JESSICA CHOTINER ’19
I hope that everyone has seen the video that “went viral” a couple of weeks ago involving a University of Connecticut (UCONN) student, alcohol, a cafeteria worker, a pasta dish, and a partridge in a pear tree.
If you have not seen the infamous clip, that is okay: I watched the entire nine minutes and seven seconds.
In brief, the student was clearly on the downswing of a night of carousing. During the hours preceeding the event, he probably enjoyed a variety of alcoholic beverages, ranging from Natural Lite to maybe some Ciroc, shared with a few of his closest Huskies.
Anyway, this guy entered a University of Connecticut dining hall with an open alcohol container, a huge campus no-no, and demanded macaroni and cheese whilst verbally abusing a manager who had asked him to leave.
There is a lot to address in this story. First, let us talk about the “no open alcohol containers” rule.
Now, clearly, this is a plot to prevent students from savoring the finer flavors of their campus cuisine. I often salivate over the idea of a nice Sauvignon Blanc to pair with grilled chicken à la Mather, or better yet, a nice Port to go with a spoonful of the chocolate hazelnut spread. I digress.
Despite the fact that “Mac and Cheese Kid” (aka Luke Gatti) is actually 19, though I am sure he has a very convincing fake ID and should not have any vessels of alcohol, this “no open containers” rule is a ruse, and Gatti does not buy it.
You have to hand it to the guy: he knew that he needed a ton of IBUs to enjoy UCONNs jalapeno- bacon macaroni and cheese.
Second, Gatti is an excellent example of alcohol-induced false confidence. He relentlessly taunted the manager of the dining area, brushed off a male student who attempted to stop the fight, and ignored a female worker who seemed like she could survive kitchen work in “Orange is the New Black.”
All three people looked capable of taking down Gatti in a fight, yet this did not faze him.
He persisted, querying why, if this is America, he could not just pay for some macaroni and cheese. Gatti is clearly trying to make America great again.
Finally, he shoved the manager. This move was his last. Another dining hall worker, exasperated by Gatti’s antics, put Gatti in a half nelson and took him to the ground. There, the manager and accompanying staff member wrangled Gatti as someone else called campus security. He was then handcuffed and taken away, ultimately recognizing his mistake.
I think that the takeaway from this incident is pretty far-reaching. Gatti made a fool of himself, and he has been called out for it.
Seriously, maybe if there was spaghetti à la Carbonara involved, or even some pappardelle Bolognese, we would all understand. However, this is “Mac and Cheese Kid” who we are discussing, and he crossed a line. The manager who dealt with him should be commended for remaining so calm. He gave Gatti every opportunity to simply walk away. Gatti’s behavior was atrocious and unwarranted, regardless of his drunkenness. In fact, being drunk is not an excuse for being a schmuck. So keep that in mind. For those who drink, who eat at restaurants, who eat at Mather, or who have basic human interactions, we need to think about what we are doing before we do it. We need to ask ourselves if our wants outweigh the respect we owe the people around us.
Otherwise, any one of us could find ourselves the subject of an ironic Jimmy Kimmel skit, and no one wants that.
JESSICA CHOTINER ’19