So whaddaya do when you’re a fifth grader, the lunchroom food is pretty manky, and you have twenty more minutes of lunch period? You entertain yourself. And others.
Somewhere around the middle of my grade school years it was accepted all around our grade that I was pretty strange, and while some people relentlessly tormented me for it, some kids (whose friendship I still treasure to this day) embraced it.
One such method of displaying my bizarreness was how, when we were stuck in the lunchroom with a tray of congealing food, I initiated a way to pass the time: “Operations” on the food we didn’t really want to finish. Or start. Don’t get me wrong, we had some good stuff some days. Other days it was..well..not too inedible. I guess all school lunchroom meals can be hit-or-miss.
We began by choosing a couple of nurses. I was the chief surgeon but I did let others take over if the patient needed it. The “patient” was usually a chicken breast or Salisbury steak that I had quickly dug a hole into and hidden a pea or piece of corn or something. After I had my nurses, they covered the patient with a clean napkin and cut a hole for me to operate through. We also put napkins over our faces for “masks” if we could get them around our mouths and noses. Then someone had to play the life support machines; usually one or two kids in on the joke would lean over and make consistent beeping noises. I think we also had someone being the breathing machine. Then the surgery would commence. I would cut into the patient again with my (dull cafeteria-grade) knife,after asking for the instrument in official surgical fashion:
Then it was put into my hand by a nurse.”Scalpel.”
Forks were also stand-ins for scalpels, and eventually I removed the “growth” that was the hidden pea or corn kernel. Many congratulations went around and the “patient” made a swift recovery. (We did let the patient die once, just to change things up).
Needless to say, it was typical dark-humored fun for me and my colleagues, but one day a teacher saw what we were doing and of course made us stop.
Alas, what might I have been had I allowed to continue honing my surgical skills?