Off the Grill
Friends, this is one of my favorite stories, so buckle up – it might get bumpy. But first, some background – my friend Robert and I had been part of the Junior R.O.T.C. program at our high school in North Louisiana. This would have been about 1984 or so and we had already been on many crazy adventures; this is just one of them.
To start off with, our Junior R.O.T.C. unit got together several times over the weekends for “campouts” – at least that’s what we told our parents, anyway. What actually happened was our version of war games. Imagine a motley crew of teenage Rambo wannabes decked out in full camouflage with no adult supervision – that was us. We divided up into teams and spent most of the night trying to “kill” the opposing team. A “kill”, by the way was done by flashlight, not a rifle shot. Needless to say, these activities were not sanctioned by the school in any way – completely off grid Black Ops.
After the first wave of commando raids, we usually settled down for some chow around a campfire. Our cooking skills were not very refined, but we got along pretty well. One of my favorite items was Chunky Soup cooked over a can of Sterno. That’s when Robert and I got the idea to take that meal to the next level.
Sometime during the following week Robert and I went to the grocery store and got 2 cans of Chunky Soup and 2 cans of dog food that were the same height and diameter. We thought it would be hysterical if we switched the labels on the cans, took them to school and then opened our “dog food” in the cafeteria for lunch. Boy, were we wrong about that.
The next day lunch time came, and Robert and I skipped the lunch line and went straight to our pre-arranged spot at one of the tables. Thinking that we would be celebrated as heroes for our outlandish sense of humor, we took out ourArmy surplus P-38 can openers, revealed our “meal” that was hidden in a paper bag, and slowly got the lid off of the can. What happened next was expected, but not in the way that we had planned.
Our seats faced the incoming students in the lunch line so they could get a good look at what we had prepared and then one person shouted out, “They’re eating dog food!” He left the line and came over to us to get a better look. Then there were other people, yelling now, “Oh My, God! They’re really eating it!” Within just a few seconds we were surrounded by dozens of unbelievers who in their astonishment created a huge, almost uncontrollable scene. Robert and I just kept eating away, enjoying the moment, and feeling pretty good about ourselves. That is, until some coaches and teachers broke up the party and things started to settle down.
I thought it was all over until my lunchmate and I got called into the Assistant Principal’s office. To make a long story short, he was not pleased with our actions. He didn’t even crack a smile. Robert and I were sentenced to 3 hours of after school detention for “causing a near riot in the cafeteria”. We were surprised at this level of punishment, but pretty proud of ourselves at the same time. We never did that again, but we’re still laughing about it after all these years.
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Alan Shoalmire. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.