Our first date was shortly after we met on Feb 21, 1987. I've told that story. This is the story of a later date. I don't remember when exactly; sometime between that first date and the end of the semester. I think we were back at her house in Zionsville, IN and I think it was lunch, at Olive Garden. Actually, now that I've typed that if I'm home for the weekend at my girlfriend's house is lunch out even a date? It doesn't actually matter but now I'm thinking about it.
Anyway, we were at Olive Garden. A point important to this story is that when I walked into that Olive Garden as a college sophomore, I ate zero green vegetables. I didn't eat salad, green beans, peas, nothing. I ate meat and potatoes, and junk food. But nothing green and healthy.
What is the second course at Olive Garden (after the breadsticks)? Yep, it's that Olive Garden salad. So here I was, lovestruck, 19 years old, in a booth at Olive Garden sitting across the table from my gorgeous sorority girl girlfriend. I was a double AA dude dating somebody solidly established in The Show. I was out of my league and I knew it. And now I was staring down the endless bowl of salad at a suburban Indianapolis Olive Garden. This could be a make or break moment. Do cute sorority girls date guys that don't eat salad? I didn't know the answer, and I didn't want to find out. So I did what any self-respecting college dude would do in that situation. I smiled, loaded up my plate with salad, and dove in.
It turns out I liked salad, and most other green vegetables. I can still do without green peas though.
Would that cute college co-ed have stuck around to marry me 4+ years later if I had passed on that salad? We will never know, but I like to imagine there is a parallel universe with a parallel Chris whose life was exactly like mine up until that point, and he passed on the salad, and he lost the girl.
This true but slightly exaggerated for effect story brought to you by Purdue University, The Olive Garden, this story that sparked the memory, and the broccoli I cooked with dinner tonight.