Learning Good, With Jesus!: The Cafeteria

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By Dan Fitzpatrick

Learning Good, with Jesus!” is a recurring feature examining the author’s extensive (K-12) Catholic education. Each post focuses on a single aspect of the greater experience and is based off of general impressions rather than specific occurrences. The purpose of this writing is not to criticize, but to entertain, so please be forgiving toward potentially offensive material. After all, it is the Christian thing to do.

The Cafeteria

While fasting may be the express lane to holiness, even the most pious schoolchildren need corporal sustenance every now and then. Indoctrination sure works up an appetite. That is where the cafeteria comes in—giving the wee martyrs-to-be a chance to feed without falling prey to the temptation of gluttony.

The main focus in the Catholic school cafeteria is the prayer, something valued far more than the meal itself. In fact, no eating may commence until the students recite the full verse of “Bless Us O Lord,” unless an individual wants to receive multiple detentions for such a blatant display of disrespect. Additionally, the lunchroom Inquisitor General, often an older woman reeking of formaldehyde and peppermints, will not start the prayer until the cafeteria is completely silent for an indefinite amount of time, perhaps a minute for every cat she owns.

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“The sun has set. You may now eat your tater tots.”

Following the prayer, the entire room turns its attention to a live telecast from the rooftops of the Vatican. Eventually a white plume of smoke will emerge from a chimney, signaling that, after considerable deliberation, the College of Cardinals has decided to begin the meal. The students then file up to the lunch counter to share in the bounty of the Lord’s harvest. The food arrives in meager portions of watery fruit drink and ground beef heart hamburgers—enough to keep you alive, but not enough to give you the strength to flee. Bon appetit, but stay in your seats.

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Above: The average lunch, divided among 5,000 students.

In the vileness of the cuisine, however, there lies a lesson. The comforts of gourmet cooking cannot make you a more moral person, and therefore can only lead you down the path of evil. Best not enjoy yourself at all; it is safer that way.

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You can’t get a body like that on the Krispy Kreme diet.

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