One of the most exciting moments of my life happened just a few weeks before my classmates and I were set to graduate the eighth grade and head off to high school. What better way to prove our maturity than a full-scale food fight?
I still get tingly all over when I picture throwing that first plate of pasta. Sometimes I even make the arm motion (in slow-motion, of course) and the utterly satisfying “blooorrrgghhhppp” sound that sauce-soaked pasta makes when striking a seventh grader directly in the ‘A’ on the middle of their shirt from the GAP.
A kid on my bus once tried to convince me that it stands for, “Gangstas And Pimps.”
So here I am, sitting in the cafeteria at Helen Keller Middle School, and enjoying the plain, unbuttered bagel I bought with quarters I had found on the ground earlier. Out of nowhere, shouting erupts from the other end of the cafeteria.
Naturally, the entire population of the cafeteria immediately shut their mouths and whipped their heads around to see who was about to get reamed out by the “cafeteria police”: a frail, 5’5″ woman in her thirties who was quick on the draw and handed out lunch suspensions like it was her job (it was her job.)
Now, not many people witnessed the “shot heard ’round the world” so to speak. The first casualty came in the form of a ketchup packet slammed into the table by the palm of a student, whom we shall call “A.” His efforts were rewarded when the ketchup launched at terminal velocity and splattered the shirt of a fellow student at the table, who, not surprisingly, did not take kindly to it.
The ketchup victim, who will hence be referred to as, “T” proceeded to, in front of roughly one hundred and twenty silent students and a few entertained faculty, stand up and pour what remained of his chocolate milk directly onto A’s head.
Oooohhh boy, I thought to myself. These kids are really in for it.
As we anxiously awaited the reprimand that was sure to come, a good friend of mine, who was sitting directly across the table from me, stood up, threw his hands in the air, and yelled at the top of his lungs, “FOOOOODDD FIIIIGGHHTTTT!!!!!”
It was something out of a movie- and not some funny coming-of-age movie. This cafeteria went from being dead calm to the D-day beach landing in milliseconds. We were less than ten minutes into our lunch period, which meant everyone had near-maximum ammunition.
And boy, did the ammunition fly.
The number of casualties was at or near 100% of the people in that cafeteria. Pasta day meant that sauce was in play, and let me tell you something: we sauced that cafeteria like bolognese was going out of style.
A side note: One of my good friends had bought a can of Snapple for the first time that day, and had been looking forward to it for months. It was grape-flavored, and still about eighty percent full when I decided that launching this projectile at a friend across the table was my best option.
The juice flew, and EVERYONE was scrambling around for something else to throw, and there was rampant screaming- both screams of joy and primal fear of catching a face-full of pasta or Go-Gurt.
The fight could have gone on for twenty seconds or twenty minutes- I was caught up in the moment and had no sense of time or anything else, really. I was a pasta-throwing windmill. It’s really a shame we don’t have the technology to harness the electricity my skinny arms generated. We could have powered a lightbulb for about two whole seconds.
There are a few moments in particular that stick out in my mind, and most likely will still bring a smile to my face on my deathbed:
– I looked across the cafeteria and saw a fellow student hiding underneath the table, sobbing uncontrollably. I sincerely hope the sheer violence of those saucy strands of spaghetti flying through the air don’t still haunt her dreams
-At one point, I saw one of my good friends in the chokehold of one of the gigantic teacher’s aids. One of my other friends swears he saw Matt lifted completely off the ground, pudding cups clenched tightly in both of his flailing hands
– The kids over at the allergic-to-peanuts table near the front of the cafeteria were cowering underneath their peanut-free table, probably praying they wouldn’t be contacted by their version of kryptonite (peanutite?)
I also remember the aftermath with perfect clarity.
When the entire cafeteria was out of ammunition, and as pasta was sliding down the slacks of dozens of students, silence fell over the battleground. A bolognese-sauce-thick tension could be seen on every face as we students waited for the axe to fall.
When the metal doors that constituted the entrance to the cafeteria opened and the principal walked in, all eyes turned to her. The seething anger radiating through her pants suit heated up the cafeteria quite nicely.
The principal walked up to one of the janitors and asked him a question- I assume inquiring about who was responsible for this debacle. The janitor scanned the room, pointed out Ketchup Boy and Chocolate Milk Man, and then turned towards my lunch table.
My stomach flipped as the janitor pointed at my friend who had actually screamed the fatal words that sent our class into a food-throwing frenzy, and then made eye contact with me. In those few nanoseconds, I put every ounce of effort I had into begging with this janitor telepathically to not rat me out.
It seems as though my pasta-throwing enthusiasm did not rub off on the janitor, because he pointed me out to the principal.
I was resigned to my fate as a criminal, and decided right then and there to face my accusers like the revolutionary I was.
Before heading to the principal’s office to discuss the terms of my punishment, the principal had a nice little chat with our (very) disappointing class.
“You should know better, blah blah blah I’m fairly certain you don’t act this way at home, blah blah blah.”
And then she gave us what I can only describe as the worst ultimatum you could possibly offer a bunch of sauce-soaked eighth graders just a few weeks away from graduation:
“Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to pass around a piece of paper to everyone, and I would like you to write down which one you are going to miss: either walking at graduation, or the annual class trip to Six Flags.”
Hmm, let’s think about this for a second. Miss out on getting dressed up, taking dozens of annoying photos and sitting in a hot gymnasium for hours to receive a piece of paper, or miss out on a glorious day at Six Flags. Sweet roller coasters or not-so-sweet swamp-ass?
Needless to say, we ended up going to Six Flags, and it was indeed glorious. We also ended up walking at graduation, which was a bit of a shocker! It was almost as if the principal didn’t think about all the parents that might have been a little upset about not having any pictures of their kids graduating from middle school
My punishment for my role in the ordeal was missing out on a class field trip in order to clean up the entire school with the other degenerates. We cleaned pretty much nothing and just pissed off the poor teachers that were forced to supervise us.
The Great Helen Keller Food
Fight Massacre of 2007 was a resounding success, and I am absolutely honored to forever call my classmates my comrades.
I would also take twenty more in-school detentions for a chance to do it again.