Two stories of my need for coffee, with bonus stories about spoons and college

Last week, I had a cold. I was using so much tissue, that I had roll of toilet paper in my dorm room. One morning, I stumbled down to the kitchen and got a cup of coffee, then lurched back up to my room. I was sitting on my bed, and I felt that I was about to sneeze so I quickly reached for the roll of toilet paper: I grabbed it with one finger in the middle of the roll and my thumb on the outside. Surprisingly to me, the paper was hot and wet and spilled coffee all over my bed. In my defense, the light was off in the dorm room because some people were still sleeping, but there was enough light that I should have been able to see the difference between a cup of a coffee and a roll of toilet paper–but I did not. I spilled about half the cup because I grabbed it so quickly. Strangely, I did not sneeze. I guess spilling hot coffee on your leg prevents sneezing.

This morning, I am in a different room and it has a table. I am 99% done with the cold. I got some coffee and drank it. I even did some work–I thought I was awake. I then went to get breakfast: pancakes. I decided to eat in my room, and when I sat down to eat, I discovered that I had pancakes, syrup, oranges, a second cup of coffee, and a spoon to stir the coffee. I even remember to grab a couple of napkins. Somehow I did not get a fork for the sticky pancakes. Furthermore, I was too tired to go back and get a fork, so I am eating the pancakes with the spoon from the coffee.

I believe that proves my belief that if food is soft enough or cut into bite-sized pieces, the best eating utensils are a spoon and chopsticks. Forks are lame. A group of British doctors (mostly emergency room doctors) want to ban knives, too.

Eating pancakes with a spoon, or more specifically, cutting pancakes with a spoon reminds of the cafeteria at college–Bruce Hall at the University of North Texas. For unknown reasons, the tables knives were so dull that they were completely useless. We quickly discovered that the spoons were sharper than the knives and we all used spoons to cut things like chicken patties or chicken-fried steak. When you would go to the counter to get forks, knives, spoons, napkins, and other things, the bin of knives was always completely full and the bin of spoons was close to empty. We never figured out if the administration thought we were too stupid to use a real knife, if they were too cheap to buy new knives, or if it had something to do with “Brucelings.”

UNT has the best jazz music program in the US, so it attracts many “colorful” and let us say, “creative” people. The building for the school of music was across the street from Bruce Hall (a student dormitory), and even though it was the oldest dorm and the only dorm without air conditioning (in Texas!), nearly all of the jazz musicians preferred to live there because they could wake up five minutes before class and still be on time for class. My dorm was across the street from Bruce Hall, but it did not have a cafeteria, so we all ate in Bruce. My dorm was filled with the nerdiest kids in the entire university–so nerdy that in 1991, before the invention of the World Wide Web, Apple Computer sent a letter to our dorm’s computer room (yes, we were so nerdy we had a computer room in the dorm in 1991) and warned us that if did not stop pirating software that they would sue students in the dorm.

Even though we were nerds, we still got into plenty of trouble, but the jazz musicians in Bruce, affectionately called “Brucelings,” got themselves into completely different kinds of trouble. First, they were jazz musicians. Second, they were all between 18 and 21 years old. Third, because the dorm did not have air conditioning, they were allowed to open their windows. Fourth, they were living away from home for the first time. Fifth, the Resident Assistants, who were allegedly supervising the students were all former Brucelings.

Baja hoodie

For some of you reading this, you now know exactly why the tables knives were dull: to protect the Brucelings from themselves. Consider this: why do you go to the cafeteria? Because you are hungry. Is there a particular activity that unsupervised, young adult, jazz musicians might do on a regular basis that would make them especially hungry? Yes, one hypothesis for why the knives were dull was so that stoned Brucelings with the munchies would not accidentally cut their fingers off while trying to eat.

Oh Brucelings, how I miss you so. This was the grunge era, so they all dressed like Kurt Cobain or in a “Baja hoodie” that had never been washed. However, Bruce Hall had a huge common area on the first floor next to the cafeteria. The students came from all over the world to study jazz music and to be admitted to the school they had to have exceptional talent. Furthermore, they loved to play music. There was a piano in the common area and often times random students would go down to the common area and have jam sessions. It was fantastic to listen to such talented and motivated musicians–jazz musicians–jamming and improvising and loving what they were doing.

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