Breadstick Madness

October 27, 2009
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"Why didn’t the US like get up on the Great Wall and just, like, shoot all the Japanese?" When the girl sitting next to me in my second block history class asked this, I had a very strong urge to scream. I wanted to tell her that the reason the American soldiers did not shoot the Japanese soldiers from the Great Wall of China is because they were in JAPAN, the country we had been studying for the last week and a half. I also wanted to tell her that she is a moron. As I am contemplating how to say this without coming across as rude, I notice that the clock on the wall reads 11: 13. Immediately, the brilliance of my classmate is pushed aside as my mind locks in on one thing: two minutes to lunch.
I hold my breath as I wait for the red hand of the clock to burn through the last few seconds of class. When the bell rings, I spring automatically for the door. In the same half-manic fashion as everyone around me, I race down the halls towards the cafeteria. By the time the doors are in sight I am practically running. My books are heavy but I know that stopping at my locker will eat up precious time. Instead I fight my way through the throng of people flooding the cafeteria, fling my books onto the nearest table and take my place in line. Unfortunately, despite my rushing, there are already quite a few people waiting ahead of me. I hear my stomach growl and I sigh, knowing that a line this long means that I will have at least 10 minutes before I get my lunch.
Now let me make something clear: I am not usually this crazy about the school lunch. In fact, there are very few things in the school that can get me to act as I have just described. This particular day, however, was pasta day. And where there is pasta, there are breadsticks. I believe that some foods have magical powers. Chicken soup can mend a broken body. Chocolate can mend a broken heart. Breadsticks can make you forget that cafeteria food is supposed to be yucky.
As I am standing in line, one of my friends, Amy, finds me and we wait together. Talking about the movie that our third block teacher is going to show us, we slowly make our way to the lunch counter. All conversation stops, however, as soon as we get within sight of the breadsticks. We load our trays with all of the essentials: milk, pasta, cheese sauce, marinara sauce, chocolate pudding, and of course some salad so that it can be considered a "healthy" lunch. Finally, we get to the breadsticks. My initial impulse to grab a dozen of them off of the giant tray is squashed by my realization that these breadsticks each contain about the same amount of calories as should be consumed in a normal sized lunch. Instead, I settle for two. I quickly pay at the cashier and wait impatiently as Amy stops to put dressing on her salad. As we enter into the senior section, I notice that the pudding on Amy’s tray, which had been placed precariously on top of her milk to make room for the dressing, is starting to wobble. I open my mouth to comment on this but before I can, somebody else calls her name and she turns around in response. The movement sends her pudding flying and it lands face down on the floor, smearing a long brown path between the tables.
Amy immediately bends down to start cleaning up the mess but I urge her to put her tray down at our table first before going back to clean it up. She hesitates but agrees, knowing that leaving her tray in the line of traffic will only end in more spilt food. With our backs turned to the mess, we hear what happens next before actually we see it. There is a yelp, a thud and a scream as a freshman, carrying a full tray, slips on the pudding and crashes into a table, spilling the contents of his tray down the back of one of the senior cheer leaders. Most freshmen in this situation would start apologizing profusely, or crying, or both. This kid, however, tries to play it off like nothing just happened and starts to walk away, leaving his empty tray where it had landed, on the floor next to the table.
This, I know, will not end well. Sure enough, with the entire cafeteria watching, the cheerleader’s boyfriend stands up and hurls his tray at the retreating freshman. There is a moment of complete silence as the tray makes contact and cheese sauce goes everywhere. Then complete chaos erupts.
"FOOD FIGHT!" The scream echoes through the room as people begin taking sides. Pasta, milk, and pudding cups start flying through the air. The lunch ladies and hall monitors try to intervene but it is too late: everybody has joined in. There is yelling and cheering as the momentum of the food fight builds. A few teachers run in, trying to impose order but there are far too many people to restrain. Amy and I stand frozen, watching with wide eyes as handfuls of pasta whiz past our heads.
"Get under here!" my friend Liz grabs my arm and pulls me towards a table where a few girls are huddled with their trays, eating lunch as if everything were completely normal. A tray flies over my head, missing me by centimeters. This brings me back to my senses. I can’t say I’m afraid of getting pasta in my hair. Trays, on the other hand, can be dangerous.
"Wait!" Amy calls out. She had moved very fast and now shoots me a panicked look from her position under the table. "Save the breadsticks!" I whirl around and grab the breadsticks from both of our trays. Under the table, I brush a piece of lettuce off of my sleeve as I watch milk cartons explode like grenades as they are chucked against the floor, windows, and tables, spraying milk everywhere.
"What are you doing?" My friend Tony yells as he dives past our table. "This is the biggest food fight of the year and you’re hiding under a table?"
I had to admit he had a point. Besides, the amount of gum under the table was really starting to gross me out. I give Amy and Liz a quick salute and hurl myself into the madness. As the ammunition starts to run dry, the flurry of food being thrown begins to run dry. I grab the first thing I see- a chunk of sandwich- and chuck it as far as I can. A thrill courses through my veins as I watch it hit the shoulder of a scared looking sophomore. I dodge a spoonful of marinara sauce and feel an uncontrollable urge to do more. I hear shouting as a couple of juniors jump over the lunch counter and into the kitchens. They grab crates of food from the giant pantry and throw them back into the cafeteria. Within seconds the food fight is raging again. I sprint to the newly added fuel, diving over bodies as I weave through the hurricane of food. After the first few throws, I stop looking to see who I’m hitting. More teachers flood in and begin to apprehend students. I hear somebody yell something about calling the cops.
I know that in a few minutes it will all be over. Instead of discouraging me as it probably should have, this fact creates a burning need to inflict as much mess as humanly possible before I am finally stopped. I hear the door open behind me and send the half-open pudding cup that I am holding hurtling towards the unsuspecting figure in the entryway.
"Everybody FREEZE!" I hear the voice and realize a second too late what I had just done.
"Oh God, NO!" I scream as I claw the air, grasping for the pudding that is just out of my reach. My aim had been good and my heart nearly stops as the pudding splatters over the face of my target: a very angry looking Principal Davis.
I feel two hands grab me and, before I know what is going on, I am shoved into a line that is moving slowly towards the office.
‘Well,’ I think as I follow Tony and half of the cafeteria down to the principal’s office. ‘Hopefully being suspended will be a bit more exciting than being in history class.’

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