My lunches in elementary school were about as generic as houses in the 1950s. They began with a mini juice-box (I didn’t upgrade to Capri-Sun pouches until middle school), Dunkaroos (the only time frosting and cookies will ever count as a legitimate lunch item) and a bag of carrots that were usually only included to create the image of healthiness. More essential than the neon vegetable, though, was the centerpiece of elementary school meals: the sandwich.
If you’ve ever been a child (which, unless you’re some sort of alien, should be all of you), then you know what I’m about to tell you. Back in the day, the ways one could eat and cut a sandwich varied in complexity. How one chopped up a peanut butter and fluff sandwich (or peanut butter and jelly, if you wanted to be mainstream) was entirely dependent on your personality.
Whole Sandwich Approach
Whole sandwich eaters didn’t dilly-dally with cutting up their meals; they just dived right in. Whole sandwich eaters chomped on their slices of bread like it was nobody’s business. They were bold, they were brave, and they certainly didn’t need anyone to slice up their lunches to make it easier for them to eat. In fact, they liked the challenge.
Examples of whole sandwich eaters: Donald Trump, Chuck Norris, all of the Avengers
Half Sandwich Approach (Rectangle)
The half sandwich approach was for those who weren’t quite ready for the whole experience but aimed to make it there eventually. “Halfas” had the brains to potentially make it big some day and the stamina to get them there. They had the modesty needed to create friends but also the strength to defend themselves if necessary. They also had the ability to never get sandwich particles on the corners of their mouth which is a feat I could never comprehend or accomplish.
Examples of half-sandwich eaters (rectangle): Emma Stone, Taylor Swift, Ryan Gosling
Half Sandwich Approach (Right Triangle)
Do you know why you like eating the tippity tip of that first bite of pizza? I do. It is probably because you were a right triangle sandwich eater, one who knew how effectively devour the sandwich without all of the added mess. Halfas using the right triangle approach started at the exposed corner and strategically nommed the sandwich into oblivion. These guys invented the phrase work smart, not hard.
Examples of half-sandwich eaters: Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Math people
Mini Triangles Approach
For the mini triangle folks, whole sandwiches, even half sandwiches, often seemed too daunting. These kids preferred consuming the little pieces before tackling the big picture and nibbling their way through the small details at a neat, elegant pace. Nerds often gravitated towards the bitty triangle design which seemed infinitely less intimidating than a giant square block of substance.
Examples of mini triangle eaters: J.K. Rowling, English Majors, Nerds
Pre-Cut Edges Approach (Special Add-On!)
Pre-cut edges can be added to any of the following categories above. Kids who insist on pre-cut edges are often delicate as they tend to avoid the thicker, more knitty-gritty edges of the sandwich and instead focus on the fluffy middle. They are sweeter, smaller and will probably teach deaf orphans how to sing like Josh Groban when they grow up. Pairing pre-cut edges with rectangle halfas will create the perfect human being. Don’t quote me on this but I’m pretty sure Ghandi was an edge cutter.
Examples: Ridiculously Photogenic Runner Guy, Philanthropists, Kittens (probably)
Perhaps regular forms of sandwich cutting did not suit your fancy. On rare occasions, I came across such non-conformists who found other ways of cutting sandwiches either through pre-bought plastic molds or through their own creativity. Such children found regular sandwiches boring and aimed to find “cooler” ways to eat lunch.
Examples of “other” sandwich eaters: Hipsters, Lady GaGa
What shocks me the most about elementary school lunches though, more than the various sandwich eaters and cutting approaches, is the harmony that existed between every child. Pre-cut sandwich kids did not shun the right triangle kids. Whole sandwich eaters did not fight with “other” sandwich group. Rectangle chompers did not ridicule mini triangle nibblers. Instead, lunch was a time for sharing frosting-covered cookies, fighting over the last tater tot and mingling with whomever you wanted without a care in the world. It was a time when all sandwich eaters could eat their generic elementary school lunches in the blissful Levittown of childhood.
Images via Shutterstock and Bento Box Cookbook