Free food is a killer—an absolute curse. Let me explain what I mean. Occasionally, I have stayed at hotels where the meals were included in the price.

During my stay at these hotels, I did not turn down a single eatable. The word “no” completely vanished from my vocabulary.

“Mr. Ross, would you like seconds?” I was asked.

“Is it covered in the price?” I replied. As soon as I was assured it was, my answer was always the same: “Why not?”

It very quickly got to the point where the issue was not so much whether I liked eating something, but whether it was part of the package deal. I think I would have eaten a stuffed porcupine if there were no extra charges for the tasty morsel.

Buffets are equally destructive to whatever I have left of a figure. I have this uncanny way of looking at the food displayed in front of me. Some people might simply explore what is before them and choose what they truly desire. Not yours truly—not even close. I look at a buffet as an extraordinary bargain. If the price of the buffet is, let’s say, $30, then my inclination—no, my moral obligation—is to eat at least the money equivalent of twice what I am paying. If I don’t consume a minimum of $60 worth of food, the meal is an abject failure. To you this might not make sense, but unfortunately, it does to me.

The only thing that limits me at a buffet is the fact that I only have two hands and, therefore, I can only carry two plates at a time. Most assuredly, were I an octopus, I would not hesitate to bring back eight plates to my table.

I've been thinking of going to one of those fat farms where you pay a lot of money to starve. Somebody came up with the brilliant idea of charging much for nothing. That sounds like the perfect business model to me. My mom, who spent a life unsuccessfully fighting obesity, went to a program at Duke to lose some pounds. She remains the only person in the history of Duke to actually gain weight during the week. A very clever woman, my mom somehow figured out how to have pizzas secretly delivered to her room during her stay there.

Being my mother's son, I guess I will learn from Mom and just stay home.

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