The Triumvirate of Aberrations


While attending college, for a variety of reasons too tedious to go into, I frequently dined at my college’s dining hall. I dined there on and off for all 4 years, and got to know its quirks: most usefully, what they could cook, and what they couldn’t but still attempted. However, I also learned some of the lore of the place, like the tale of The Triumvirate of Aberrations.

I know these artifacts exist, for I have witnessed them personally. Their powers and significance are more nebulous, however.

The Clear Glass

The glasses at this dining hall were all translucent, sort of brown. They tinged whatever was in them brown, and had the typical internal “posts” embedded in their sides so that they could be stacked without sticking them together too violently. There was one glass, however, which had the same mold as the other glasses, but was clear. It permitted the user to observe their drink unhindered, and one could use this power to more precisely mix their drink, combining soda and fruit juice (and sometimes alcohol) together, or creating root beer floats from exotic and not exactly vanilla ice cream.

Although I speak of 1 clear glass, I suspect there were several. Many people had tales of finding a clear glass, and because it was not particularly spectacular or noteworthy, it was the least auspicious and most easily dismissed of the aberrations.

The Large Spoon

The Large Spoon was a spoon that, although nestled in the spoon place with dozens of other identical spoons, was nonetheless much larger than the other spoons. Against the backdrop of mediocrity and smallness, the Large Spoon stood tall and blatant. It was honestly not particularly useful, as it was likely a serving spoon, and too large to effectively stick in one’s mouth, but the real question in our minds was how it persisted. It was so standoutish, so brazen, how did the workers of the dining hall not notice, and remove it? And if they did (for we did not always find the Large Spoon, and sometimes months went between sightings), how did it keep getting back into the spoon place among its obvious not-peers? Is this what it wanted, to be the first among many, the undeniable superior, the big fish in the small pond? We cannot say, for the Large Spoon does not speak. To us at least.

The Heavy Plate

Where the Large Spoon was impudent and garish, the Heavy Plate was subtle. The plates at the dining hall were not as regular as the spoons: there were enough varieties that we didn’t bother distinguishing them, let alone classifying them. Their variance was narrow. They might deviate slightly in radius, and might deviate slightly in color, but they were all smallish ceramic grey plates that curved up in the typical fashion, sat on the table in the typical fashion, and held food as we ate it in the typical fashion. Despite our somewhat rough treatment, they were never seen to marred, only breaking when dropped. But from the ranks of the grey plate masses, comes the Heavy Plate. Unremarkable in all other aspects, the Heavy Plate weighed almost 3 times more than any other plate. It was noticeably much more weighty and powerful than the pitiful plates that occupied the stacks. The Heavy Plate could not be found visually: it sat inconspicuously in the stacks of inferior plates. All quests to find the Heavy Plate inevitably failed. It was only upon picking up an otherwise perfectly normal plate for your meal that you suddenly realize: you are in the presence of greatness. The Heavy Plate has graced your presence. It happened to me only once, but it was the most memorable meal I ever ate in that place, and I will carry it with me till my death.

The memory, of course, not the plate. After my meal, I submitted the plate, temporarily dirtied by whatever slop I was blessed to put upon it, to the great hall’s dish washers. Whether they knew the presence among them or not, they did not show it. I never saw the Heavy Plate, nor felt its presence, again.