“Burrito Day” strikes terror in the hearts of our cafeteria people and me. Beth, Pat, Dolores, Sharon and Lyn all toss and turn throughout the night in anticipation of the approaching day. Sweaty-palmed, they don their green berets and begin their drive to school, feeling, I’m sure much the same as our troops who filed into the trenches of Verdin or boarded ships to cross the Channel on D-day except that the “experience” is repeated weekly. Hundreds of students read their menus and plot their strategies of how to find a way to place themselves in forward positions in the lines. They know the 50 burritos are probably the most generously stuffed. A feigned headache at 11:10 a.m. could put one in the nurse’s office by 11:15, a perfect spot to slip into lines. It worked earlier on but the teachers are becoming wise. Even a defiant act, serious enough to be sent to the principals office, is considered because, occasionally if he is not there, some naive adult will order one to the lunch line with orders to return after eating. Bathroom visits worked earlier on but the teachers are becoming wise. Even a defiant, serious enough to be sent to the principals office, is considered because, occasionally, if he isn’t there, some naive adult will order one to the lunch line with orders to return after eating. The line winds its way out of the cafeteria, up the stairs, past the office and down the hallway past the third grade classrooms Tension fills the area as students jostle for position. Bribery, threats and subtle intimidation for line advancement are constant as wafts of spicy aromas from the kitchen drive otherwise reasonable people crazy. Earlier I have reviewed these soft, plump rectangle bombs oozing beans and cheese sitting row to row on the steam table. They are the perfect terrorist weapon; tossed into a crowded hallway or classroom, they can cause havoc, confusion and some panic without an explosion. Teachers lead their charges down the halls and avoid eye contact with us as they drop their students into line. Then they turn, heads already bent in guilt and flee to the staff room bunker where they huddle, stripped of personal honor and integrity, in the shadows of the microwave light to consume their lunch, knowing full well a pitched life and death battle is raging not more than 200 yards away. Hand-to-hand combat sometimes we must physically restrain the “line cutters”, shifting troops (sometimes they try to flank us) and cries of “Take no prisoners” fill the hallways as Beth announces they have run out of burritos and the last 25 students will be served back-up frozen pizza wedges. After last burrito day, I called Cafeteria Pentagon where the highest level menu decisions are made and pleaded for a week of liver and onions, cream of broccoli soup, tuna casserole,eggplant souffle and cardboard salisbury steak. My cries fell on dead ears. Pompous nutritionists strutting about in starched white smocks and gleaming name badges are too far removed from life in the trenches to understand.