B: When we decided to write an article about Tasty Burger, I was torn. On one hand, it’s an iconic Harvard institution, and the title would be just click-bait-y enough that people might actually take time from browsing Facebook in section to check it out.
A: On the other hand, Tasty Burger is never where I want to end up. Ever. And I expressed this to Ben.
B: Violently. He spat a little. So we decided to take the Miley Cyrus approach and have the best of both worlds. We’d write about Tasty Burger, but from the comfort of our bedrooms. Or maybe from the comfort of Shake Shack, Bartley’s, or Four Burger, all establishments that have enough self respect to close before 2 a.m.
A: Okay but it’s one thing to close at 2 a.m., and quite another to basically be a gas station bathroom with a portable George Foreman Grill. I walk into Tasty Burger and feel forever unclean.
B: And this is coming from someone who takes, by the most conservative of estimates, at least four showers a day and who once threatened to “end me and all that I love” when I put my bare feet on his bed. But I digress. Like all the best plans of mice and men (although all the plans made by the mice I know, i.e. eating my food and scaring the shit out of me, have been successful), our clever scheme to evade journalistic responsibility came crashing down around us.
A: What we originally lacked in integrity we made up for in hunger, so we decided to roll to the Market and eat some yummy sandwiches while we wrote this piece. We threw on jackets and began our trek from Mather, figuring the cold wouldn’t be too bad. We were wrong.
B: I’m the type of New Englander who usually just throws on a sweatshirt and calls it a day. Andrew is from Connecticut, so I actually don’t know any stereotypes about him besides the fact that he’s sad about General Electric leaving or whatever. But this cold redefined the word. I’ve hiked through winter storms on mountaintops and still had the breath to belt out a few choice verses of Frozen, but this was the kind of chill that made me wish I had a second hoodie on. It drove us mad. So mad, we were forced to betray our most central of principles.
A: I cocooned myself in Ben’s trademark overcoat and still felt the wind rip into my soul. My life felt like that scene in “Inside Out” when all of the orbs start to turn blue with sadness, except with cold. I tried to cry, but the air froze my tears in my eyes and forced me to weep dryly.
B: Okay. I had my shit a little more together than that.
A: Ben, you literally texted your girlfriend to tell her that you loved her. Don’t tell me you weren’t preparing for the worst.
B: Well you... had no proof of that. Once I delete all the texts from my phone.
A: Right, anyway, we kept our heads down and did that half-jog thing through Quincy courtyard. At one point, I asked Ben if we should just go back.
B: I think in my delirium, I just kind of assumed that Mather had been lost to the snow. Without Dean Lassonde to tell me otherwise, I just started singing “We Can’t Stop” and Andrew took the hint.
A: I think it was during one of my rare glances up from the pavement that I saw it. The neon sign with its familiar, shudder-inducing script. Tasty.
B: Burger. Tasty Burger.
A: Ben, that was my moment! You ruined the big reveal.
A: The “restaurant” had white cups and sweaty bodies everywhere. People eating bad food like they didn’t care. Everything I hated in a single scene. But in that moment, I also felt weakness.
B: Look, it was either trek to Market and feel like mortal human beings as we freeze to death or abandon our principles and enter the First Circle of Hell.
A: Overall, Ben and I probably choose to abandon our principles nine times out of ten. This was one of those times. But our decision was not without justification. Our bodies were gelid and we felt like two hyperboreans of Greek mythology. The Cambridge zephyr was harsh, unyielding, and seemed to have been summoned by Elsa herself. In contrast, Tasty Burger was balmy, temperate, and inviting. There was a not insignificantly-sized crowd of people in the interior of the space. One could say a solid plethora of folks had gathered beneath Tasty’s roof.
B: Uh, yeah, to translate: It was full of people and warm.
A: For the sake of my upstanding reputation, I want to reiterate that I did not want to be at Tasty Burger. I’ll admit that it provided shelter from the unspeakable winter climate, but Tasty Burger and me didn’t suddenly become friends, okay? I wouldn’t ever pset with Tasty Burger. If Tasty Burger were sitting in the Mather dhall, I would sit down somewhere else. And even if Tasty offered a free burger promotion via text after an e-coli outbreak, you still would not see me darken its doorway. I used Tasty for its warmth and nothing else.
B: And Tasty’s personality was shit. It presented its own layer of threat. In the crush of bodies, I briefly lost Andrew. All around me wafted the smells of post party: Rubinoff and sweat. The tide of flesh wafted me one way, and then the other. I stumbled, tripping on a pointlessly intricate origami burger wrapper. A stranger caught me in his meaty arms. “Tony?” He rumbled, pulling me in close. I tried to insist that I was not, in fact, Tony, but he was too addled to understand.
A: I scrolled through Reddit for like a minute and when I looked up, Ben was gone. Scanning the crowd, I saw him by the soda dispenser. A man who could only be described as the human incarnation of Tasty Burger was hugging him and Ben was pushing him away. Holding down my innate disgust for what I had to do, I plunged into the crowd. After a chorus of insincere cries of “Excuse me!” I made it to Ben and pulled him out.
B: Moving hand in hand to stay together, like preschoolers, we navigated to the windows. Above the din, I shot Andrew a look. I filled it with all the fear and loathing and the aching agony that my soul contained, crying, laughing, pleading.
A: I looked back at Ben to see his typical hangry face. Red, scrunched-up, and infantile, it was hideous. I knew he wasn’t going to last long. One look at the long line of vagrant drunks convinced me Ben didn’t have time to wait for some mediocre burger. I knew what we had to do. Though there was a voice inside my head saying “You’ll never reach it,” I made the executive decision to soldier on to the Market. With Ben clutching my arm insisting he wasn’t Tony, we opened the grease-laced door and plunged into the night.