Kids today are lucky.
Their school cafeteria experience will never include Mrs. Kidzyak’s “creamed tuna surprise,” which is still sitting in the shape of an ice cream scoop somewhere in my digestive tract.
Thirty years from now, they won’t be getting up from the couch and suddenly burp tuna, peas and what I’m pretty sure was Elmer’s Glue. And they will never have to explain why they can’t go into a deli because of an irrational fear of anyone in a hair net.
The reason today’s kids won’t have to experience these things is because a recent study suggests canned tuna contains traces of mercury, which experts agree is potentially hazardous if consumed in large doses, which is always a concern when it comes to kids and their love of tuna.
Naturally, this has prompted demand for the removal of canned tuna from many school lunch programs.
This is nothing new.
In 1978, the entire student body at Jane Adams Elementary demanded tuna be taken off the lunch menu. This outcry came after a mixture of tuna surprise, corn and strawberry milk was witnessed exiting the nostrils of Billy Schlependorf.
Speaking of succotash …
Our unrefined 9-year-old palettes may have consumed pencil erasers and paste, but we still recognized that succotash looks and tastes as bad as it sounds — so we included that in our outcry, too.
As you can imagine, this captured national attention, with Hershey’s Chocolate air lifting boxes of free candy to help ease our suffering after police uncovered Mrs. Kidzyak’s conspiracy to make us consume other forms of fish, overcooked vegetables and liquid adhesive.
… That’s what we imagined happening as sixth graders, anyway.
In fact, nothing changed, except for Billy, who was never allowed to have strawberry milk again.
You see, unlike today’s kids, we didn’t have the advantage of elevated mercury levels on our side. If we had known our thermometers could have been used for something other than faking a fever or making glow-in-the-dark finger paint, there’s no telling what we could’ve gotten off the lunch menu.
Unfortunately, we were too busy chewing on lead-based paint and rolling around in the front seat of our parents’ car looking for candy cigarettes and Pop Rocks to spend much time worrying about what we might find in our school lunch.
Which isn’t to say kids should have to eat something laced with traces of mercury. I’m just saying, if given a choice, we would have eaten radioactive ice cream rather than skip dessert.
Now that I think about it, Mrs. Kidzyak’s “Magically Magnetic Brownie Squares” were a little weird.
(You can write to Ned Hickson at Siuslaw News firstname.lastname@example.org.)