What Your School Lunch Says About You

You with your Lunchables

You are the product of amazing marketing and/or busy parents without the time to make something in the morning. You have taken the legacy of New York City pizza and made a mockery of it, spreading pizza sauce over a pathetic cracker with a plastic stick that ought be used for spreading artificial cheese. You are the remnant of the American Dream: speed over quality, color over content, calories over all.

You with your Dunkaroos

You don’t need to share your pencil in class. You don’t worry about being picked for kickball. You have everyone’s attention and affection. Everyone squeals around you, pleading for a skateboarding kangaroo cookie, or, if lucky, the final swoop of the index finger into the pool of frosting. You relish in this power, gleefully rejecting each advance. But in your generosity, you offer the remains on your plastic wrapper. You’re evil.

You with your carrot sticks

You have nothing to share, nothing to trade, nothing to offer the intense negotiations around you at the cafeteria. You munch in silence, reading the nutritional facts on a friend’s pouch of fruit snacks, preparing your oral arguments to convince your parents to buy you some, noting that they contain real fruit juice and Vitamin C. You are smart enough to know it won’t work. But you have very pretty eyes and perfect vision.

You with your chocolate milk

You understand the essence of childhood. It is about adults compromising with their children, giving them the things that they need by mixing in something else they like. Like mathematical video games.

You with last night’s leftovers

Did you bring garlic bread to go with your chicken parm? A side salad? A corkscrew? How old are you?

You with the bologna sandwich

You don’t ask many questions. You don’t question what animal bologna comes from. You don’t question if American cheese is as much cheese as Swiss or cheddar. You make no distinction between mayo or Miracle Whip. You like what you like. You like that white bread can stick to the roof of your mouth. No judging. I do too.

You with affectionate notes from your parents in your lunchbox

You have asked again and again for this to stop, knowing that insecure goons like myself will wave the Winnie the Pooh stationary around in mocking pleasure. Secretly though, you are glad that they do not stop. School can be scary. You like being reminded of a time when Pokemon cards didn’t validate your status in the class. You like rereading the Boxcar Children while everyone else has a riot over Tiana holding DelRoy’s hand at recess. Simply said, you miss third grade.

You with your Juicy Juicy

Eagerly enjoying 100 percent Juice for a 100 percent kid. You watch PBS, particularly Arthur and Wishbone. You dream of one day reading The Count of Monte Cristo or Romeo and Juliet on your own. You sometimes sneak in watching Hysteria. Because it’s sort of educational.

You with your cafeteria meal

You graciously acknowledge the valiant attempt of your lunch ladies, who decided to offset the gravy of grease that sits upon your pizza by adding a mushy apple on the side. You are a planner, analyzing the schedule weeks in advance, deliciously anticipating next Thursday’s special: fish sticks. You are a schmoozer, knowing precisely which lunch lady will be persuaded with a smile or your story detailing your anxiety over the afternoon’s spelling test. She adds extra fries to your Styrofoam tray. You possess all the tools for a revolution: ketchup packets, fruit cups, and your weapon of choice, the spork.

And me, with my peanut butter and jelly in a plastic grocery bag and apple

Of all the things that do not need to be placed into a historical, psychological, or emotional context, the peanut butter sandwich is one.

It is simple: Skippy over Jif. Smooth over chunky. Strawberry over grape. The classics. I’m like most kids. We don’t overthink things. TC mark

image – Mike Flippo

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  • Guest

    Peanut butter isn’t allowed at school any more, bro

  • Michaelwg

    Dunkaroos!!! I discovered those long before orgasms…they are still vying for 1st place.

  • Anonymous

    “Of all the things that do not need to be placed into a historical,
    psychological, or emotional context, the peanut butter sandwich is one.” True that. Sometimes, a PB&J is all you need to make right with the world. But I prefer extra crunchy Jif over smooth Skippy, gross. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/DNates16 Danielle Nathan

    “It is simple: Skippy over Jif. Smooth over chunky. Strawberry over
    grape. The classics. I’m like most kids. We don’t overthink things.” YESSS

  • shannon

    i’m ashamed to say that i was and will always be that dork with the juicy juice, silently wishing i had those damn gushers instead. i think the gushers kids were the more badass versions of the dunkaroo kids. their food isn’t just filled with preservatives. the preservatives literally explode into their mouths. if that’s not badass then i don’t know what is.

    • colechase

      i was waiting for the Gushers kid.  I flip flopped between the Gushers kid and the kid who had McDonalds brought in by her dad.  I strode through the halls while students would stand at their classroom doorways, intoxicated by the aroma of greasy fries and a Big Mac.  I had the power and I knew it.  I guess that makes me the elite, douchebag kid.

      • shannon

        wow. i probably would’ve washed your feet with my pigtails in elementary school.

  • shannon

    also, my condolences to the kids whose parents were not choosy and chose peter pan peanut butter over skippy AND jif. they clearly don’t love you, sorry. 

    • Kari

      or the store brand

  • Guest

    “You are the remnant of the American Dream: speed over quality, color over content, calories over all.” Best line I’ve read in a long time.

  • guest

    Crunchy is far better. It has extra flavor…and smooth just tastes…sugary and fake. But strawberry over grape all the way.

  • http://twitter.com/mnguyen My Nguyen

    To be fair, I always liked the Crackers (turkey and swiss) Lunchables the best, and I was only allowed to have Dunkaroos once a month.

  • MP9090909

    SMILEY FRIES.

  • Janet

    Fluffernutters all day, everyday

  • Anonymous

    That plastic stick used to spread the pizza sauce is no longer included in the lunchables actually… one of the biggest outrages since the expulsion of pluto in the planet club. 

  • Anonymous

    Ha loved this article. Oh how I begged and pleaded for Dunkaroos. Only had full Dunkaroo freedom years later when I babysat. 

    Not wanting to kill the allergy kids, my mom didn’t give us PB for school. I had a cream cheese sandwich every single day from K to grade 6, except for after Thanksgiving (then I had turkey leftovers). Analyse THAT.

    Also the all time middle ground snack (not too healthy not too unhealthy)… Goldfish! I may or may not still eat them.

  • Guest

    Skippy over Jif? Are you kidding me?

  • Sophia

    I definitely fit the affectionate notes category to a T. I was such a nostalgic fifth grader. I just wanted simpler times. Is that so bad? Anyway, great article, I loved this.

  • Peanutbutter4lyf

    Smooth over crunchy? Hell naw.

  • Meow

    I swear no one eats lunch in New Zealand. It’s just a big scavenger hunt at lunch

  • Guest

    hahaha Juicy Juice, Arthur and Wishbone most definitely go hand-in-hand.

  • hrfe

    I went to public school my entire life meaning I went to (about) 2,160 school lunches, and I bought lunch probably about 2,000 times. School lunch ftw.

  • Sarasue

    grape over strawberry, it’s better with the nonnut alternative that ends up in the sandwich now…

  • dizzlerox

    Does anyone remember Hysteria?! I thought I was the only one!

  • anon

    “we don’t overthink things” … hilarious after reading the entire article overthinking lunch choices. 

    loved it all! had all those people present at my lunch table growing up

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    I wasn’t allowed to eat school lunches.  I was so jealous of the fat kids with school pizza.

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  • http://www.nicholeexplainsitall.com EarthToNichole

    The BEST days were when your parents visited for lunch and brought pizza, or on birthdays when they brought cupcakes for the entire class.

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