Working in a call center environment, with such a diverse group of people, there are some pretty…let’s just say “interesting”…events that occur with the staff.

I have worked at such a company since the year 1986, and I’ve had a ring-side seat for many of these “interesting” events which some of my Facebook friends have also been present.

The following story happened a while ago, when I was a supervisor in the call center.  I’m not sure of the exact year, only that it was before 1999.  That’s the year my twins were born.  That’s the year I left the 2nd-Shift Call Center Supervisor position and moved on to the greener pastures of day shift office and administration.

It was a Saturday.  The shift was from 11am – 7pm, and there were 3 supervisors scheduled for the room of 100 agents.  At about 11:30, one of the agents who was sitting in Section A (seats 1-20) came up to me at the Supervisor desk and said, “Something stinks over in section A.”

“You wanna move to a different seat?”

“No.  I just wanted you to know.”  She turned and went back to her seat.  The Unknown Odor was then placed at the bottom of my priority list.  Apparently, it wasn’t bad enough that she wanted to move, so I just kind of let it go.

About 20 minutes later, the agent, accompanied by another agent, came up to me again.  “It still stinks over there.  She smells it, too.”

“Well, what do you think it might be?” I asked them.

“I dunno.  But it’s bad.”

I got up and went with them back to their seats.  I walked up and down the aisle of Section A, but I didn’t smell anything.

“I don’t smell anything,” I said.  Not that I really expected to.  I have a pretty bad sense of smell.  Food cooking on the grill, flowers, a spritz of perfume…can’t smell any of it.

“It ain’t smelling now,” the agent said.  “But it smelled bad, didn’t it?”  She looked at another agent, who nodded in confirmation.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” I said.  “There’s nothing here now.  Best I can do is move you to a different seat.”

My offer was declined again.

As the day went on, several more agents came up to me to complain about the smell.  Some of them accepted my offer and move to a different seat.  Others did not.  It seemed as though these agents were on a mission to find the source of the smell.

About halfway through the shift, the most vocal of the agents came up to me again.  “It is bad!  It is SO bad!  And I found out what it is!  That man is seat 7 done shit himself!  He shit himself, Kevin!  You can see it on his pants leg!  All up and down!”

This was so over the top, it couldn’t possibly be true.  This was an older gentleman, probably in his 50’s or so.  Certainly, there was no way this agent’s claim could be true.  To just sit there in it?  It was unbelievable to me.

So I did some recon.  I patrolled the aisle of Section A and had just a few moments of “personal time” with each agent.  I asked how their day was, said I was glad they came in to work, yada yada yada.  I kept looking over at this man, hoping for (or was it hoping against?) visual confirmation.  And yep!  There it was, smeared all up and down the right pant leg of his navy blue suit.

Well, I didn’t know what to do.  I’ve never had to have a conversation about this before.  What do I say?  How do I begin?  “Hey, how you doing today?  Glad you came in.  I see you shit yourself.”  See?  That just doesn’t work.

I called my boss.

“Uhh, hey Natalie.  It’s Kevin.  Oh, not too bad.  Hey, listen.  I’ve got a rather unusual situation here.  Seems the agent in seat 7 shit his pants.  Yep.  Shit.  His pants.  How should I handle this?”

It was decided that the other supervisor and I (the third supervisor had gone to lunch about a half hour before) would simply ask the man if he was feeling OK, mention his pants, and send him home free and clear of any kind of attendance violation.  So we pulled him off the phone and into an office.

I jumped right in.  “So, uhhh…we were wondering….are you feeling OK?”

He didn’t even have to think about it.  “Well, to tell you the truth, no I’m not.  You might have heard these little girls out here talking.  I had a little accident on the bus on the way here.”

In my head I thought, On the way here?  You crapped your pants on the way here????  That was like 4 hours ago!  What came out of my mouth was, “Tell you what.  Why don’t you just go ahead on home and take care of yourself.  We won’t even mark it down as a violation.”

He was very appreciative with how understanding we were.  My co-supervisor then went out to the call center to get his personal effects.  She brought them in to him and we had him leave through the office door instead of going back out through the call center.  After he left, we took the chair that he was sitting in and rolled it out the rear door.  Our nefarious plan was to retrieve the chair after the shift and put it somewhere in the marketing department.

After we sprayed Lysol in the general vicinity of seat 7, things calmed down and everything was back to normal.  About a half hour later, the 3rd supervisor came back from lunch.  The other supervisor and I are doing our work, tallying totals, checking project status and production rates.  After a little while, the supervisor who had been at lunch came up to the two of us and asked, “Umm…did something happen while I was out?”

We told him what had happened with the guy and how we handled and so forth.  And then, “Why?  What makes you ask?”

“Well,” he paused a beat before he continued, “cuz I was just in the bathroom and, on the floor behind the toilet, was underwear filled with dookie.”

“WHAT?”

“Yeah!  I walked in the bathroom and there was this terrible smell.  And stuffed behind the toilet, was dookie filled underwear.”

“You’re lying!”

“No, I’m dead serious.”

Great.  How was I going to handle THIS?

I guess he could see it in my eyes, because he popped right in and volunteered with, “Oh, I already took care of it.  I got a pair of those yellow cleaning gloves, stuffed the dookie drawers in a Subway bag, and threw it in the dumpster out back.  Why is there a chair out there?”

We explained that it was the chair the soiled agent was sitting in and told him of our plan to place it in the marketing department.

The rest of the day was incident free.  The shift ended, we did our end of day tallies and clean up and stuff, and I went out to get the chair off the back deck.

But the chair was gone.  Someone, at some point during the day, came along and had stolen it.

I wonder just how long they kept it before ditching it?

I was 11 years old when I learned that “authority” wasn’t synonymous with fair, or right, or reasonable.

During the first half of sixth-grade, at Hyde Park Elementary School back in 1981, I was one of a select group of students who were permitted to leave Mrs. Hewitt’s English/Spelling/Grammar class twice a week to work on a special project. Organized and supervised by a couple of moms, we students were going to make marionette puppets and have several performances of The Grimm Brothers fairy tale, The Elves and the Shoemaker.

Each of us was assigned a character which we would be responsible for putting together and creating the costume. I was chosen to be one of the elves. Since we were only meeting for about 45 minutes twice a week, the construction of the puppets wasn’t too terribly in-depth. Everyone used the same pattern for the marionettes. We cut the head, each arm, each leg, and the torso from two pieces of cream-colored cloth that we would then sew together.

I remember sitting at sewing machine for the first time, excited that I was going to get to use it. At home my mom had a Singer sewing machine that I was fascinated with. I would often go into the room where she had it set up and marvel at the machine that had the power to repair the shirts I had torn climbing over fences or to hem the hand-me-down pants I had that were too long. My mom made sure that the Singer was never threaded because she knew I liked to sit at the table, turn it on and step on the pedal to be able to hear the staccato sound of the needle quickly move up and down. But I was going to get to actually use this one.

One of the moms sat there with me and showed me how to control the speed. She then threaded the machine and had me watch her as she ran one of the arms through, leaving the top of the arm unstitched so that we could later stuff it with cotton. I sat down at the machine and, with her closely supervising, I sewed the other arm together. It wasn’t as good as hers. Sometimes my stitches were too far inside and I had gone completely off the cloth a couple of times down around the fingertips, but I got the job done. The legs went much more smoothly, as did the head. The torso was the easiest of all, as it was more or less a square.

We dropped ½ ounce fishing sinkers into each arm and leg to give the hands and feet some weight. Then we stuffed all the parts with cotton. In order to simulate the joints, we stitched across the arms/legs where the elbows/knees would be. And although there was no need for a movable wrist or ankle, we stitched there as well in order to keep the sinker in the hands and feet. By now, I was an “old pro” with the sewing machine and it was no problem whatsoever to stitch the legs, arms and head onto the torso. The end result was clearly a human figure, about a foot tall, that could very easily have been used as a voodoo doll had we been so inclined.

The faces of our marionettes were to be drawn on using colored pens. I have never been artistically inclined and, although I was going for something suitably “elfish,” I ended up with something along the lines of “angry Pacific Islander.” My costume design didn’t fare so well, either. While the other marionette characters had outfits made from a variety of fabrics and made use of different colors and had accessories like belts, suspenders and hats, I had cut the patterns for both my elf’s shirt and pants from a piece of brown corduroy. Once those articles of clothing were sewn and my marionette was dressed, I attempted to “elf it up” by trimming the hem of the shirt with pinking shears to give it that jagged, saw-toothed look, but the effect was lost since the shirt and pants were the same material. I was well aware that my marionette wasn’t as presentable as the others, and I was silently embarrassed about that. I was positive that I was going to be told that my marionette wasn’t good enough and that I couldn’t participate in the show. But no one said that. They knew I did my best. And while I knew I did my best, it was obvious that my best wasn’t as good as the others. I was happy that I would be hidden from the audience’s view as I manipulated my marionette’s actions from behind the stage.

Learning the control the marionette elf was a blast, and I picked up on it pretty quickly. Two control bars were used: My right hand held the bar with the strings attached to the head and each hand, while my left hand held the bar with strings attached to the feet. During our practices, I would spend a lot of time on making my elf walk. I focused on this because I didn’t want him to seem like he was floating or hopping his way across stage. His arms and hands were a different story, though. Those were controlled by the bar in my left hand. I didn’t have the dexterity to control either of his hands to make it look like he was hammering or tapping on something. The best I could do was to alternately raise and lower each arm, which made my elf look like he was slowly beating a phantom drum.

I’m unable to recall any of the actual performances of our little play; probably because we were behind the stage and didn’t get to feel a “connection” with the audience that a live actor might experience. However, I do recall our curtain calls after each of the performances. We had to line up in front of the stage with our marionettes and make them bow. Each time, I remember thinking, “Everyone’s going to know that it was me that had the crummy looking marionette,” and I hoped that my embarrassment wasn’t as evident as I felt it to be. But as before, no one said anything about it. No one pointed or snickered.

After our final performance, just before Christmas break, we were able to take our marionettes home. I didn’t really want third-rate elf, but I was proud of the doll I had made so the very first thing I did was cut off the strings and those brown clothes. I took the former-marionette up to my room and set it on the edge of the TV stand with his back leaning against the TV. Every now and again, when I was especially bored, I’d pull him off the TV stand and make him act out some scene from a movie or one concocted from my own imagination. Although he couldn’t stand on his own or hold a pose, his arms had a tremendous range of motion and I could move them in ways that my Star Wars or G.I. Joe action figures were incapable of duplicating. It was fun making him climb up my closet door like Spider-Man or perform the iconic finger-point-dance along with John Travolta when ABC aired Saturday Night Fever.

Eventually, things like that became boring and so I began making him do other, more daring things. He became an acrobat. I’d fling him upward, causing him to do cartwheels in the air. Each time I’d try to out-do the last. Three cartwheels? Let’s go for four. What about six? There were only so many I could make him do inside the house. I needed to take him outside to be able to do more, but it was winter and I didn’t want to ruin him by playing with him where he could get wet. Another change of careers was in order. He became a stuntman and I named him Colt Seavers, after Lee Majors’ character on the new TV Show, The Fall Guy.

The first stunt was a fall. I sat on the landing at the top of the stairs and pretended to be the director.

“All right, Colt. You’re just going to jump off the landing and we’ll see how things go, OK? Annnd…….ACTION!”

I gave Colt Seavers a little toss so that the first step he hit on the way down would be about the third from the top. There were plenty of takes for this particular stunt because he would never fall and tumble the same way twice. Sometimes, he hit the steps just right and would accelerate toward the bottom with reckless abandon until he came to a sudden stop on the tiled floor below. Other times he would hit the wall or banister on the way down which often slowed him enough that he came to rest draped over the edge of a step looking like every bone in his body was broken, his legs on the step above and face on the one below with his arms bent at awkward angles. Falling down stairs was all well and good, but there were other stunts that needed to be done as well.

I would precariously sit him on the top of the door to my room and shoot him with my dart gun. And not one of those “safe” dart guns like they have now, where the small dart is made of rubber and is propelled by air. Colt Seavers was regularly shot with a standard, plastic, spring-loaded dart gun pistol with the rubber suction cup removed from the dart. Sometimes my aim would be off and I’d hit his foot which made him fall forward. It wasn’t that spectacular, until I moved a folding chair in front of the door so he would hit it on his way down, which caused a sudden change the direction of his tumble. What I enjoyed the most though, was shooting the dart at the upper portion of his body. One moment he’d be sitting on the door, and the next moment all I saw was feet disappearing over the top. Colt Seavers was a great toy, made even greater by the fact that I had made him.

Spring arrived and I was finally able to take Colt Seavers outside. I no longer harbored any thoughts about acrobatics and how many cartwheels could be done. It was all about being a stuntman. I’d climb trees, drop him out of them and smile as I watched him Plinko his way down. He was put into the Wiffle-Ball Automatic Pitcher and catapulted across the yard. His hands and feet were duct-taped to the tetherball and he was sent into an ever declining, ever accelerating spiral until he was pinched between the ball and the pole.

Then, one day, I was in the front yard and I figured I’d see just how many air cartwheels I could make him do. I was so concerned about the power I would need to get him high in to the air and how I needed to flick my wrist in order to get the maximum number of cartwheels that I didn’t even think about where he was going to end up. I let him fly. Up, up, up he went, end over end. He reached the apex and started his descent, and I could tell what was going to happen. WHUMP, he landed on my porch roof. I stood there in my front yard and stared up at the roof. Colt Seavers’ hand was the only part of him that was visible.

This was a no-brainer. The window in my room looked directly out onto the porch roof. All I had to do was lift the screen, walk on out, pick him up and climb back in. It wouldn’t take but 10 seconds. I dashed into the house.

“Mom! My guy’s on the roof. I’m gonna go out and get him.”

I hadn’t made it two steps up the staircase before my mom said, “No, you most certainly are not!”

I stopped dead and grabbed the railing with both hands. “But MOM!”

“I said no!”

“But he’s just right there! I’ll be out and in—“

“Kevin, you are NOT to go out onto that roof and get him! Do you understand me?”

I flopped down onto the step and sat there with my head in my hands. Horrible visions started playing in my mind. Colt Seavers would get soaked if it rained. I recalled one time I dropped a paperback book into the plastic backyard pool and it just got soaked. When the book finally dried, after several days, it had almost tripled in thickness. It was still a book, of course, but it had been ruined. I was afraid the same thing would happen to Colt Seavers…that the cotton inside him would absorb the water and he’d bloat up and be ruined. I imagined that a bird would swoop down and take him away, or tear him apart to get the stuffing out and use it in the construction of some nest somewhere.

“Do you understand me?”

I sighed. “Yes, I understand.”

“Don’t go on the roof.”

“God, I get it, ok?” I stood and stomped up to my room.

I climbed onto my bed, kneeled at the window with my arms crossed on the window sill and set my chin on my arm. I looked at Colt Seavers, lying there on his back with his feet lower than his head on the roof incline and his left hand sticking over the edge. I wanted to get him. I NEEDED to get him, if for no other reason than to just put him away in his proper place on the TV stand. I never left my toys outside. Never.

Then it came to me. I didn’t HAVE to go onto the roof to get him. I could stay in my room and accomplish the same thing. I opened the closet door and my dad’s fishing pole off the shelf. I assembled the rod and opened the window. I stuck the pole on out there, but it was too short to reach Colt Seavers. I pulled the pole back a little bit, pressed the line release button on the reel, and cast out the line. I positioned the pole so that the fishing line draped across Colt Seavers and I reeled it in slowly. The hook caught on the lip of the roof, but all it took was a slight jiggle to free it. A few more clicks of the reel crank and the hook caught Colt Seavers’ hip. I pulled him safely inside.

Just as I removed the hook, my mom came into the room.

“I told you not to get that.” She snatched Colt Seavers from my hand.

“No, you said not to go OUT and get him. I stayed inside and used dad’s fishing pole.” I held it up for her to see.

“You knew what I meant and yet you disobeyed me anyway. Why?”

I was incredibly confused at this situation. I honestly felt that I had obeyed her, but was getting in trouble anyway. I fought back tears caused by the confusion and unfairness of it all, and my voice trembled when I spoke. “You said…you said…no to go OUT…and get him.” The tears started to fall. “And I DIDN’T!”

“I told you not to—“

“You said—“

“Don’t interrupt me! I told you not to get him and you did it anyway. You’re grounded.”

“But, Mom!” I was incredulous. “You SAID—“

“GROUNDED! And this,” she held up Colt Seavers, “is gone!” She left the room and shut the door.

I fell onto my bed and screamed into my pillow. I cried under the onslaught of emotions. I was confused, frustrated, angry, and helpless. I felt like I had been cheated or betrayed. If I had to guess, I’d say that I was there for about a half hour before I had calmed down enough to emerge from my room. I made my way downstairs to the dining room where my mom was at the table clipping coupons or something. I was dejected, and didn’t (couldn’t?) look at her when I asked, “How long am I grounded?”

Without even having to think about it, she replied with, “Two weeks.”

“OK,” I said. I didn’t ask what I was grounded from, because it was always the same thing: No TV. I went to the kitchen and got a chocolate Jell-O Pudding Pop from the freezer. When I went to throw the wrapper away, I saw it. Colt Seavers and been dismembered and put into the garbage can.

I freaked out. Plain and simple.

I dropped the Pudding Pop and screamed, “WHY?” Instantly, the world blurred as the tears came again. I ran from the kitchen, and repeated “Why why why why why” as I made my way back to my room. I could hear my mom following me.

“I told you not to get him. You didn’t follow the rules, so you lost your toy.”

“But I DID,” I said as I flopped onto my bed. “I DID follow the rules, you said not to go out and I didn’t go out! And you cut him up. You cut him up and I worked really hard to make him!”

“Well, maybe next time you’ll—“

“No! No no no no no.” I screamed. “Leave me alone! I can’t believe you cut him up!” I buried my face in my pillow and continued to cry. She left my room and I think I cried myself to sleep, even though it wasn’t anywhere close to bedtime.

I didn’t talk to my mom much for a couple of weeks afterward. No more than I had to, anyway. I thought about making another one, but I didn’t remember how to thread a needle in a sewing machine. And besides, I didn’t have the right materials. And there was no way I was going to ask my mom for any help with the project. So…no. I never made another one.

I guess I ultimately forgave my mom for doing what she did. At least, I think I did. There was no “hallmark moment” to signify any forgiveness on my part, no moment where I exhaled all my anger away. In the end, it just came down to the passage of time and how it heals all wounds.

I often think about the marionette, especially when I’m laying down rules for my kids. I try to be clear, but sometimes I haven’t been successful. I’ve said the words, “That’s not what I meant and you know it” to my kids. And it pained me to do so. But I’ve also said, “You’re right, I wasn’t clear enough and I can understand why you did what you did.” That’s been hard to do as well. But I don’t think admitting such mistakes make me weak. I think it ultimately shows them that I respect them and their views, and I think they’re more likely to show me the same in return. At least I hope so.

Back in June 2003, I was driving in my car on my way to work. While stopped at a red light, a couple girls pulled up in a car and asked me if I knew how to get to the zoo from there. I told them that I didn’t know how to tell them, but they could follow me if they wanted. They agreed and so off we went. Once we got to the zoo, they pulled up next to me and said, “All you had to do was tell us to follow the fucking signs!!!” That must be how they say thank you in bitchville.

THEN, while waiting behind a car at a STOP sign, a police car that was coming the other way, pulled up next to me and indicated I should roll down my window. I do and he says to me, “Don’t even THINK about running that stop sign.”

I was stopped. The car in front of me at the stop sign was stopped. I simply said, “Uhhh…ok.” The car in front of me drove away and I pulled up to the stop sign. I stopped, waited for the cross traffic to thin out, then proceeded. That’s when the lights flashed and the siren yelped and the cop came after me and pulled me over. Wanted to know what my business was in the area of town, why I wasn’t at work, and where my work was. I told him and he said, “You’d best be headed there right now.”

It was unbelievable creepy. I wasn’t about to argue with him or anything, lest I end up arrested or something. So, I just drove onto work. When I got to work and got settled, I looked up the astronomy picture of the day. This is what I saw. CLICK HERE.

Yep. The universe giving me the finger.

OK. In the past few days, I’ve had a HUGE breakthrough. This is something that has going for about 30 years…ever since I was in 1st or 2nd grade.

I remember music class. We didn’t have a music teacher that was as talented or personable as Mr Holland. We had Mrs. Michaels. She was an older lady. She clearly knew her stuff and taught us how to read the musical staff and play the recorder and what the different kinds of notes were. But, at the risk of the pot calling the kettle black, she couldn’t sing. Or maybe she could, I don’t know. What I DO know is that when she did sing, it was always about 3 octaves higher than it should have been. That was really annoying.

However, that’s all just background and not germane to the point of this entry.

This one time, in music class, I stuck a flute in my we were singing the song “Git Along Little Dogies.”

The what?

The song “Git Along Little Dogies.” It’s an old western song. You can go here (just the first 4 lines will be fine) and then click on The Old Man Rockin’ The Cradle-Get Along Little Dogies(4.392 MB mp3 file) to listen to it (just skip to the 3:00 mark, that’s where the song begins). I know that’s an awful lot of hoops for you to jump through just for little ol’ me, but I don’t have my own personal domain where I could dump the file and I didn’t want to hotlink directly to the file. That would be unethical.

Anyway…I remember singing that song and thinking to myself, “I know this song from somewhere. Why do I know this song?”

I don’t want to sound like I’ve been obsessed for 30 years, but every now and then (like a couple times a month for years and years and years) I would hum this tune, think back to music class, and wonder how and when it got into my brain.

Then just the other day, I was at my mom’s house and I was looking through some of her old records. Records? Yes, records…those vinyl discs people would play using a turntable. I was looking through some of them and ran across a John Denver record. My mom said, “You used to sit and listen to this record for hours on end.”

“Really?”

“Oh, yes. One song, over and over again. You used to sing it all the time. Didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing. When we’d go to Kroger you’d have a crowd of people gathered around the shopping cart while you sang.”

“Which song was it?” I asked, looking at the list of songs on the album cover.

“Muhlenberg County. You used to sing it all the time.”

“Hmmmmmm….there’s no song called Muhlenberg County.”

“Well, maybe that’s not what it was called, but it’s on that record, that’s for certain.”

So I went online to the library catalog, located the CD and placed it on hold, to be delivered to my local branch for me to pick up at my leisure.

A few days later, I picked it up from the library, listened to it and ran across the song Paradise. Then everything came together in an instant. Yes! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! That was it! The song my mom was talking about. But, more importantly, it was the reason I recognized the Git Along Little Dogies song from a lifetime ago! Paradise was the nameless tune in my head that’s haunted me almost my entire life! Click here, scroll down, and listen to track #3. As I listened, memories came flooding back. Me sitting next to the stereo in the corner of the living room with my ear against the speaker, me being very careful as I picked up the needle to listen to the song again, me drawing a picture of a mule in an iceberg, me sitting in the cart at the grocery store singing while my mom was paying, me playing with a toy train singing the song, all sorts of things. Much like finding part 2 of Ultraman (which…if you don’t know that story…you can read about it HERE), it’s like I’ve discovered my own personal Holy Grail, and now I don’t know what to do. But I know I feel differently, somehow. Like some sort of weight or something has been removed. It’s weird.

Just so you’re aware, this is something that I wrote back in August of 2006…

Where to begin, where to begin?

Do I talk about falling down the steps, hurting my left butt-bone and getting rug burns down my arm?

Or do I talk about how someone I know won’t go near the women’s lingerie department when she has her kids with her because it’s inappropriate to display undergarments so predominantly?

Or maybe I discuss how I became physically ill after riding a ride at Paramount’s King’s Island and it pretty much wrecked me for the entire day.

No, instead I’ll talk about the free breakfast for every student at my kids’ school. That’s right. Each morning, every kid is given breakfast. It appears as though students do better if they have full bellies. Sounded like a spiffy idea to me…at first.

This breakfast consists of: one of those individual cereal boxes (in this case, Froot Loops), either a small carton of milk or orange juice, and an individually wrapped graham cracker. Every student must take the breakfast. They can choose to eat it, save it for later, or put it in the “recycling bag.”

My first reaction to this was, “Why do they HAVE to take it. Why can’t they decline it if they want?” I have since come to find out that this is just a way to “pad” the statistics. Look! EVERY CHILD was given breakfast! Yay! What a roaring success!!!

Whatever.

After more thought, there are other concerns about this program. Let’s pretend the kid(s) opt to decline the breakfast. ALL OF IT goes into the “recycle bag.” Yep, the box of cereal, along with the milk/juice, and the graham cracker…all into the same bag. Well, it seems to me that the graham crackers run the risk of getting crushed in this bag. Additionally, it would be interesting to find out how long these milks sit in the bag before being “recycled.”

And finally, there are several parents at school who watch what their kids eat. I know of several of them who are very strict about the amount of sugar they allow their kids to have. Froot Loops and cinammon graham crackers don’t make it on the list of “acceptable foods” for the kids. So what are they to do?

Certainly, the wheat side of me says that if you educate your kid and let them know that you don’t want them eating this type of food, then the kid will take the breakfast (as required) and then put it in the “recycle bag.”

However, the frosted side of me says that kids will be kids and when given a sugary treat they will eat it. Especially if it’s “forbidden Froot.” And as far as I know, there is no “diabetic-friendly” breakfast alternative.

So here’s the setup. The bell rings in the morning and everyone lines up. Intermediate grades 4-6 (approx 210 students) go straight to the cafeteria to get their breakfast. They take it to their homerooms and eat it there. Primary grades K-3 (approx 250 students) go to their rooms first and then head to the cafeteria to get breakfast and bring it back to the room to eat it. As you can imagine, that’s not easy to coordinate and it takes time.

WELL…a few years ago the school system changed the length of the school day to add half hour of instructional time to the day. It appears to me that extra half hour is now being used to give breakfast to kids who’ve most likely already HAD breakfast.

AND…lunch is at 11-11:30 and 11:30-12 and 12-12:30. Already there have been issues where kids haven’t been eating their lunches because they are still full from eating their homemade AND school-provided breakfasts.

This whole thing just smacks of someone saying, “Y’know what would be great? If we could make sure all our kids are fed.” Follow that up with someone else who said, “By Jove, I think you’ve got something there! Let’s do it!”

And, you know what? I think it’s a noble idea. Not necessarily sure I agree that the school system should be responsible for feeding our kids, and feeding them sugar on top of it all. I think the whole execution of it needs some work.

***UPDATE***
It didn’t take long for them to realize that compulsory breakfast was not working out. Breakfast is still available, but only in the morning before the bell rings and only for those who want to eat it.