Anteaters, Anonymous

For a while in college, I lived in a weird, 50’s-era, largely metal dormitory.  It probably seemed ultra-modern at the time, but now had a kind of vintage, well-worn look to its metal shelves and cabinets.  Also at the time, I was quite fond of Swiss Cheese Crackers (renamed to Nabisco Flavor Originals Swiss Cheese Baked Snack Crackers, and apparently discontinued, which is really too bad, they tasted great.)  I bought a box with what little money I had, ate a few, and put them on the shelf next to the bed.

I had the afternoon off in my class schedule, so I took a nap in the afternoon to make up for working on a class project late the night before.  It was dark when I woke up, and I didn’t know what time it was.  I thought my roommate might be home, and since he was a fairly light sleeper, I thought it best not to turn on the light and check.  However, I was hungry, so I located the box of crackers, and sat quietly on the bed, eating them.

I had eaten my way through about half the box when my roommate came home, and turned on the light.  I noticed two things immediately:  first, it was about dinner time, and therefore it would not be uncivilized for me to get up and go get something better for dinner.  Second, as I lifted another cracker from the box, I noticed that it was crawling with tiny red ants.

In fact, they were so covered with the little ants, the crackers looked more dark red than their customary yellowish-orange, and appeared to gently undulate with the motion of all the ants.  I dropped the cracker back in the box, and picked up another.  Surely enough, it was covered too, and a peek in the box confirmed that the entire box was full of them.

I took a moment to calculate the odds that the half-box of crackers had been entirely ant-free while I was consuming them, and the act of turning on the light had suddenly winked the ants into existence to neatly coat each cracker and fill the box.

It seemed vanishingly unlikely.  I’d been eating crackers and ants for probably half an hour.  Did the flavor seem a little off?  I hadn’t really noticed.  Experimentally, I picked up a cracker dripping with ants as if it had been dipped in ant-colored honey, and popped it in my mouth.

Yep, hardly noticeable.

By now, my roommate was staring at me with a mixture of surprise and mild disgust.  “What the hell is wrong with you?” he said.

I started to explain about the ants.

“Not that,” he said, exasperated.  “They have pizza and bacon in the cafeteria, and you’re missing it.”

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