Journals The Tattoo

Victory over vending machines

Aurora, Nebraska, UNITED STATES — Sometimes I think that high school is a prank, a really cruel one played on us by our parents, perhaps. That, if it was our real life, it would have come with a better set of instructions.

No such luck.

I’ve been a sophomore for one month now, and for the first time I’m officially in the high school. Our school has some weird thing where the freshmen are still in the middle school.

So far, I’ve learned more about the art of war than anything about biology.

In high school, it seems that everything is out to get you.

Even inanimate objects, such as the damned vending machine, have a personal beef.

It was the first day of school and I forgot to pack my lunch.

No problem, some might say, just go to the cafeteria.

No, thanks.

At Aurora High School , the cafeteria resembles one of those Discovery Channel shows where smaller animals are viciously ripped apart by the older, more dominating creatures. And as a sophomore, not matter my actual size, I’m the smaller animal.

So instead I choose the vending machine, God’s own little gift of quick food with no nutritional value.

“Are you hungry?” the screen on the machine read. Why yes, I thought to myself with a chuckle.

As my stomach grumbled, I decided that cinnamon sugar Pop-Tarts with brown sugar frosting would best suit my needs.

I entered my dollar. It popped back out. I then went through the motions of laying it flat and pressing it up against the edge, smoothing it out with the utmost care. This time, the machine accepted the dollar.

“Sorry, this machine will resume operation at 3:30 ,” suddenly appeared on the screen and my change shot out of the coin return.

“What the hell,” I think. “It asks me if I want food and then tells me I can’t have any?”

I hate admitting defeat, but as I dragged my feet against the floor I admitted that the smart ass machine had beaten me.

“Problems?” my friend Miriam asks as I sit down next to her at my locker.

I mumble something inaudible about the vending machine.

“Here,” she laughs and hands me a granola bar.

I tear it open and take a bite.

It’s cinnamon sugar.

I win.