Ladies and gentlemen, I am an addict.
From my post's title, you may infer the object of my obsession is donuts.1 Or perhaps you think it's sweets in general.2
But in fact, my craving isn't for a specific category of food. Or rather, it is, but not in the way you think.3
The free food thing started in college. If an event promised pizza, for instance, I'd hover near the entrance like a vulture, watching for its delivery with an eagle eye, and pounce the moment my prey arrived.4
Note: These were $5 Domino's cheese pizzas. Hardly gourmet fare. What mattered was it was free.
After I entered the workforce, I continued to be among the first comers whenever free food was offered. Eventually I lost that urgency, but somewhere along the way it got replaced by something else. Something worse.
Co-workers would bring in a dozen donuts or other pastries for the team, and leave them near (or sometimes on) my desk. They figured putting them within my view made it less likely there'd be any left to bring home at the end of the day.5
Sane people, normal people, might eat one pastry in the morning. Weaker-willed folk might return that afternoon for a second. Me? I'd eat two in the morning, one in the afternoon, plus another for lunch. So yeah, I have no willpower. Yet, I have never consumed more than four donuts in one day.
Thus, the name.
It may have started with donuts, but now this behavior extends to any spread laid out in the common areas. It could be bagels or pizza, cake or fruit salad, pita and/or hummus. Maybe leftover sandwiches from a lunchtime meeting. Or every sample at that Asian culture fair thing a couple weeks back.6
I don't only do this at work — they have those samples at grocery stores and artisan shops, and I usually eat more than my fill at friends' parties7 — but work's where I have the most opportunity. If there's food for the taking, I grab some on the way by. Then again. And again. Until I've had four, I can't stop myself.
Okay, that's a lie. I could stop myself if I wanted to. But why would I want to?
After all, it's free.
1 You'd be wrong.
2 Wrong again.
3 Wow, you're bad at this.
4 This might surprise you, but I'm bad at metaphor. And simile. Also, lacrosse.
5 They figured right. They're better at this than you.
6 At least I think they were promoting Asian culture. I was too busy scarfing all the available deliciousness to pay full attention. But I kind of remember there being maps.
7 I'm also available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.