BACON: You Can’t Stop Me from Eating the Berries Outside the Arts Building

Leith Mascari, Staff Writer

As winter turns to spring and the time of regrowth begins as life sprouts from the earth, one specific tree outside of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School’s Arts Building will begin to create leaves. And from those leaves, over time, will sprout beautiful red berries. Their glistening sheen dances in the sunlight. They are always back each spring, providing a splash of color to the landscape and reminding us of the beauty of nature.

I’m going to eat them all.

I know what you’re going to say. “But Leith! They could be poisonous!” All I hear is cowardice. Yes, of course they can be poisonous! But anything could be poisonous, and it takes bravery to be the one to find out which is which. As stated by world-renowned professional eater Joey Chestnut, “Everything is edible. But some things are only edible once.” I’ve worked hard to prepare for this moment. I await the return of the berries every day. I’ve done my research on professional food tasting strategies so I can give an accurate account of the essence of the fruit. I haven’t eaten in 2 months so I don’t accidentally mask the flavor. I’ve even been flossing to ensure that my teeth can break open the tough outer layer of the berries without instantly shattering like they usually do. And as David Goggins famously said, “If you’re really on that grindset, you should work out your immune system too.” So, I’ve been licking the poles on CTA trains to ensure that my body is the most disease-resistant object in the Chicago area. You can judge me all you want. I know for a FACT you’ve thought about it too. Anyone who has seen these berries has imagined what it would be like to let the intrusive thoughts win, to pop one in your mouth and feel the crunch as the tangy juices coat your tongue in a sheet of flavor and wonder. It’s a natural human impulse. I will be the one to find out if the berries are as delicious as they look. The secret will be mine and mine alone. And if I die, I will take the secret to the grave. There is nothing you can do to stop me. In fact, you should join me! As soon as the berries begin to sprout on the tree once more, come to the front of the arts building, pluck a few off the tree, and enjoy your meal. Let your intrusive thoughts win. And, god willing, we can finish eating all of the berries before we fall into our 5-month coma.

Image courtesy of Beacon Archives