Full circle

(Bethany Newman, via Unsplash.com and used under Creative Commons zero)

Person 1: "Get two dozen donuts."

Person 2: "Two dozen? There are 27 in the group. That's not even one donut per person."

Person 1: "Oh."

Person 2: "How cheap can you be?"

Person 1: "You're right. OK, get 27 donuts."

Person 2: "27? Now that's just one donut per person."

Person 1: "Isn't that what we need?"

Person 2: "Yes, but what if someone wants two? Besides, I don't think they sell donuts in singles. You need to buy a half-dozen or dozen."

Person 1: "You can't buy just one donut?"

Person 2: "I doubt it. Who wants just one donut? Nobody I know wants only one donut. You need at least two. One donut is just a good start."

Person 1: "Hmmm, you might be right. OK — you've convinced me. Get at least three dozen. And maybe another half dozen just to be safe. We want to have enough."

Person 2: "That's 36 donuts plus six, so a total of 42. We don't need 42 donuts for 27 people. That would be way more than needed. We really don't need that many."

Person 1: "So how many donuts do you suggest we get?"

Person 2: "Well, I think we need more than one a piece. For 27 people, if a few of them wanted two donuts each, we'd need at least 30 donuts. We should get 30."

Person 1: "But donuts really aren't that healthy for you, right? Don't we have an obligation to provide something healthy?"

Person 2: "Why is that our responsibility? The person himself or herself is the one to be making healthy food choices. We're not their conscience."

Person 1: "True. But why be a source of temptation? Suppose someone is really trying to eat in a more healthy manner. Donuts don't cut it."

Person 2: "So what do you want me to do?"

Person 1: "Get two dozen donuts."

[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of health services administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati.]