Had I known where to put my tray…


Logan Flake, Satire Editor

The day had already been enough of a bummer. To start, my Mickey Mouse alarm clock never went off, so I was nearly late to the bus. Then, to make matters worse, my packed lunch (which consisted of a ham-and-cheese lunchable and a strawberry-kiwi capri sun because I’m cool enough to rock that) was left forgotten on the bus. I’d been too caught up in negotiating deals for Webkinz trading cards with my seat partner to realize I’d left it there. Feeling defeated enough already, I walked into the lunchroom after what had already been a long four periods of school, hoping to find some serenity in a meal.

I stood in the back of the line for the hawaiian pizza (because my taste buds are smarter than yours, pineapple-on-pizza haters) and, after what felt like years of waiting, had my tray in-hand. Excited, I trotted over to an empty table and devoured my food while making awkward eye contact with some dude who was obviously disgusted at my choice of toppings. I thought to myself “remember, Logan, it’s okay for someone to be wrong” as I was eating.

It was after I finished my meal that a problem arose. Not used to eating lunch at school, I suddenly realized I had no idea what to do with my tray now that it was empty. As time before lunch ended was ticking away, I started to panic. A cold sweat started running down my forehead as I locked myself into a staring contest with my tray, half-hoping that it would grow eyes and be the first to blink, declaring that it would go to wherever it was that it belonged as punishment. This was to no avail.

It was when a voice came over the intercom saying “students, bust your trays and return to your seats” that I really started to freak out. Return them? Return them to where? Also, how could I return to my seat if I never left it to begin with. This questions sat still unanswered with only five minutes of lunch remaining. I had a strong desire to faint.

I hopelessly looked over to the east side of the cafeteria to see the man behind the voice and thought “there he is, that’s who I must have to give my tray to.” I tried walking over to him, but some invisible force kept me behind the boundaries of the holy land within which the man was sitting.

Holding back the tears, I started making my way back to my seat (wanting to at least be able to truly fulfill the “return to your seat” part of the order) when I noticed a group of people that looked just as confused as I was. Most of them just sat dazed-and-confused staring blankly at their trays with pale faces, but one kid was just straight-up sobbing into his sectioned tray. I changed course and headed over to an open seat at the group’s table. All I could muster up the strength to say was “guys, what do we do?” I was meant with no response other than the sounds of intense pterodactyl screeches from the crying kid and a “cash me outside, howbow dat.” The pain I felt in my heart upon hearing that last line momentarily distracted me from the situation and placed me in a deep, dark eternal sadness. All I could hear buzzing in my head was the chorus to the song “How to Save a Life” by The Fray until the sound of the bell and a voice saying “students, you’re dismissed, have a good day” broke me from my trance.

Ashamed, I was left with no option but to simply leave my lunch tray defeatedly on the table alongside those of my panicked tablemates.

Something must be done to prevent this from ever happening again. Maybe we could set up a giant neon sign pointing everyone in the right direction towards where to put used trays? Man, wouldn’t that be a treat to be blinded by such a fantastic sight. It’d bring tears to my eyes.