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Give me strawberries

| Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I am craving strawberries. I see strawberries when I walk into the dining hall. I should eat these strawberries.

This is how my mind works, especially after philosophy class. One logical thought follows another logical thought. I consider my desires and form a will. I act on this will and am fulfilled; I pop berries in my mouth, and my stomach is filled.

In this case, though, I am not free to turn my will into action, for I am not allowed to eat said strawberries. They are saved for people who can jump higher than I can, row faster than I can and wear spandex shorts better than I can.

What is this meritocracy that awards the sweetest fruit to those who have protruding deltoids and shiny backpack tags? It’s called training tables.

I can’t blame the athletes, for if the training tables were turned, I would probably hoard all the strawberries, too. What I would not do is pile them in a bowl and dump yogurt and granola on them and then only eat half of them. That is a crime. Disclaimer: NDSP does not agree with this definition of crime.

I watch the half-empty bowls being wheeled out of the athlete section and contemplate stealing a handful of half-eaten berries. It’s not a sanitary solution, but hey — I got a flu shot. The berries themselves aren’t half eaten — they’re just in a bowl that used to contain other berries that have now been consumed by someone else.

In fact, the only problem with these berries is that someone with a low-BMI was planning on eating them, but then they realized their BMI wasn’t low enough and decided not to. That’s not the berries’ fault. We should not treat them as if they are contaminated just because someone thought they wanted them and then changed their mind. That’s like deciding you won’t date anyone who has been broken up with before.

I weigh the risks and benefits of eating these rejected berries using the Political-Economic-Social categories I learned in U.S. history class.

Politically, eating the berries would make a statement. I represent the second-class students by eating secondhand berries. I will not assent to deprivation without representation.

Economically, it makes sense. I save money if I don’t buy berries elsewhere. I maximize the investment Notre Dame made in these berries by making sure they are not wasted. They will fuel me to study so I pass my tests, get hired and donate a strawberry fund for non-varsity student athletes. (Anyone who climbs the DeBart stairs is an athlete in my mind.)

Socially, I will suffer repercussions for consuming these berries. My fellow students will think I am disgusting and cheap.

The right political and economic action is prohibited because of social disapproval. This is not the only time in history this has happened.

I, a second-class student, am left with some options. I could hit the gym and hit up tryouts. If you can’t beat them, join them.

But what if I can’t join them? There is no varsity hula-hooping squad.

I could wage war on training tables. Food fights are fun, but then I’d have to pick strawberries off the floor and eat them. I don’t have that much faith in my multivitamins.

I could protest. I could start a Fruit for Everyone campaign. I could be normal and buy my own berries.

I could go to section food and hope my R.A. is handing out strawberries. I dismiss the hope as hopeless. I check my email and see she emailed 7A two hours ago to say: “GUYS I HAVE ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES AND APPLES IN MY ROOM FOR YOU. So many noms. Please come eat them now.” I cry.

I could ask my friend on the track team to bring some strawberries back in a take-out box for me. Ethical? Revolutionary? Not exactly. Time, cost and energy-effective? Most definitely.

I am craving strawberries. My friend can bring me strawberries. Nothing completely prevents this course of action, so this course of action will be followed.

The logical side wins again, and the desired strawberries are devoured. The political and economic problem about depriving the majority of the student population of strawberries has not been resolved, but my stomach is full for now.

Short-term, small-scale solutions are the easiest. I got what I wanted without much effort and without social repercussions. Points for me. I did not do anything to benefit society as a whole. No points for anyone else.

This is not the first time in history there has been a problem and someone has wanted to fix it, but then realized it was easier to get around the rules and leave others to fend for themselves. And people wonder why no one has fixed climate change yet.

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About Erin Thomassen

I am a freshman double majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) and French. PLS (aka the Notre Dame Book Club) is the history of ideas through literature, philosophy, math and science. It was the perfect major for me, because I couldn't possibly choose one subject and hurt the other subjects' feelings. French was also a natural pick, since I have been prancing around my house under the pretense of performing ballet for eighteen years. If someone asks me what I do in my free time, I will tell them that I run and read. What I actually do is eat cartons of strawberries and knit lumpy scarves. If you give me fresh fruit, we will be friends. If we become friends, I will knit you a scarf for Christmas. It may be lumpy, but it will be in your favorite color. And if enough people become my friend, lumpy scarves might just become a trend.

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