I kind of hate strawberries. They’re ridiculously good-looking fruits, with their little green caps perched atop plump red bodies, but every time I eat fresh strawberries, my lips get a little itchy, my stomach starts grumbling and complaining, and I seriously question my intelligence for putting myself through this yet again. I suppose that I might just be very slightly allergic to strawberries, but I refuse to consider the possibility that I might be allergic to any foods. Besides, I actually really like things like strawberry jam, ice cream, and shortcake; I’m pretty sure that macerating/boiling/processing the strawberries takes the evil out of them.
Given my extreme distaste for strawberries, you can probably imagine how bewildered I was when I first heard about Strawberry Girl. I didn’t live with Strawberry Girl myself, but a bunch of my friends did, and every so often they just had to vent about this girl. Apparently, every time that fresh strawberries were stocked for lunch or dinner, Strawberry Girl would get there first and clean house, filling multiple take-out boxes (or buckets, in some versions of the story) to the brim with the strawberries and taking them all back to her room, leaving a couple of token strawberry rejects for everyone else to fight over.
This raised a whole bushel of questions. I know that most people who aren’t me actually like strawberries, but who likes strawberries that much? Was she really eating all of those strawberries in one sitting? How did she get her strawberry fix before college? But I thought about one question the most: what exactly went through her head every time she nabbed all the strawberries? Either she was oblivious to the fact that taking all the strawberries was a super inconsiderate thing to do, or she knew and just didn’t care. I’ve met my fair share of spacey/oblivious people, but given how many people were getting mad about the whole situation, I’d have to imagine that it was the second case.
To be fair to Strawberry Girl, and despite what the people who lived with her might tell you, hoarding’s not something that she invented. Just last week, I was passing through Wilbur Dining when I saw a girl swagger up to a cereal dispenser with a giant Tupperware jug, shove its mouth under the dispenser chute, and hold down on the dispenser lever. She looked like she was filling up her car with gas. I’m not without sin either, I’ll admit to taking an extra candy or two “for the road,” but every time I get tempted to take much more than my fair share, a little ditty from childhood pops into my head.
“There are 5C’s in Lower School, that’s just the way it is,
Cooperation, Consideration, Confidence, Concern,
And Courtesy is the last one, it’s there for you and me,
So there you have our 5C’s, we hope you’ll live them too!”
Despite it not rhyming in the slightest, it somehow managed to be incredibly catchy, and that catchiness, combined with the fact that we sang it every single week at our lower school assemblies for five straight years, burned the 5C’s into my brain. Sure, we really shouldn’t need reminding that we should be being cooperative, considerate, etc. at our age, and the song is really only cool for 6-to-10-year-olds (and even then it’s debatable), but seeing as how there’s been tension over inconsiderate behavior in my dorms/houses every single year, we clearly can all still use a little reminder every once in a while. Building community in a dorm or a house isn’t always easy, especially given how many other things Stanford students always have going on, and it becomes close to impossible if we forget these C’s. Things like cleaning up after ourselves, coming to dorm/house events, and not hoarding might seem like silly things to be worrying about, but it’s these little things that set the tone. It’s fine to do what you want to do, but it’s pretty rare that you’ll derive so much more pleasure from leaving that dirty pot on the stove than from taking a couple of seconds to wash it out, so why not take those couple of seconds and make the house a little nicer for everyone else? You don’t want to be the next Strawberry Girl, do you?
Tim is taking suggestions on how to overcome his very slight allergy to strawberries. Email him at [email protected].