Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Let's get ready to RUMBLE

During my junior year in high school my best friend J. and I were entrenched in the fight of our lives. A war, if you will, of epic proportions. A race against time and convention. A battle against good and evil. A battle royale the likes of that has never been seen inside the rounded - yes, rounded - walls of our institution of learning:

J. and I versus our friends Chris and Peter (not their real names) to see who could get from our classroom to the cafeteria and through the line with our food first.

In one piece.

Three days a week J. and I had a class with Chris and Peter in the period before lunch. For some reason - a reason that still eludes me to this day - each of us felt the need to be the first to purchase rubbery hamburgers, overcooked mac and cheese or, the Holy Grail of cafeteria food, pizza.

Oh, yes. Pizza Friday.

Let's get it on.

This was a tag team competition: the girls against the boys. As soon as the bell rang to release our weary bones from the confines of our Biology class the four of us would sprint to the door. I'd tag J. - who would invariably take the lead, as she was a far faster runner than all of us - and Chris would be fast on her heels as I grabbed Peter in a full Nelson and wrestled him into submission before throwing him to the side to gain third place.

Soon Peter would come from behind and - wham! - toss me into the wall of the hallway, pass Chris and determinedly grab at J.'s shoulder in an attempt to slow her progress. Much batting and punching and, if memory serves, a few noogies would ensue. Meanwhile Chris and I would bring up the rear, furiously pushing at each other trying to get to the leaders. If one of us could get close enough to slow the leader our partner could take the lead, almost insuring victory. If only I hadn't worn my white leather boots with the fringe!

Gaahhh! The Vice Principal is camped out in the stairwell waiting for us! (Our reputation had caught up with us) He tells us to slow down or we'll get detention for running in the halls.

(In hindsight, I know he was smiling while he said it.)

We turn into well-behaved implings. There's much grinning and "yes, sirs", "no, sirs", and "oh no, sir, we would nevers" as we practically tip-toed past the man who had the power to destroy our potential college dreams.

But as soon as we're our of his sight the fight resumes. And now the four of us are even. A body slam here. An ear tug there. Hair grabbing (they fought like girls), tripping, a well-timed swipe at an armful of books that sent papers flying and left the unfortunate recipient scrambling on their knees to gather everything up. We were merciless.

And for what? Less-than-edible cafeteria food?

No, it wasn't for food, it was for honor. And for bragging rights, but mainly for honor.

Those were good days. Most definitely one of the highlights of my illustrious (snicker) high school career.

Recently I met up with my old friend Peter at the home of a new mom friend in my new home town (What are the odds? He's her brother in law! Not even joking about that one.) and we reminisced about the bumps and bruises we gave each other in the name of "honor".

Okay, and pizza too. C'mon it was pizza, people. Pizza.

We had a good laugh and compared notes about our old high school friends.

Have you heard from Chris?
- No, haven't talked to him in years. I hear he's in California.

Are you still friends with J.?
- I was in her wedding but we've lost touch.

Remember that time I threw you into the wall in the stairway and you fell down a few stairs? - Yeah, that was a good one. I still have a scar! You deserved to win that day.

The food itself was inconsequential. The camaraderie through combat was far more important. And I really miss those days when the race was more important than the prize - especially since "the prize" was lukewarm tater tots and Shepard's pie.

Mmmm... Tater tots. Yes, friends come and go but we'll always have our memories... And our tater tots.

Yes, there is life after tater tots. Check out School Menu and its parental counterpart Family Everyday, two sites that work together with School Food Services Directors to provide and promote healthy eating and physical fitness for kids and their parents.


Binky said...

Damn, makes me wish I had some pleasant high school memories regarding the cafeteria.

Lawyer Mama said...

Baaaaahaaaa! Sounds great!

Pizza Friday must be one of those universal cafeteria things. Why Fridays? If they were smart, it would have been Monday.

Anonymous said...

You were just too cool for school. And this is why I stalk you. My own highschool memories consisted of drinking coffee with a bunch of older boys in the drama green room while talking art and philosophy and the history of war. I was such a geek.

And I avoided the cafeteria like the plague. Perhaps because the one time I ventured to eat the offerings they provided I was sick as a dog afterwards.

Looking back, I wish I had wrestled with those boys instead of arguing with them....What an opportunity missed. I always was a slow learner.

Julie Pippert said...

Holy macaroni!


I think Pizza Friday was universal. I usually took my lunch, LOL.

Junior year I think I was too busy flirting to wrestle. ;)

flutter said...

Oh what fun! I love that kind of messing around, just carefree and lacking in self consciousness

Magpie said...

Damn, that's funny. I ate peanut butter and jelly every day, but I don't think I knocked anyone over!

Super B's Mom said...

Oh gosh...I am suddendly flooded with memories of Friday pizza. Did you have rectangular pizza, too? Lucky for me, my aunt worked in the cafeteria, so I got to choose the cheesiest piece I wanted.

Nothing better than a sweet pizza hook-up. LOVE your blog!

Namito said...

Rectangular pizza, middle slice. The nicest part of the week by far by far in Jr. High.

Except going home on a Friday.

kittenpie said...

Bleeech. No wonder i never ate caf food. I was all about going out and grabbing something. Anything, really, as long as it didn't come on a tray.

Unknown said...

Ahhhh, such fun memories, especially since we were running in the opposite direction of our school cafeteria. :-)

Julie Marsh said...

All I have to say is that your lunchtime races were much safer than our lunchtime races. I cringe to think of ours, whereas I can giggle at yours.