His Bologna Sandwich Hurt My Feelings
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by Jon Burras
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On a crisp Wednesday afternoon I decided to lie down for a nap under a billowing white oak tree at
a nearby park. As I reclined on the gentle grass, I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep. I remember a sense of dreaminess as I
was lured into relaxation by the gently wind.
Then it hit me.
As I recalled later, I started to have
a most disturbing dream. I found myself to be back at that prominent private religious school that my parents were so proud of. I
was in first grade and six years old. Life was good. Life was simple. No worries.
As the dream unfolded
I saw myself at lunch time surrounded by my fellow young classmates. We all were eager to partake in our lunch time feast. We each
opened up our brightly colored lunch boxes and shared our hidden secrets. Most of my classmates pulled out their peanut butter and
jelly sandwiches which they greatly enjoyed. Thinking nothing of it I unwrapped my bologna on white bread sandwich which I greatly
enjoyed biting into. It was delicious.
As I was enjoying eating my lunch my fellow classmates began
to have strange looks on their faces. I felt like they were mocking me for some reason. I did not know why there was such a stir.
Little Joey ran away and came back with my first grade teacher in tow, Sister Mary Insecure.
out to the teacher "His sandwich (bologna) hurt my feelings."
The teacher looked stunned and began
to shame me into submission. "You should know better than to bring a bologna sandwich here when the rest of your classmates are eating
peanut butter and jelly."
I too was stunned. I had always believed that this prestigious learning institution
practiced "freedom of lunch expression" and you were allowed to bring to school any kind of lunch you wished. When I asked the teacher
about this she said to me, "Of course we have freedom of lunch expression. As long as you are not hurting anyone else's feelings you
can bring whatever you like."
My six year old self had a hard time reconciling those words. Needless
to say I was publicly shamed, had my beloved bologna sandwich taken away and I was made to have a time out in the corner until lunch
was over. I was told I got off easy. The last kid who hurt another kid's feelings because he over packed his lunch box was sent home
for the day. I felt lucky.
Before I could process any more of this startling event I quickly woke up
as the nearby gardener and his noisy leaf blower were nearby. Startled from my nap I quickly bolted up and sprinted to my nearby home.
I quickly ran into the house and headed for the refrigerator where I cleaned out all the heavily processed lunch meats. I even threw
away a jar of pickles and a tube of mustard just to be safe. I was afraid that Sister Mary Insecure would be showing up at my home
unannounced to inspect my refrigerator for offensive objects.
After my heart rate slowed down and the
offensive objects were discarded I was finally able to relax. What a dream that was I thought to myself. My innocent self thought
how glad I was that I live in such a free and open country where I do not have to worry about offending anyone because of something
that is meaningful to me. I also wondered why such a disturbing dream would be in my mindset. Could any of this really be true?
The moral of the story is this. Be careful what you place in your school lunch box. The school PC police might be lurking around every
Disclaimer: The name of the tree, the type of sandwich and the day of the week have been changed
to protect their identity. Everything else is true.