With the cloud of war looming over New Haven, the rationing had begun. Under the piercing eyes of John Calhoun, I was trapped in the dining hall, surrounded by hordes of scavengers. Rumor had it that the unions would strike in the morning, and students tussled over fruits, breads and silverware in a hopeless attempt to prepare for the impending apocalypse. Few generations of Yale students must face the hardships of a strike, but those that do can never forget the experience.
Realizing that time was short, I raced to grab two bruised apples from the bin; all the good apples had been pillaged hours earlier. I shoved past two students, reaching for a soup bowl, and then stumbled out of the dining hall, proud of my accomplishments. On the way, I noted the items my fellows deemed as necessary for survival.
1. Six loaves of bread: As the strike will last for one week, it is crucial to be able to make 60 sandwiches during that time. Indeed, given that this bread will need to last for five days, it is unfortunate that this amount will only allow my friends to eat 12 sandwiches a day.
2. A bowl of peanut butter: What better to spread over those 60 sandwiches than a day’s worth of peanut butter. Unfortunately no jelly was available to the daring student who smuggled the peanut butter from the hall — his suffering must be immense.
3. Eight Nalgene bottles of soda: Lest Yale students be forced to survive on anything other than Powerade or Mr. Pibb’s soda for this strike, students emptied the soda machines to provide enough caffeine for those long, cold winter nights. Better to stay caffeinated than to fall asleep, dreaming of just one more loaf of bread.
4. 30 apples: According to most doctors, people should have five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. As such, it is logical to take trays filled with fruit. And even if the fruit goes rotten within a day, at least students can occupy themselves while juggling during the job action.
5. Flatware and silverware: In case the strike lasts too long, students are preparing themselves by collecting as much ceramic as possible. Iron-rich knives and forks will help fight anemia during the coming week. And most importantly, students will not be forced to wash dishes if they steal enough of them.
I too made my attempt to join the fray during the cafeteria battle. While students fought over half-eaten boxes of Apple Jacks and Cookie Crisp, I ran for the college salad bar and took the three plastic bins filled with Chex Mix, potato chips, and goldfish crackers. I piled these large containers at my table and quickly went around the college taking as much ketchup and mustard as possible. Unfortunately, a voice in my head reflected upon the difficulty of digesting plastic, and so I returned these items. In retrospect, those bins could have helped set up a barricade around my refrigerator.
Day One of the strike has gone well. Contrary to what seems to have been expected by others, electrical power has not been shut off, we have not lost running water, and telephones still function. I am barely surviving on the diet of saltine crackers and peanut butter which I have found. I fear leaving my room in case my greedy suitemates steal my silverware. I have seen a deep hunger in their eyes. They want the crackers.
Justin Zaremby is a senior in Calhoun College. His column appears regularly on alternate Tuesdays.