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Addison Del Mastro

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Souce: The American Conservative

Perhaps I should have studied or socialized more in graduate school, because some of my fondest and most vibrant memories are of evenings spent alone in all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets (which I’ve also written about here and here).

The appeal of the buffet, at a base level, is in its unlimited variety. It sets off the same childlike enthusiasm as a trade expo or a giveaway pile at a yard sale. At age 26, it still triggers memories of giddy excitement over being able to eat whatever I wanted without my parents controlling portions or demanding that veggies come before dessert. (In my experience, dessert at a buffet is most appropriate as an interlude before a final plate.)

Buffets are sometimes cast as symbols of American greed, excess, and materialism. Their uncertain but likely relationship to obesity and eating disorders is disconcerting. In some ways, buffets may be an expression of something dark in our national psyche.

But to psychoanalyze the meaning of the buffet might be just as silly as contemplating the texture of the lo mein noodles or the quality of the sushi rice in the California roll; it misses the point. In addition to whatever the buffet may

Souce: The American Conservative

The Internet, among other things, is a compendium of human nature; an emergent portrait of everything that we are. Discussion forums in particular, most especially Reddit, are an endless encyclopedia encompassing all of humanity’s creativity, kindness, brutality, eccentricity, and boredom. Reddit can occasionally inspire, and the right corners of the site can teach you a lot, but it often demonstrates what kind of person you don’t want to be—or what kind of person you might have been, had different circumstances intervened.

Some of the people who feature in these latter Reddit realms—featured mostly in sub-reddits like Tales From Retail, JUSTNOMIL, and various threads about buffets, debt, consumerism, and other ersatz Americana—merely exhibit poor tendencies compounded by poverty or force of habit. Some of the anecdotes are amusing: there is the miserly old woman who spends half a tank of gas driving around to find a payphone that only charges 25