Every Friday night, I go to the same Chinese buffet, all alone, but I’m never the saddest person there. Well, not this year. This year I’m making it my mission, and New Year’s resolution to finally win, and be the saddest person eating at the Chinese buffet.

Of course at a glance it may seem like it’s going to be a cake walk. There are the usual stoned teenagers, and the families who come for a gigantic meal on a budget, but believe you me I have some stiff competition this year:

Harold “The Cat Man” - He takes a doggy bag full of shrimp cocktail with him after he is done eating. He tells everyone that it’s for his wife, but everyone knows that it’s actually for a pack of alley cats, whom he feeds each night. Cats can be considered friends but they can’t love you like a real person, and the fact that Harold lies about having a wife makes him really sad. Oh, and he also named all of the cats after names he hoped to one day give his children. He’s going to be tough to beat!

Carol “The Veteran” - Her teenage grandchildren tell their mom that they’re hanging out with grandma, but instead they dump her at the Chinese buffet and go do cool things that young people with friends do. Like talk to one another, and maybe feel the warm pleasure that comes from physical contact, any sort of physical contact, even the slightest brush.What makes Carol even sadder is that her grandchildren bring her husband, their grandfather with them. Meaning that both her grandkids, and her husband, think she’s totally lame.

Willy “The Rookie” - He used to be no competition whatsoever, that is until he lost his job as a used car salesman, and his family left him. Now he’s one of my fiercest competitors in this pathetic race. I haven’t seen him in a while, and the last thing he said to me is “maybe this year I’ll do it,” and by “it” he can only mean becoming the saddest person at this Chinese buffet. I guess it could also mean he’s gonna kill himself, now that I think about it.

Derrick - “The Inside Man” - This guy is definitely the most interesting of all of my competitors, because he actually works for the buffet. What makes him so ridiculously depressing? Well the only other people who work at the buffet are the teenage relatives of the owner, and Derrick is 37 years old. Couple that with the fact that he’s a busboy, and gets bossed around by the aforementioned teenage employees, and you got yourself a recipe for a pitiful, human being. But that’s not all. On top of being a 37 year-old busboy, he’s also a Yale graduate, with a PHD in English, and it’s sad he thought he’d get a good job with that major.

Tim “The Tuna Guy” - This guy is so sad that he doesn’t even pretend to be anything but. Tim brings his own sandwiches to the Chinese buffet. This means that he’s not here for the food. He’s here because he’s so desperately lonely that he pays $15 dollars just to sit in the buffet and eat his tuna sandwich around other human beings, and not alone at his condo. How do I know this? I asked him, which is something that I’m going to have to stop doing if I want to be the saddest person at this buffet.

My Plan - I’ve decided to forgo my usual process of sitting in the corner eating my orange chicken, and watching Jim Gaffigan videos on my Blackberry, while flowing in and out of spells of soft weeping, and instead I’m going to focus my entire effort on the soft weeping. I’ve also decided that I’m going to take a page out of Harold’s book, and get a pet cat which will be on a leash. I will tie this cat to my usual table at the Chinese buffet while feeding it scraps from my plate, and whispering “you’re the only one who understands me, Mittens.”

And if that’s not enough, I am going to ask every single waitress who works at the buffet on a date, loud enough so that everyone can hear, knowing full well that they’ll say no, making it clear to everyone in the Chinese buffet that I’m a desperate, sad, lonely man.

Yessir, this year is going to be my year. Thank you, 2016!

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