Monday, December 29, 2008

Announcing the winners of the High School Lunch Memories Contest

After careful consideration, I have chosen the winners of the Nate's Plate High School Lunch Memories Contest. Why winners and not winner? Each of the following stories were fantastic for completely different reasons. Coincidentally, they were submitted in the order in which I am honoring them. So, Alia, John and Matthew: Get in touch and we'll make some dinner reservations.

Bronze award: The mayo bet, by Alia.

Brief, well written and hilarious, I was quite sure this would be a winner when it was submitted.

"During my sophomore year, Art Anderson was in a bet that he could eat a whole jar of mayo. Since he is the ultimate human of all time, he took the challenge at lunch. He got half way done with this jar of mayo and then our not so ultimate principle paid him to stop which was a bummer... but I think she actually paid him more then he would have won through the bet (which was 5 dollars if I recall correctly) which is even better."

Silver award: The school store is "the Pits," by Matthew

This is a trip down memory lane because Matthew and I went to high school together.

Ah, high school. I remember eating on the floor of a large dusty landing and listening to the suicide machines on a tape player that looked like an answering machine while Andrew Miller jumped down the stairs repeatedly.

When I purchased actual food, which was rare, it was usually a piece of pizza with the flavour and consistency of modeling clay and an apple juice with a foil lid that always managed to find new ways to spill all over my pants. Most of the time though, it was three chocolate chip cookies.

Three glorious, gooey, tooth-rotting freshly baked cookies for a dollar, shoveled into a bag gone translucent from the fat and pure awesome they contained. Quite often these cookies would clump together, and you would be forced to pick at the edges before finally manning up and confronting this absurd, half-baked brick of semi-solid goo. It was impossible for me to eat this brick without smearing chocolate all over my zit-pocked face and billabong hoodie in full view of the cute, popular girls who hung around the Salem School Store. Not that they were paying any attention to me, instead making googley-eyes at the meatheads behind the counter with their hooters t-shirts and downy soft whispers of goatee.

One time I decided to venture to the Canton building (my high school, and Nate's high school, and possibly your high school was actually two high schools on the same campus) to see what sort of mysterious and exotic cookies they peddled. Turns out they were the exact same cookies, albeit sold in what resembled a holiday inn gift shop next to a useless set of stairs to nowhere everyone called the pit. I think people hung out there because they felt they had to. Anyway, I had not idea how to procur cookies at this location. Being incredibly shy and awkward, I conveyed my need for sugar and empty calories through mutters and frantic stares, but the meatheads remained unresponsive. Inwardly furious, I got out of there as fast as I could, striding in speedy shame back to Salem in order not to be late for art class. Having missed my fix, I bought a bag of cookies during passing time and ate them so quickly they made me sick and my stomach loudly gurgle all throughout english.

I'm not sure what lesson to extract from this, other than cookies are great and stay out of the Canton School Store.

Gold award: Lunchtime Coke problem, by John

I can't think of a more memorable and traumatizing lunch experience.

This story definitely began during school lunch but extended for several hours beyond in the emergency room.

So I was one of those kids whose mom packed their lunch. Every lunch was wholesome and nutritious; carrot sticks, Oscar Meyer ham sandwich, Welch's juice box, maybe a bag of Doritos. That sort of thing.

Around seventh grade, my sister and I started pestering my mom to buy 12 packs of Coke for us to take in our lunches as they were delicious and we were thoroughly addicted to caffeine. After a few weeks of begging she finally conceded.

One day I grab my brown bag lunch off the top shelf of my locker and take it down to the lunch room. Upon arrival I was horrified to find that my lunch was squashed (mayo shooting out of the side of the sandwich, chips crushed) and the Coke can was dented to hell.

"What the hell," I thought. "I'm young and virile, I can handle a dented up Coke can." I did the "tap the top" thing that supposedly takes down the pressure in the can (it doesn't), popped the fucker open and started drinking the Cola-flavored corn juice.

At the end of lunch I had finished my meal and daily routine of throwing bagels at nerds and pickles at windows and tipped the Coke to get the last drops of my brown rebellion.

Something totally hurt. Like a lot. In my throat. So I went down to the drinking fountain to drink some water. Ouch. Every time I swallowed there was an INTENSE pain. It felt fucking weird and I couldn't figure out what the fuck was going on. I still had the Coke can with me and examined its insides. Had someone put razor blades in it?

No, the tab that goes inside the can when you popped it had fallen into the can and I had drank it and got it stuck in my throat. I went to the school nurse and she called my mom and my mom took me to the emergency room. I was put in a room at the back of some darkened hallway with nothing but a spitoon. I couldn't swallow without intense pain, so I spit. For hours.

Finally, they came to take an X-ray of my fucked up insides. They took me into the room and gave me a cup of this milky, chalky white liquid to drink. "Barium," the technician said. "Barium swallows." I laughed at the phrase "barium swallows" (obvi) but it hurt so I stopped. "It'll let us see where this pop can thing is stuck." I drank it.

The barium tasted like chalk and gunmetal. It was fucking gross. So after I swallowed it they put me under the X-ray machine and I realized it didn't hurt anymore. Somehow the heavy metal cocktail washed it away, down into my guts. I went home with my mom super pissed at me for not previously drinking a heavy metal cocktail while I worried about shitting out a pop tab the next day.

I never shit it out (I presume it dissolved in my stomach acid) but the next day my shit was white from the barium.

- - -

If you didn't win, don't worry: I still love you and I'd dine with you any time.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

I'm honored, yet in Texas. And I've already bought you a meal. What do we do now?