On Free Food

There’s something about free food which I simply can’t resist. Even if I’m not hungry, even if I’m stuffed, even if the food itself is unappealing–if it’s free, I’m eating it.

I have a theory that when it comes to food, our most primal instincts can’t help but to kick in at a certain point. Free food, when considered within the context of evolution, is an anomaly. We were meant to struggle for our sustenance: to fight and kill for it, to scavenge for it, or (in a more modern context) to at least pay for it.

So, when I find myself at a gallery opening with cheese cubes, or a grocery store with complimentary samples, something ignites within me and my most base animal urges take over. It’s not a survival based reflex, so much as an opportunistic one. I am forced to exploit these resources which are undoubtedly a fluke; a fleeting occasion which I, as a member of a species intertwined in the greater order of things, must attempt to benefit from.

It’s why I wrap free bread and napkins and hide it in my purse for later.

It’s why I’ll finish my friends’ unwanted food at restaurants rather than let it be thrown out.

It’s why the candy bowls at banks are no match for my grabbing hands.

These are not my own eccentricities, they are millions of years of survival wrapped up into encoded automatic actions which my body involuntarily enacts. Human nature is a powerful thing.

It’s not my fault the party ran out out of chips, guys, it’s science.