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I was sitting at lunch with my colleagues yesterday, one of few occasions I actually get to do so, owing to regular lunch-time meetings, or frequent lunch duty down in the “dining commons” (since they’ve upgraded the lunch program, the cafeteria’s name has had a makeover, too).  Colleague A had brought in rice crackers from the bulk section of a local cooperative grocery store, so they had no label.  “They’re rice, but they’re not gluten free,” she remarked, in case anyone needed to know. Then she and two of our colleagues proceeded to calculate how many Weight Watchers points they would have.

“Four points!  In 26 crackers!” Colleague B exclaimed, as if they had been slabs of cheesecake instead of innocuous crackers from a health food store.  “I only get 21 in a day.”

It turned out that Colleagues A, B, and C all are allotted only 21 points each per day, and they were already mentally tabulating the point overages that this week’s gluttony of turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie would undoubtedly cause.

Just then, Colleague D came in from the soul-sucking task of lunch duty to report that a student had whacked his head and needed the nurse.  The nurse excused herself, and Colleague D continued her report from lunch, complaining about the 9th grade girls.

“None of them eat lunch,” she lamented.  “I don’t know if it’s anorexic behavior or a social thing.  I see some of them snacking – this one eats potato chips – but none of them eat during lunch time.”

My colleagues tsked disapprovingly, saddened by the pressure that mass media has played in these girls’ negative self-image and their resulting poor nutritional choices.

I just ate some crackers.

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November 2012