Feeding Time at the Zoo

For those who’ve known me for a long time, this strip is probably hilarious. I have not always been the tidiest eater. I wouldn’t say that I had terrible table manners, necessarily. At the table I have always been polite, minded my manners, asked for things instead of just reaching for them, and generally conducted myself in a way that means the people I’m with are largely ok being seen with me. It’s been…weeks…since anyone tried to crawl under the table to avoid being associated with me. That’s a personal best. Manners have never been the problem so much as enthusiasm. When I eat, I do so with gusto! This is especially true with food that lets me dig in with my hands. Crab legs are a special favorite.

It’s not just me. This is a family trait, particularly among the men of my family, at least before my brother started working as a cook for a hotel. His eating habits became substantially more refined when he started wearing a chef’s coat. My good friend, Runs Long Talking, once had dinner with me, my brother, and my dad. He likened the experience to sitting at the table with a pack of wolves that were tearing at the carcass of a caribou.

My wife was likewise taken aback by her first dining experiences with me. She had known me for a long time, even back then, but up to that point she’d never experienced me hungry and getting my feast on. It was like watching a human garbage disposal demolish a table full of food, complete with bits of food falling off the plate, the table, and the seat.

Like I say in the strip. Sometimes it strikes me as a minor miracle that she stayed with me long enough for us to get married. I asked her about it in the process of developing this strip. She said, “well, I figured, ‘if this is the weirdest he gets, I’m ok.'”

Little did she know back then. Little did she know…