September 25, 2012

The Baconator: A symbol of fast food oppression at U of L

The “Baconator” is emblematic of a larger problem at U of L: lack of healthy food sources on campus.

It’s 6 p.m. on a Tuesday.  Campus is practically deserted but you’ve been in the upper reaches of the library writing a paper since you got out of class, and you have several hours of work ahead.  The gurgling of Einstein autumn roast coffee comingled with what’s left of the pumpkin bagel you had for lunch is becoming more frequent, a reminder that some form of sustenance is going to become necessary very soon.

We’ve all been here before. You’ve used up most of your meal points on McAllister’s (What’s that? You want a small sandwich and a tablespoon of macaroni and cheese? Ten magic meal point dollars, please.) and walking back to your apartment or dorm isn’t an option.  That’s when you begin to consider the fast food restaurants in the SAC.

First, there is Wendy’s, probably the cheapest option on campus.  Despite all of my firm resolutions to get a salad or something I won’t feel awful about eating, I always find myself blurting out “Baconator” on the rare occasion that I go to Wendy’s.  The inner monologue goes something like, “You’ve been studying all day, working hard; why don’t you reward yourself with bacon!”  But this is never a good decision.

It’s hard to articulate the sense of profound shame and disgust one feels when eating a Baconator.  It’s basically this sloppy calamity of greyish meat and probably microwaved bacon between two buns, slathered with mayonnaise and ketchup.  And let’s not forget the natural cut fries!  What exactly is a natural cut fry, you say?  I can only assume that Wendy’s workers are setting out the little fry cartons under trees in an enchanted forest overnight and that by morning, they are full of fries, cut and salted by Mother Nature herself.

Back to the Baconator.  I can’t stress enough what a dastardly invention the sandwich is.  It’s not often that a food item can ruin your day.  With each bite, dripping with mayo and bacon grease, you begin to question your self worth.  It can inspire feelings of existential angst.  Questions like “What am I doing with my life?” and “Why am I here?” begin to crop up.  I feel like I should have to make a confession after eating one: “Bless me father for I have sinned.  I’ve – oh God, I can’t even say it – I’ve eaten…a Baconator.”

They say that smoking a cigarette takes five minutes from your life expectancy.  I feel like there must be an analogous figure for the baconator.  But yet I see dozens of poor souls ordering them all the time.  They study the menu for a moment, as if they were considering the healthier options, and then inevitably, with a sigh of resignation, murmur “baconator” under their breath, accepting the five minute dock.  I imagine all of these people on their death beds one day, their lips parting to say in a raspy voice to their gathered loved ones “I’ve always meant to tell you…” and then dying abruptly because of one Baconator too many.

All of this is to say that there aren’t many healthy meal options on campus.  I could mention the mystery meats and horrible service at Subway or greasy Papa John’s pizza, but it seems like the baconator is the most relevant symbol for U of L’s abysmal food choices.  So for the sake of future generations, I’m begging U of L administrators: give us something besides the baconator.

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