A lunchtime catastrophe not seen since the infamous 'Eggplant Breakfast Scare of 2004' occurred last Tuesday when George Crinopoli '11, without the slightest provocation, challenged well-known Sharpe Refectory employee José to a card flip-off.
According to University folklore, a card flip-off had not previously occurred since the riots of 1853, when Thaddeus Arthur 1856 engaged in combat with John Hay archivist Josiah "Mutton Chops" Cleveland. Both esteemed reputations on the line, the duel did not end until Cleveland's sporadic gout hindered him from further participation.
Last Tuesday's battle left a devastating fallout, with dozens injured and many more severely malnourished. Meanwhile, those stuck in the long line outside went slightly hungry.
"The conditions were ripe for disaster," explained Nick Godrick '12, who found himself waiting tantalizingly close to the entrance when the bout occurred. "It was twelve noon, José was working the counter, chicken fingers were being served in every line - it was a dining hall perfect storm. Crinopoli's reckless and arrogant actions only served as the catalyst." Godrick added, "Did he really expect José to just roll over and admit defeat? Asking José not to flip an ID card is like asking the wind not to blow, the sun not to shine, or the soft-serve machine not to randomly switch to watery frozen yogurt. It simply cannot be done."
The most popular words used by eyewitnesses to describe the event have been "inspiring," "epic," and "strangely arousing". Crinopoli's eyes reportedly "blazed with a fire as hot as the lukewarm, often moist, grilled cheese sandwiches in the vegetarian line," as he did a standard card flip to return José's purely routine "One and a Half". José, accepting the challenge, came back strong with a "Dutch Elm Disease", while Crinopoli, without pause, successfully landed the rather difficult "William Jennings Bryan". Then José took a brief timeout to wink at a nearby female student and to ask her why she was with that other male student.
Meanwhile, as the duel raged on, the Ratty line stretched to enormous lengths, causing countless instances of damage and injury. President Ruth Simmons' chauffeur ran over a student while he waited in line in the middle of Prospect Street. A political science concentrator, specializing in Marxist thought and the death of liberalism, was mistaken several times for a homeless man while he sat in line in Kennedy Plaza. Moreover, thousands of dollars of damage were done as students disrupted traffic standing across Interstate 95. Said one irate Rhode Island commuter, "Hey, I'm drivin' hea! Ehi! Gogi! Sri Lanka!"
While most students eventually found food, accounts place several stragglers helplessly wandering around the Pawtucket area. An unnamed Brown student was last seen inquiring whether Ray's Tires & More accepted meal credits. His current whereabouts remain unknown.
While José, the more experienced competitor, left the match victorious, the real winners were the four students who used the other door to enter the Ratty. Said Rick Stalington '11 upon reaching his usual table, "Christ, is the Ratty is empty today. What, are they serving pineapple ham again?"