Friday, October 19, 2007

Eat dessert first

I speak at a lot of conferences.

Naturally, I often find myself seated at meals with strangers.

And naturally, I often find myself face to face … with delicious pieces of cake.


See, at most conferences, the banquet staff is instructed to place the dessert on the table before the meal starts.

I’m not sure why they do this. Probably just to tempt people.

Anyway, I’ve always had kind of a sweet tooth. So, I usually snag my piece of cake as soon as I sit down and dig right in.

AND HERE’S THE WEIRD PART: every time I do this, the other people at the table almost always react strangely.

They look at me like I'm crazy. Or they laugh. Or they stare.

And I’m like, “What?”

“Are you eating your dessert FIRST?”

“Um, yyyyyeah … is that a problem for you?”

“No, it’s just that you don’t usually see people doing that.”

Hmm. Now why do you think that is? I wondered.

Right. Because that’s what we’ve ALWAYS been taught: dessert comes last.

And, look. Here's the thing: I don’t choose to eat my dessert first so I can get attention.

I just REALLY love cake.

So, what fascinates me is that people don’t make comments in a reprehensible tone, but rather in an astonished tone.

Like they can’t believe someone just did this!

“Psst,” they chillingly say to the person next to them, “that guy’s eating his dessert first!”

I don’t know. I guess some people are just SO shocked when they see a mainstream pattern being broken, they can’t help but be taken aback.

Because there’s just too much dissonance.

For example, I sat down to lunch after a recent speech in Chicago.

And the dessert looked AMAZING: Chocolate Mousse with Oreo crust and peanut butter whipped cream.

Seriously, how do you NOT eat that first?

So I started eating it. And a few bites in, the guy across the table starts starring at me.

And after a few seconds, do you know what he did?

He grabbed his cake and started eating it too!

ALAS! THE ONCE INSURMOUNTABLE BARRIER OF CONFERENCE DESSERTS HAD BEEN CONQUERED.

And then, this was the best part. I swear to God, I’m not making this up:

The woman next to me grabs her cake.

She takes ONE bite, savors the deliciousness and then grabs my arm and says:

“Scott … thank you for giving me the courage to eat my dessert first.”

For real. In the most sincere tone possible, she actually said that.

So, here’s my question:

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What lessons does this story imply?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Post them here! And then go eat some dessert.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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