates and two make-out sessions from this tactic so far.” Interesting … and curious … rather curious.By no means should you limit yourself to any of the above-listed ideas. These are simply meant to be catalysts on the road to permanent dining hall happiness and merriment. Enjoy!

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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archive

Ways to amuse yourself in the dining hall

Observer Scene | Thursday, January 15, 2004

After going to the dining hall almost every day for two and a half years, I became bored with simply sitting and reading School Daze again and again until it actually became funny. I decided that I needed to spark some of the dormant creativity that goes unused in many of my business classes to make lunches and dinners a little more interesting. As a result, I developed several activities that can be done to provide hours of entertainment in a place in which most students spend a great deal of time. The first set of ideas deals simply with seating arrangements. If you’re in South and have a group of friends who has tired of everyday lunches, arrange yourselves in the “Last Supper” seating arrangement by sitting with everyone on one side of the long wooden tables – this is preferably executed on the Right-Right side of South Dining Hall. If you are by yourself and wish to create an awkward situation, sit directly across from someone else who is eating by himself, except sit one table away so there’s all sorts of uncomfortable, unwanted eye contact. If you wish to make this situation even more fun, carry on a conversation with your imaginary friend across the table from you … oh, yeah … and this friend is telling the best story you’ve ever heard. If you’re not really into permanently severing a relationship with a complete stranger, this idea may not really be for you.Picking out food can also tend to get a bit repetitive and tedious at times, especially when the item of the day is the Quesatater Potato Tantalizer, the new food that looks like grade school mini corn dogs. If you feel like making the food selection process interesting, grab a friend and rehearse a ridiculous 10-second conversation. Next, find an unsuspecting person (preferably a quiet girl) walking around and follow them around, station to station, having the same annoying conversation at each station. Once she realizes what is going on and gives you both a look that says “You two are criminally insane,” you can leave her alone. As a warning, don’t do this around exam time because it might just be the thing that sends someone over the edge.Another fun activity is standing by the pre-peeled hard-boiled egg bin and observing the people who come by. There seems to be no middle ground with the hard-boiled egg eaters. Either they stop by, grab one quickly and continue on their way or they bring a giant bowl and pile just an absurd number of eggs. Today I saw some kid with like 20 eggs … I call him Cool Hand Luke now.On the more normal side, experimenting with food and making yourself some new dishes can always be a good change of pace. Since the only Quesadilla the dining hall offers is cheese and broccoli, I make my own chicken and cheese ones that I call slippery muppets. Would you like to try one? The meatball sub has also been a good addition in my regular rotation … and it keeps me regular, which is nice. Occasionally, I also build a giant dish I call Nachos Bell Grande, which has everything in the Mexican section on it.Looking to see if I was the only one who has tried to make time in the dining hall more fun, I asked some fellow students for their reactions. “I have a friend who laughs really easily, and we try to make her spew liquids from her nose. As soon as she takes a gulp of anything, we just say something strange to her and let nature take over,” said junior Caitlin Rackish. “My favorite was when we got her to spew hot chocolate. It was probably a bit dangerous, but after doing a cost-benefit analysis with my friend, we decided it was definitely worth it.” Junior Mike McNamara said, “When there are potato skins at dinner, I lather my face in creamy peanut butter and stick the potato skin to it. Then I run up to people saying I’m the guy from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’ve gotten four dates and two make-out sessions from this tactic so far.” Interesting … and curious … rather curious.By no means should you limit yourself to any of the above-listed ideas. These are simply meant to be catalysts on the road to permanent dining hall happiness and merriment. Enjoy!

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not of The Observer. Contact Tom Raaf at traaf@nd.edu.