Donald Kirsch *78 writes in the May Inbox about a “big athlete” inventing a new Hoagie Haven sandwich of whole cheesesteak with double meat and double cheese, and then in the same issue, From the Archives makes a call for “Commons-related stories.” So here we go. 

Being a Food Services worker, the gamut of assigned roles varied from line-server to pot-wash (where cleaning the circular scimitar of the meat slicing machines could give a body religion; those things were scary sharp). But back to the letter of Donald Kirsch. I worked for Food Services and was assigned as fry cook one breakfast morning. The role is essentially that of a short-order cook on a large grill.

That morning, a student walks up and orders a dozen eggs “easy over.” I promptly respond, “Coming up!” and commence breaking those dozen and filling up the grill. The guy was maybe 6-foot-3 and probably some 220-odd pounds of what was massively mostly muscle. While the eggs sizzle and spit on the hot grill, I make some small talk. “So, where are your buddies?,” I ask in curiosity, using my spatula to push around the eggs. The guy looks at me kind of confused, and responds, “What?”

“Your friends,” I say. “Where are they?,” as I start flipping some of the eggs over. Because I’m thinking to myself that he was ordering all those eggs for himself and two or three others not yet present. “All these eggs can’t be just for you,” I said, looking up and locking eyes with him. I almost right there went into shock because the look in his eyes and his response instantly corrected the “eggs-istential” error of my assumption. “Those eggs are for me,” he said. “All of them.”

I’m supposing that he was a football player. I believe I served him on a few other breakfast occasions (always a full dozen, and always “easy over”). But it’s been a long time, and the faithfulness of recall is infernally fickle from afar. If he reads this account and recognizes himself in it, then I sure hope he will reach out. He was a nice guy; phenomenal appetite! That’s my Commons story.

Rocky Semmes ’79
Alexandria, Va.