It's that time again in Berkeley...

It's that time of year when young men flock to the grocery store, in search of... food. Food they don't know how to prepare. They know their mothers went to the grocery store, something happened, and then there was dinner - it's that intermediate step that they can't quite grasp. It's the "???" of the underpants gnomes, in a culinary sense.

You can see them roaming the aisles, alone or in groups, dazedly grasping a loaf of bread or a six pack of beer, unsure what else they are supposed to get. Sometimes one has a head of lettuce. Sometimes a large jar of mayonnaise and a carton of eggs. Sometimes you see the more clever (and better funded) ones with a cart full of frozen dinners.

Yes, these are the freshmen. New to the outside world, they are like neonates, vulnerable and hungry.

Later they will return to the places they live, and have loud, irritating parties. The rigors of school have not yet truly set in, and for now they are free to be the same pain in the ass they were in high school, only without any parental supervision.

Or a decent meal.

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