November 22, 2006

The gastronomical metaphor

My students write short papers for each class, papers written in response to what we are reading, or what we've been talking about, or stuff happening in the news, and we begin each class with a few of these papers read aloud. Since my fall semester students live together on one floor of a residence hall, they often read each other's papers the night before class, and they will come to class saying things like, "Make So-and-So read aloud today. Her paper rocks."

Apparently, the other day one of my students, Hair-in-Eyes, decided on a dare to eat 50 chicken nuggets in a single sitting. He is an average-sized person, not unusually big, so I can imagine how sick he must have at the end of the eating binge. His friends chose to write their papers about this feat, using it as a model of consumerism, an example of what happens in a culture in which people are constantly goaded into buying more, buying bigger, consuming as much as they can. Since we have been reading about environmental issues all semester, the papers did fit with the topics we've been discussing. Although the discussion began with some joking around, it quickly grew serious, with one woman bringing in the topic of eating disorders and how food gets tied to emotional issues in our culture.

I asked Hair-in-Eyes to sum up how he felt after eating the chicken nuggets. His roommates were making all kinds of comments to indicate the sort of gastrointestinal distress he'd been in. He looked up at the class, shook the hair out of his eyes, and said simply, "It was awful."

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

That sounds awful.

Happy Thanksgiving, Jo(e). I'm grateful for your writing and your friendship.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I feel ill after eating 6. I can't imagine eating 50.

That being said, I'm reminded of a "Malcolm in the Middle" episode where one boy bet that he could eat 100 Easter Peeps (you know, the cute yellow chicks). His friends counted along as the Peeps went down: "82...83...84..." ... and as they came back up: "85...84...83..."

Anonymous said...

This topic came up a lot when I taught my writing course on food and politics. We've got to be the only society that came with the idea of dieting as a commodity...even our plans at restraint are exercises in consumption.

Yankee, Transferred said...

I can't even think about it without wanting to gag.

Breena Ronan said...

Sounds like a good class though.

Joy said...

His comment says it all!

I want to wish you a Happy Turkey Day, Jo(e).

And if you're wondering where the turkey is, go see my blog...heheha I drew a little picture or two or three... :)

BeachMama said...

I couldn't even imagine eating 10 let alone 50!

nancy said...

Gross.

Southernmush said...

Hello.....I might say your entries are wonderful to read. I sure would like to meet your students they seem quite interesting. Your blog is quite a wonderful piece of writing as well. From your blog I can tell that you are a wonderful teacher and I also wish I were a student in your class.

Thank you for sharing your writing. Do keep up the good work !!!!!!! Tell your students to keep up their hard work !!!!!! I'm sure they will all be graduating with honor. Take care.

will smama said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Lmao...the perfect answer to the question. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in your classroom.

ppolarbear said...

I'm feeling a little woozy about it myself.

Sara said...

Boys and young men will do the most repulsive things on dares. I worked with a boy on the Conservation Corps who bit the head off a live frog on a dare; someone bet he wouldn't do it. The horrified protests of those of us who tried to stop it fell on deaf ears once his manhood was threatened.

At least your student has given some serious reflection to the issue: I bet next time he's dared to do something stupid, he will think a little harder first.

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

That reminds me of "Cool Hand Luke" and the hard boiled eggs.

Marie said...

I'm a little queasy. Great discussion. I would have loved to have your class.

Anonymous said...

That's really funny!