By Kurt Delay
Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Brave New World, Animal Farm, Thomas the Tank Engine. All of these works have one thing in common: totalitarianism. Whether it be a world in which books are burned, drugs are used to sedate the masses, or sentient trains’ very senses of identity are based on their usefulness to the all-controlling train company, we have always had a fear of losing what we hold closest: autonomy and individuality. These two ideals can only exist if we collectively adopt the principle of personal social responsibility. Laws only work if people follow them, promises mean nothing unless they are kept, and collective systems only work with near-complete participation. This being said, what kind of mindset does it breed to have someone else handle your ice cream? The implication here is that you don’t meet the hygienic standards to scoop your own ice cream. You don’t know how to wash your hands. You don’t need to worry about your influence on others, because the person scooping your ice cream that Superman ice cream and move along. Just another cog in the McClurg machine, you turn idly, ticking without even the slightest hint self-awareness or responsibility. This is not about just ice cream. This is about consciousness.
We live in a world where our every action bears weight in our lives and the lives around us. The supreme collective responsibility of humankind is not one to be taken lightly. There remains always the chance of harm befalling us due to the recklessness of someone else, but it is this very fear that propels us to reflect on our own actions and their consequences. It is this risk that both frightens and empowers us. As Marianne Williamson once said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
And so we hold this power of incalculable influence, trembling and invigorated. In the words of Dylan Thomas, “do not go gentle into that good night.” “Rage, rage against” the complacency of unaccountability. Take up proudly and fearfully your scoopers and press onward. Could a common, unregulated source of ice Photo courtesy of Kurt Delay (left) and Robert Beeland (right). cream possibly lead to the spread of disease? Absolutely. Almost certainly. Meditate on this, let this terrify you, and then do something about it. Be the enlightened gourmand that others would depend on. As citizens empowered by information and obligation to the greater good, we can all actively create the dining hall community we wish to see. Wash your hands, scoop your ice cream, and be free.
Photo courtesy of Kurt Delay (left) and Robert Beeland (right).
By Robert Beeland
As Bob Dylan said, “the times, they are achangin’,” and thank God they are. There have been changes to the setup of both the soft-serve station and the scoop-your-own ice cream station (which is either dubiously out of order or has been permanently removed) and I could not be happier. Getting even the most McClurg last year was one of the more anxiety-inducing processes I ever experienced. While queuing in the Omelette Line offers me a few pleasant moments of eggcentric reflection, preparing to scoop my own ice cream last year felt like preparing for fearsome battle; a Roman Gladiator of German Chocolate in the McClurg Coliseum, I was. A large, oafish lad at the head of the line reaches for the scooper with his filthy, germ-coated hands, dives into the vanilla vat and removes a bacterially festering dollop of dairy. I arrive to the front of the line. Beads of sweat drip from my brow as the next-in-liners breathe harshly down my neck, eagerly anticipating their opportunity to claim a small dairy treat. I extract a scrap of Butter Pecan fit for a mouse. My forearm trembles. I leave the line, ashamed, embarrassed, malnourished. The scooping of our discontent. The disappearance of this line has brought me, if anything, a slight semblance of inner peace amidst the dog-eat-dog world of the McClurg Dining Hall.
Additionally, the configuration of the soft-serve machine has been optimized to ultimate levels of lactose-ingesting joy. What was it ever doing over there by the tea and the pasta? Making a harmless cone of custard at that location was equally as frightful to that of my experiences with hardserve. The doors to the kitchen would swing open at any given moment, followed by a great stampede of titanically-sized food carts. My body is trampled in the ensuing rush, much like Mufasa in The Lion King. My son watches from the balcony. He weeps. Not to mention, both chocolate and vanilla work at the same time now. A half-and-half swirl, you say? I might be so inclined to fill a bathtub with the twisted concoction and eat my way to a certain gluttonous death. Are you going to stop me? I thought not.
So, may the new ice cream arrangement reign superior for the indefinite future. McClurg, you deserve an A+. Maybe I’d be getting more of those if I wasn’t so busy eating ice cream.