The Best Game

When I started my job in early 2013, there were just six people in the department. There are now over 30 people in the department, but the most significant patch of recruitment happened about six months after I started with the sudden influx of PhD students. Because I was there when they started, I feel vaguely responsible for ensuring they make it through their PhDs unscathed, although I am never really sure if I’ll be able to head the inevitable breakdowns off at the pass.

Anyway, yesterday, three of the PhD students (Dazzles, Lord V and Waylon) and I were chatting, enjoying each other’s company, because work was boring, when Lord V piped up.

Lord V: Does anyone want to play a game?

Loops&Flicks: What’s the game?

Lord V: Guess How Many Grams Of Sugar Are On Dazzles’ Desk.

Dazzles: That’s not a good game.

L&F, Lord V, Waylon: Yes it is!

Lord V: OK. How many do you guess?

For background here, I will explain: Dazzles’ eating habits are…inconsistent. He drinks those caffeinated energy drinks, and eats a lot of crisps. (Annoyingly, he stays as thin as a rake.) And his desk is covered in the debris. Empty bottles of Coke, empty cans, torn up packets of crisps, if he’s eaten it any time in the last thirty days, its corpse is on his desk. Anyway, extrapolating from the trail of pancreatic destruction wending its way across Dazzles’ keyboard, Lord V thought it would be fun to guess how many grams of sugar. (Lord V is extremely good at eating healthily, makes delicious low-calorie food, and also remembers to make his own lunch to bring to work. He is a much more successful adult than I am.)

We placed our bets: I guessed 600g of sugar. Lord V guessed 750g. Waylon guessed 800g. Dazzles told us he didn’t want to know.

And then…

…we started counting.

If you’ve ever watched the National Geographic channel, and seen footage of starving hyenas falling on fresh meat, then you will be able to picture Lord V, Waylon and I grabbing at the debris to add up the sugar content. We collected up:

  • six bottles of full-sugar fizzy drink
  • a bottle of squash
  • a can of the aforementioned caffeinated energy drink
  • various packets of crisps and a cereal bar
  • a bottle of Irish cream alcohol (hey, PhDs are HARD, if he needs to drink, he needs to drink)
  • 2 litres of orange squash drink
  • a packet of cupasoups

Every time we thought we had excavated fully, we’d move a monitor, or pick up a packet, and discover yet more underneath. Dazzles eventually joined in, showing us where he’d hidden two of the bottles of Coke.

You know the total amount of sugar on Dazzles’ desk? 842.2g. EIGHT HUNDRED AND FORTY-TWO POINT TWO GRAMS OF SUGAR. That’s basically a bag of sugar. My pancreas threw up its hands in despair at simply being near that amount of sugar. The worst culprit was the six bottles of Coke, which contributed 324g of sugar to the total. And did you know that a 500ml bottle of Coke is actually two servings? Not one? You learn something new every day….

Anyway, Waylon’s guess was the closest. We haven’t decided on a prize yet, but I can guarantee it won’t involve sugar.

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