The words “all you can eat” have always presented themselves as a personal challenge. I used to take offense at the implication that a single restaurant, or food service facility, could possibly expect to offer all that I can eat. As I sit 3 feet away from my computer with my stomach still touching the edge of my desk, I am beginning to understand the real implications of those 4 sinister words.
Let us dissect the meaning of the hellish phrase that has so recently caused me an abnormal amount of physical pain. The trouble with this phrase lays in the word “all.” What is this “all” that is being referenced? Does it refer to an infinite variety? The latest culprit of my extremely upset stomach calls itself the “Golden Corral.” This endless feeding trough did indeed have “all” the variety I could have desired. As I grazed along this golden showcase among a herd of angry cattle, I found myself placing tacos next to pizza, ribs on top of my orange chicken, and sprinkling my plate with a layer of popcorn shrimp. Surely this was “all” the variety that I could eat. Even though each of my four stomach compartments was full with a different type of food, I have come to the conclusion that variety is not the “all” that is so blatantly promised.
Perhaps “all” simply implies that of whatever food may be in the restaurant, one has permission to eat. Among the many items being offered, of all of them you may partake. Do they change the sign on Tuesdays to say “Only chicken you can eat?” Or perhaps by Sunday afternoon “Leftovers you can eat?” Though I admit the possibility of Wednesday being the only unrestricted “all” day of the week, I saw no signs of limited eating in the days to come.
Yes, “all” must be directly correlated to quantity. This raises the question: how much can I eat? I have learned over the years: too much. Every time in my life that I have been dared to pay a fee in order to eat all that I can, I have left the challenge less of a man. Today was no exception. The first 4 plates were a simple exploration of options to see what this corral of precious gold had to offer. Plates 5-6 were dedicated solely to those options found most enjoyable. I refer to these plates as the “All-star round.” As I entered the all-star round at the Golden Corral, I noticed something: what little self respect I had left seemed to be moving its way into my stomach to force the removal of plates 1 through 4 by whatever means necessary.
As I strain to breathe by wheezing loudly due to the intense pressure forced on my lungs by an enlarged stomach, I finally understand that the world has already seen all that I can eat. I will no longer be lured in by those cunning b*****s (buffets). I will let others determine how much I can and should eat through Texas Sized Combos of ribs and steak, or extra large value meals. When left to my own devices at a buffet, I will overindulge in a masochistic desire to prove how much I can eat. From now on, I will let the professionals like Ronald McDonald, Wendy, and the King of Burgers tell me how much to eat, and I will be a better man for it.