I wish I could pinpoint what exactly it is that keeps me coming back. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that Waffle House will welcome six bleary-eyed high school seniors who can’t help but order the entire menu on a Saturday night, just as it will welcome families the next day in their Sunday best and truckers who’ve driven across countless state lines the night after that.
It was like this culinary cold war, a pissing contest for who’d eaten the weirdest animal appendage. I was hurt, not just because I had lost the war (my mom was never able to find frozen sheep penis at the grocery store, not even at Whole Foods), but because we were fighting it in the first place. What were we trying to prove? And to whom? Why?
No one wanted to wear it. We threw it around the circle like we were playing a game of hot potato, chucking it from one person to the next, shrieking “You wear it!” “No, you wear it!” Everyone wanted to wear Olivia’s other sweatshirts, which were faded and looked vintage, or her fisherman sweaters. To wear the Harvard sweatshirt would mean being the odd one out.
My name is Derek Schaedig. I am a goalie for the men’s hockey team at Harvard; I am a sophomore studying Psychology; I am a writer for The Crimson; and in April 2019, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, more commonly referred to as depression. I am not immune to mental illness, and neither are many student-athletes.
I want to root for the kind of person whose prose is occasionally sloppy, whose opinions aren’t just rigid but also rigorous and sometimes even risky, the type of person who doesn’t need to fall back on Yeats to understand the present day, or who fails to read “Ulysses” because they were doing something other than what was assigned for tomorrow’s class.
It’s the summer before my freshman year of college, and my mom is trying to teach me as many recipes as she can before I leave for school. One day, she approaches me — she wants me to make dumplings from scratch, all on my own. While I’m usually enthusiastic about cooking together, that day I balk.