The other night, I went out for a dinner meeting with a few of my colleagues. There we played the “I Deserve to be Thingame.

We met at the University and drove to Friendly’s in one car. The Spanish teacher arrives wearing sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt. The math teacher immediately says, “Wearing your workout clothes?” The Spanish teacher responds, “Yeah. I work out every day. I hate it, but it makes going to Friendly’s possible.” Then they engage in a “who works out more” discussion (which was much more of a competition than a discussion).

I work out, but choose not publicize it. I do not play the game.

Then, we pass the University’s fitness center on the drive to Friendly’s. The Math teacher brings up how often she has been there and how she is so above working there. This discussion continues for the length of the trip.

I do not feel above working out at the University’s fitness center. I do not play the game.

Finally, we arrive at Friendly’s. Before we start to work, we decide to order. The next fifteen minutes before we order are spent talking about how hungry everyone is and how long it has been since everyone’s last meal. The two brag about how hungry they are because they both barely ate today.

I had cereal for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch. I do not play the game.

And then, the waitress comes… I am ready to order a bacon cheeseburger, a cup of New England clam chowder and a root beer. Everyone is starved, so everyone is going to order big meals right? Wrong. The math teacher orders a small order of quesadillas. Period. That’s not her appetizer; that is her meal. The Spanish teacher orders a large… salad – with fat free dressing.

Now it is my turn to order and in that brief second of seeing the two teachers and the waitress look at me, I realized that we were playing the “I Deserve to be Thin” game. They had bragged on how much they exercise, said they were starved and now had shown everyone what they consider a “big meal.” Knowing this, I should have ordered my bacon cheeseburger to show that I was above it all, right?

I had the soup and salad special with a glass of water and a lemon.

I played the game.

bows head in embarrassment