BALDWINSVILLE, NY—“It’s more of an art than a science, really,” Eddie Quinn told reporters Thursday with a mischievous grin spread across his bearded face after once again feasting at a church potluck to which he himself had volunteered no food. “The secret is to look like you belong. You’ve got to project a sense of confidence and clarity of conscience as you make your move to grab an empty plate.”
Many church members would simply forego participation in a potluck if they weren’t planning to bring a food contribution—but then again, most church members aren’t Eddie Quinn. Quinn, 38, has expertly infiltrated every monthly potluck at Grace Baptist Church for the past three years, without ever bringing so much as a stack of napkins.
“Early in my potluck-crashing career, my attempts were totally amateur. I’d pretend I left a carefully prepared rack of ribs at home by mistake—whoops—or I’d tell people that I had brought ‘that casserole over there,’ gesturing toward the thirteen or fourteen dishes at the far end of the table. Real bush league stuff, you know?”
But Quinn’s craft quickly improved, and now he’s able to slip into the line forming behind the steaming Crock-Pots and rows of fried chicken completely unnoticed. Even the most attentive church members, Beth and Earl Wheatley, who take notes on the pastor’s sermons in a three-ring binder religiously, have failed to take notice of Quinn’s schemes. “Who?” they replied quizzically when asked about Quinn.
According to Quinn, his particular set of skills also includes slipping off to the bathroom to avoid difficult sermon points and evading eye contact with deacons during the weekly offertory.