Friday, October 12, 2012

Memo from Mom

To: First Lady Michelle Obama
Re: United Cafeterias of America and their Right to Bear Snacks

Dearest Mrs. Obama, 

I have a Quick Quiz: Which one of these foods does not belong?
A. Hot dog   B. Mozzarella sticks  C. Sauteed Swiss chard   D. Nachos

If you picked “C”, ding ding ding!  We got a winna’!  A quick glance at my son’s school lunch menu for the month reads “Hot dog on a wheat bun with peaches” and “Mozzarella sticks with baby carrots” and “Macaroni and cheese with sautéed Swiss chard.”  There are several things wrong with these selections:
  1. A wheat bun makes not the hot dog healthy.
  2. Adding a fruit and vegetable to each entrée is a nice try, but it cannot offset the fact that they are serving snacks from every circus and baseball game and calling it lunch.
  3. SWISS FREAKIN’ CHARD?? I don’t even know if I would eat that!  The mac n’ cheese? Well, of course!  But Swiss Chard? By the way, what IS Swiss Chard? 
Ah, but you remedied the situation, as that was September’s menu.  Now enter October 2012 and it’s a whole new ballgame in America’s cafeterias.  There was an “AHA!” moment and cafeteria food-service companies across the nation are now not allowed to serve four mozzarella sticks to our ever-expanding waistlined children.  We’re down to two fried cheese sticks because of the carbs.  Oh, the upheaval at our school!  Outcries from parents, “Only TWO mozzarella sticks?  How could you do this to our babies?”   

Even Pizza Fridays – as in EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME – is pizza two Fridays in October.  And Tony’s Cheese Pizza is now called Tony’s Cheese WHEAT Crust Pizza.  I guess Tony got in on the act, too, and realized, “Crap.  I’m never gonna sell this nasty frozen pizza unless I throw a little wheat flour in the crust.”  Mrs. Obama, I really do like you.  But taking away Pizza Fridays?  You are killing our kids’ childhoods.  How will they reminisce about all those Fridays spent eating cardboard pizza in the cafeteria?  It’s just not fair.

Apparently, the schools are offsetting this mall-food deficiency by offering “unlimited” fruits and vegetables making it sound like upon entering the school cafeteria you will feel as though you’ve stepped into a European open-air market with apples, peaches, bananas, grapes, and broccoli falling at your feet!   However, word on the street is nary an apple is present.  But the ice cream freezer is plugged in and raring to go!  And the cookies and chips are lined up on the counter beckoning the children with their sugary and salty delightfulness.  I’m not quite sure where you were for this part of the meeting when snacks were discussed.  Perhaps you stepped out for a moment to take a First Lady tinkle and Mr. Corporate Lobbyist Frito-Lay and his sidekick Nabisco stepped in? Because I don't know how you wiped out the high-fat, cholesterol-filled, battered and fried mozzarella stick but the sugar-filled cookies and chips fried in saturated fats loaded with calories remain on our cafeteria counters. 

I will continue to send my son in with his lunch on most days of the week preferring not to pay money for garbage disguised as nutritious food.  He’ll complain to me about how I don’t love him because I send in a half of a whole wheat bagel or whole grain pasta accompanied by fruit, baby carrots or graham crackers.  But as mean as I am, I will help Tony turn a profit every now and then because I simply cannot let my child not know what it’s like to grow up eating crappy cafeteria pizza.  It’s a rite of passage even if it only happens once or twice a month nowadays.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stuffed with Incentive

This is bribery at its finest.  You see, I live with Alex P. Keaton.  However, money-hungry Monkey Man is a much cooler dressed version of Michael J. Fox’s character in “Family Ties.” My Alex wears Converse sneakers and would look at me like I lost my done-mind if I attempted to put a tie around his neck.

Monkey Man will do just about anything for money.  He has written books and sold them to his grandparents for $9 a pop.  He sweeps the floors for 4 minutes and expects $2.   He will happily sell every toy he owns to make a few bucks.  He asked us to sell his superhero and Star Wars action figures online and we give him the earnings.  I love it because it clears out the toys that he doesn’t use.  He loves it because he can roll around in his singles and cackle with joy.  Thank God this child is not aware of “Gentlemen’s Clubs” yet.  He would be armed and ready.

However, stuffed animals do not sell online or anywhere.  Nobody wants someone else’s dusty stuffed animals that were sneezed on, slobbered on and very possibly puked on.  But our problem, like many child-filled households, is that Monkey Man has the equivalent of the San Diego Zoo in his toy chest.  He loves all of them, but some of them are buried and forgotten, just collecting dust that makes me have to buy more Allegra.  Here is where my brilliant idea occurs:

Pay Monkey Man for his stuffed animals so that I can donate them! Yes!  I’m a genius! Our school has a clothing drive coming up and they accept stuffed animals.  I can get these cute and fuzzy guys outta here for a small fee.  For every animal I pay for, Monkey Man donates one out of the kindness of his heart.  It’s called incentive, people!  He understands what it means to donate and help people, but I get many more from him when I give him a financial incentive. 

Choose your price: I paid him $1 a piece, but some kids might accept a quarter or $.50.  Trust me, if I could’ve gotten away with a quarter, I would have.  Monkey Man turned on his heels when I suggested it and said, “No deal.  I want $2,” then he said something into his blue tooth and rolled his eyes.  I brought it up to $.50 and as Pawn Stars has taught him, he held at $1.  I fully expect him to become a hostage negotiator or a lawyer.

With a little creativity and good old-fashioned bribery, those kids will clear out their toys chests in no time.