Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pssst...Kid...I've Got Some Candy for You...

Now, some of you are going to think that I’m making this one up, but no such luck.

At the People’s Republic of JS (our little pet name for the elementary school), the Powers That Be have issued an edict this year that there shall be no candy in lunches brought from home. That's right, Friends and Neighbors, no chocolate, no candy. They’ve already banned sweets from school parties (although, you can bring in a cheese pizza if you don’t have time to make some no-oil-allowed-applesauce cupcakes from scratch. I know, I know. Clearly, fat and artery-clogging cheese on a pizza aren't as hazardous as some frosting on a cupcake—view my post on Government Cupcakes if you want to read that particular meltdown in its entirety).

How this is supposed to cure the obesity epidemic is beyond me. I know from personal experience that if you take treats away, it makes the offending item smell and taste and look oh so much more delicious than if it’s just lying around all the time. Anyone who ever went on one of those low-carb diets eventually fell off the wagon by shoving her face in a plate of pasta and inhaling (not that I would know anything about that). Everything in moderation, Sisters.

We already have a ban on fast food in the school. I’m not making this up either—if I forget to send lunch, I can race to the drive-through and bring my child some chicken nuggets, but they have to be in plain packaging (I guess thereby negating the fat and calories and increasing the nutritional value of the individual nuggets when we collectively pretend in DoubleThink that they didn’t come from McDonald’s).

I’m serious. I can’t take a McDonald’s bag into the school, even though the child is CLEARLY ingesting a cheeseburger wrapped in a paper sack instead of a McDonald’s wrapper. Are we delusional? Are we that muddy in our thinking that if we don’t see the word “McDonald’s” or “Chick-fil-a” that it magically alters the composition of the food and isn’t “really” fast food anymore?

And what life lesson are we teaching our children exactly? It’s okay if no one sees it? It’s okay if you hide it? It’s okay to eat in secret? It’s okay to lie about what you are doing because perception is more important than reality???? Say it ain't so.

Here’s another problem--how are you going to enforce this no candy rule? Will there be random lunch box searches for contraband? Will you be sent to the principal’s office for getting busted with a Butterfinger bar? Is there a more severe punishment scale based on the caloric content or chocolate-by-weight in said contraband?

Richard Matheson wrote a short story called The F Word. (It’s not THAT word, you dirty minds.) The F in question stood for the word “food”. The people in this clever little sci-fi tale were prevented from eating food because it was deemed too luxurious and decadent by the ruling class, so the people existed on protein replacement powders and vitamins, and real food became illegal. The story revolves around a father who takes his son to a back alley room to eat illegal pot roast with carrots and potatoes as a sort of coming of age metaphor. Dude might have been onto something there in that fictional work. I feel much the same when I smuggle Goobers into my child’s homemade trail mix. Big Brother is watching.

So, what’s the point of this little rant? Lest I get too far sidetracked, it’s time that I mention the latest school fund raiser.

The kids are raising money in their classrooms for various items that our tax dollars, the room donations, and the extensive supply lists didn’t adequately cover. And they are raising the funds by selling...drum roll please...candy bars and M&Ms.


So, to recap, I can’t send the M&Ms TO the school, but they can sell them to my kids and send them to my house. Of course they can. Least they could do is confuse me by putting the candy in a brown paper sack instead of leaving it in the original packages so that I can pretend this isn't really happening.

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