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Lunch Lunch

How good you imagine your lunch will be is in direct relation to forgetting it at home.

I found this out the hard way on Tuesday when I went to the break room to heat up my lunch and found that it was not there. A more suspicious and paranoid person would have jumped to the conclusion that someone had stolen my plastic container of shepherd’s pie. Lunch theft is the sort of thing you hear stories about, but never expect that you will be a victim.

Fortunately, before I went around accusing my coworkers of being lunch robbers, common sense prevailed. It would take either a very bold thief or a very dimwitted one to steal a lunch in a small office without expecting to be found out.

No, it was clear there must be more realistic options. Perhaps someone had disposed of the container thinking the gelatinous glop of gravy, meat, mashed potatoes and corn was some forgotten lunch from long ago.

There is a precedent of this happening in the past to one of my previous coworkers. His brown-bagged lunch had ended up in the trash when a long-overdue purge of the break room refrigerator occurred. Upon further refl ection, this option also grew unlikely since office members have worked to stay on top of items left too long. And since the unfortunate lunch tossing incident, there generally will be announcements as to when a refrigerator cleaning day is approaching.

The clearly obvious solution is that my lunch never actually made it into The Star News office. This opened another chain of possibilities. Either I left it in the car where, considering it was a nippy 24 degrees driving in, there is a chance that it would be OK. An alternative is that I had left it sitting on our kitchen table. A quick jog out to my car showed my son’s half-eaten container of strawberry-kiwi yogurt, but no container of yummy shepherd’s pie.

In an effort to eat healthier, I have taken the time each week to prepare and package lunches for myself and my family. The bagged chicken and vegetable dinners work well for this with me packaging it up into proper serving-sized portions ready to be grabbed and put in lunch boxes.

Generally it has been well received. As a side benefi t, it also gives something reasonably healthy for my 13-year-old son, Alex, to grab and devour when he gets home from school and is “starving.”

Considering how fast Alex is growing, it is actually more surprising to me that he isn’t eating more than he does. Much like his uncles, Alex is on pace to be pushing the six-foot mark by the end of middle school and is already wearing size 13 shoes.

In addition to having a hopefully healthier, or at least properly sized lunch, having them all prepackaged makes getting lunch boxes filled each morning a breeze.

Assuming, of course, that I actually remember to bring it.

Alas, by the time I worked through my incident causation tree to determine that my lunch was left at home and had not been abducted by aliens, the time set aside for me to eat it had passed. This also negated the option of either running home for something or picking up fast food.

A snap decision had to be made. Should I muscle through the rest of my day fantasizing about the meal that was not meant to be? Fortunately, I was saved from the pangs of hunger by snagging a donut that the nice people who came to talk to us about changes to our retirement plan had brought for the office.

Crisis averted. I will live to lunch another day.

Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.