My First Day of School Cost the United States Economy Thousands of Dollars

Life pre-K was great. No school – just movies and play every day. I didn’t even have a sister then, so my parents paid attention to me 100% of the time.

When I turned 5 that attention went down to 75% (I wasn’t about to go down anymore) and I had to start school. Real school. With mean kids, bullies, and kids who wrote cuss words on their shorts.

The first day of school came and it was going swell.

Let me pause here for a second and explain that the county in Florida where I went to school was one of the first in the entire country to implement full day Kindergarten. I’ve always resented this. Think of all the hours of play I missed, not to mention the cultural education.

While I was slaving away in full-time Kindergarten, my friend RW was using her half day out of school to learn who Gary Coleman was so she could make fun of me 20 years later when we went to see Avenue Q and I said, “Who’s Gary Coleman?” Want to know another fun fact? I didn’t know he died until I just did a quick Google search and found it on Wikipedia. Now I feel sad. Here’s to you, Gary:

Anyway, the morning flew by and before long it was time for lunch.

We shuffled into a single file line and marched off to the lunchroom. When we got to the cafeteria the line split off. Half the kids went in one direction and the other half went to the round tables to take seats. I didn’t know where the first half of kids went, so I followed the other kids to the round tables and I eventually found a seat.

Because some classes had gone to lunch before my class there were already kids eating hot school lunches at my table.

I sat there and waited.

And waited.

Halfway through lunch one of the teachers came up to me and asked why I wasn’t eating.

“Because the waiter hasn’t come to take my order yet,” I said.

Oh, the laughter! How the eff was I supposed to know??? For 5 years I’d been going to restaurants where a WAITER comes to take your order, unless it was fast food but this didn’t look like a fast food establishment due to all the round tables. So, I waited.

Adults think they can just laugh at small children and it’s OK. It’s not. I was so embarrassed when I had to leave my table to be shown where to get my food that I vowed never to eat lunch at school again.

And I didn’t. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I never ate in the cafeteria again. My mom packed my lunch up until I graduated from high school. Think of all the money my schools were screwed out of because of this mishap. At an average $2-3 a day for 13 years, that’s a lot of money!

According to plan, the next day I brought my lunch in a Disney lunchbox. When we were marching in single file to the cafeteria somehow my lunchbox opened and all the contents fell in the dirt.  I almost cried, but considering what happened the day before, this was nothing so I scooped them back up and on I went into my happy packed-lunch life.

Here I am re-living the “good” times in front of my old school about four years ago. We went to Florida for a vacay and then decided to check out our old places of residence and education.



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5 responses to “My First Day of School Cost the United States Economy Thousands of Dollars

  1. Kathy Kuhlman

    The sad part is you waited years before you told this story! I just thought you were being a pain in the bum about not eating school lunches!

  2. lol … yeah. I was embarrassed. But eating packed lunches was probably way healthier, and it saved us money!

  3. I went to Pre-K half a year in Florida and then the other half in Malaysia and they were full days. It sucked because in Florida and Malaysia, I didn’t want to sit inside all day, I wanted to play!

    I also brought lunch to school everyday until and through high school. I was (am) deathly afraid of cafeterias and sitting in large groups of people to eat. So I’d bring my own lunch, find my corner, and whoever was my friend at the time would either join me or not. I think in he long run that benefited me because while everyone else got fat off the school lunches, I stayed relatively the same weight since my mom is a health nut.

  4. Kim Pugliano

    WHO DOESN’T KNOW WHO GARY COLEMAN IS?!?!? I might have to break up with you over this. Oh wait, we aren’t dating are we? Hmmm…Unfriend? No, you aren’t my FB friend. I’m not going to unsubscribe because you have given me HOURS of joyful reading material (maybe AN hour, but I see HOURS in my future)…

    You’re lucky you make me laugh.

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