Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Brown-Bagging It with The Breakfast Club

Allow me to share my most recent epiphany. Remember that opening scene in "The Breakfast Club" where the parents drive up to drop their kids off for Saturday detention?  It's obvious that Brian Johnson's mom was quite angry with her straight A student and all-around nice geek of a son when she hissed:

"Is this the first time or the last time we do this?"
"Last."
"Now get in there and use the time to your advantage."
"Mom, we're not supposed to study. We just have to sit there and do nothing."
"Well mister, you figure out a way to study!"

When I was a teen, I thought her seething over the Don't Bring a Flare Gun to School disciplinary action was a little harsh. After all, this was clearly Brian's first offense, and the kid was borderline suicidal. But now that I'm a mom, it finally dawned on me why she was really so enraged:

His Saturday detention meant one more day SHE HAD TO PACK HIS DAMN LUNCH.

One more day where she had to cut the stupid crusts off his PB & J sandwich before wrapping it in plastic. One more day where she had to prepare and heat the soup to fill his stupid Thermos. The Thermos she had to wash Every. Single. Night. Including the time she accidentally let it sit unopened over the weekend and nearly retched from the stench.

And maybe this particular week, she'd been out late on Friday night (most likely at a school-related function, because let's face it, moms don't typically have much of a rockin' night life...especially nerdy moms, not that I would know this firsthand or anything).

Maybe she'd even had a glass or three of wine that night. But instead of being able to climb into bed when she got home, she had to suffer that pit of dread in her stomach: "Brian has to be at freakin' detention for eight hours tomorrow....He needs to bring lunch." An expletive or two was probably also uttered.

And then she was faced with a Sophie's Choice-like decision: drag her exhausted self back down to the kitchen at midnight to prepare it, or wake up at 5 am to pack it before she chauffeured him to his 7:00 AM stint with fellow juvenile delinquents.

No wonder she was ticked.

As if it weren't enough she had just dealt with packing multiple lunches all week. You can tell in the movie's opening scene that Brian's little sister is probably a real pain-in-the-hindquarters and most likely a fussy eater (and what was with the red-striped headband on her forehead.....was 80's style really that bad?).

Each day, I'm sure poor Mrs. Johnson couldn't just take out the PB & J and set up a little sandwich-making assembly line either. Because at least one kid probably flat out refused to eat peanut butter. Or ate peanut butter at home, but didn't want to bring it to school because then she'd have to sit at a different table than her peanut-allergy friend.

No, Mrs. Johnson probably had to prepare different lunches for each kid. She had to remember who doesn't eat fruit and who hates raw vegetables. Who will take cold pizza vs. who refuses any and all leftovers. And most importantly, who positively can't handle receiving the heel of the bread loaf.

Then there was the cutting off the crusts. The wrapping the sandwiches individually or putting small items like grapes into baggies or mini-containers. The striving to be sure it was, as Judd Nelson's derelict character put it with a sneer, "a very nutritious lunch" where "all the food groups are represented."

Mrs. Johnson had to wipe her daughter's lunchbox clean daily while whipping out a new brown paper bag for her son, who probably refused to carry anything reusable because it would mean an extra trip back to his locker to store it after eating. Then she had to discreetly label his name so it didn't look like Mommy wrote it.

To have all this infringe on her weekend time, her measly two days off from this daily drudge of a chore, was the ultimate injustice.

Especially when you don't even know for sure if your child is eating half of what you prepared. Just look at how Ally Sheedy's basket case of a character opened her sandwich and immediately flung her olive loaf onto the statue.

No, Mrs. Johnson, you weren't too hard on Brian that Saturday. As a matter of fact, maybe Mr. Vernon should've made the kids' punishment essay topic be about showing appreciation for how much work goes into preparing their damn lunches.

Too bad they'd only see it as they want to see it...in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. Cue "Don't You Forget About Me."

Actual Time Spent Preparing School Lunches Daily: 25 minutes
Real Feel:  2 hours
# of Lunches I've Packed Since Eldest Started School:  2,880
Isn't That a Grossly-Exaggerated Estimate?  Unfortunately, no. I multiplied 180 days of school by the # of years each kid attended full days thus far.

How about you? Do you loathe packing lunches? Is "The Breakfast Club" one of your all-time favorite classic teen movies? It's demented and sad, but social...

24 comments:

  1. Anyone who links with Finding the Funny and tempts me with Breakfast Club lingo is a friend of mine.

    Also - that statistic on how many lunches you've packed is frightening. Which is why I sing the praises of Lunchables and the school hot lunch programs on a regular basis.

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    1. Hey Sue, anyone who knows how to appreciate Breakfast Club lingo is definitely a friend of mine. Maybe in a future post I can find a way to work in "neo maxi zoom dweebie," too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Right there with ya sister, which is why after my kids got out of preschool (no cafeteria), I happily paid for hot, gross, disgusting school lunches every single day. Visiting form Kelly's Break Room.

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    1. Oh, I wish our school had a hot lunch program because believe me, I'd so be taking advantage of that! Glad you could relate to the lunch-making madness. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. I'm not at the point where I need to pack lunches yet But I do love the Breakfast Club. If I was Brian's mom I'd be pissed because it was one more day she had to wake up early and drive his butt to school.

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    1. The Breakfast Club is pure comedic gold, isn't it? Yet it really had something serious to say, too. The perfect combo.

      I hear ya on the getting up early thing, ugh. Enjoy your lunch-packing-free days while they last :)

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  4. When we spoke earlier today and you mentioned a "Breakfast Club" post, the first thing that popped into my head was "This is a very nutritious lunch, Brian. All of the food groups are represented". Too funny! I haaaaaaaate making lunches, and I only have to do it for one this year (but it requires not one, but TWO snacks, daily....daily!!!! The variety requirement alone is exhausting!)

    On a related note, D's school is completely nut-free. Faced with a No PB&J issue for the next SEVEN YEARS (9 if you add in the brother), I spent $7.99 at Whole Foods last night on a jar of Sunflower Butter. Hoping for an alternative, ya know?

    Yep....went about as you would expect. I've got some extra sunflower butter handy if anyone needs. And a jar of soy butter, too, just in case....

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    1. TWO snacks PLUS a lunch? My heartfelt condolences. I cracked up at your sunflower butter saga. And I've never found a single thing at Whole Foods that doesn't cost AT LEAST $7.99.

      No PB & J Ever is a tough predicament. That's definitely my go-to sandwich at some point during the week when I can think of nothing else. Although as I mentioned in the drawing, my kids all eat different versions of it to assure it's never just an easy "make everyone the same thing for lunch" process. EVER.

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    2. Am sending D to school tomorrow with a sun butter and jelly, without a net. Didn't tell him, not going to tell him. Even though he is going to be a train wreck tomorrow since we got home late from the Yankees game and he had an overtired meltdown, complete with hysterical tears and claims of "there's a monster in my house". I figure he will either be too tired to notice, and will eat it in a zombie-like state, or it will be the straw that will break the Camel's back, and I will get a call from school to pick him up. Hope that happens after my 1:00 conference call....

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    3. Let's go with Door #3, where D comes home and says, "Mom, that was the BEST sandwich ever!!!!" And you say, "Gee, isn't our son swell?" And then his dad says, "Yes dear, isn't life swell?" And then you can all go out on the boat you don't own next weekend, even if he has homework to do because hey, that's okay, he can just do it on the boat.

      Fingers crossed for ya...

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    4. That kind of only happens in the movies. Our house was a little more like the Bender household, complete with use of the word "stupid" that earned our friend a time out (you want one more? Yes? Are you finished? Not even close, sir.).

      Trying again tomorrow, but this time he has been informed of said Sunbutter and Jelly and claims he will eat it.

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    5. Haha, I've employed the "You finished? You want one more? You just bought yourself another one" dialogue once or twice myself when pushed beyond my boiling point.

      Next thing you know, they'll be hitting us with the "Then I'm 5, then I'm 6...when does my life belong to me?" argument, but that's a whole other movie...

      Embrace the sunbutter, D!

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  5. "was 80's style really that bad?"... The answer is 'yes'. (I couldn't let that question go unanswered.)

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    1. Haha, agreed! And while we're admitting simple truths, it got far worse than what's shown in The Breakfast Club...

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  6. I LoVe the Breakfast Club! Oh this made me laugh. To save money I make my husband's lunch everyday and he can get picky!! The joys I have to look forward to!

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    1. Glad to hear you're a fellow Breakfast Club fan, Allie! Packing your husband's lunch is good training because believe me, once you have kids you'll see MANY similarities between their behavior/attitudes and their dad's...or maybe that's just in my house ;) haha

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  7. Oh gosh, as my kids have yet to start school, if that's not an exaggerated #, I am totally screwed. Fantastic. Also, definitely snorted a bit with "faced with Sophie's Choice"--so relatable with anything I recklessly debate leaving for the morning...

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    1. That's great you still have some lunch packing-free moments, Meredith. Enjoy them while they last!

      Yep, 9 times out of 10 when I do make the choice to leave something for the morning, I am usually full of regret. I am so NOT a morning person!

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  8. "It's in Johnson's underpants."

    I digress. Coming over from Frugalista/Finding the Funny honoring our lunch packin' prowess. :) I feel your pain, sista! I invite you to come on over and see what Parenting magazine told me was a breezy midday meal to pack:

    http://experiencedbadmom.com/2012/09/not-my-kids-lunch-for-a-month/

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    1. Haha, thanks for sharing a classic Bender Vs. Vernon quote. That's right up there with "Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?" and "Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns."

      I look forward to checking out your lunch-related post! I can only imagine what the Parenting Wizards suggested...






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  9. HAHAHA - Oh my - such a funny and REAL account of packing lunches for school. I hate it.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie...Always happy to learn there are other haters of the lunch-packing process who can relate!

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  10. It's so true, it seems like it wouldn't be much work..lout it's soooo annoying!!!!


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    1. Yes, it's very deceiving, Gaga. I suspect even my husband doesn't totally "get" how it could be such a chore or why I complain. Those faced with it daily understand!

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