In late August, composition books fly off the shelves. Kids and parent shuffle through Office Depot, grabbing rulers, graphing calculators, highlighters and fancy mechanical pencils the kids will lose six days into the new school year. It's the opening ceremony of a ritual reintegration of scholarship into the daily lives of young people, replacing Playstation binges and 12-hour sleep sessions.
With the beginning of school year, teachers' rooms are rapidly transformed from pristine, well-organized temples of education to cluttered, dusty holes with garbage cans stacked far beyond the spill-over point with food refuse. While rules typically prohibit students from snacking, students do so anyway -- and frequently fail to bother even looking for the garbage can once they're finished. Thanks to the wrappers and baggies already drifting through campus like urban tumbleweeds, we're noticing some trends.
4. Brisk Lemonade:
The one-liter plastic bottle of Brisk is the young scholar's favorite tipple. Often, it's paired with a bag of Cheetos. The drink is a pale yet opaque, chick-hued yellow. It tastes very faintly of lemons.
The hazelnut-and-chocolate spread is a breakfast classic, but the high schoolers of today do not so much smear their slices of fluffy white supermarket bread as blanket them, constructing grotesque layer cakes of Nutella-on-white to hoover out of little bundles of plastic wrap. Tell-tale smudges of the substance often grace the edges of desks and tables.
2. Sunflower Seeds:
Beloved by hamsters, sunflower seeds are also popular with baseball players and high school students, some of whom are baseball players too. Students tend to prefer chile-lime or "red-hot" variations on the standard seed theme. They also prefer not to eat their seeds over a napkin, plate or bowl, instead spitting the salty carapaces onto a desktop pile that may or may not end up brushed into the garbage can.
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1. Kettle Corn:
The farmers market stand-by -- also popular in baseball stadiums -- is a hit with students, which makes sense. Salty, sweet, and crunchy, it delivers the flavor profiles youthful taste buds can't resist. Most of the time, you'll see pre-packaged national brands, not the "artisanal" sort pictured above.
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