When my brother was in High School he was kicked out of school for starting a food fight in study hall. Apparently he threw my mom's knox blocks (jello squares for those of you who didn't grow up with my mom) across the room and all hell broke loose. There's a good chance he'll comment on this blog and say this isn't at all right, but that's what I remember.
And more than remember, I dreamt about it. I fantasized about it. I created an 80's pop sound track for it. I recast my brother as Judd Nelson. (It was an easy switch, they had the same mullet). Starting a food fight just seemed so cinematic. So perfectly high school.
I was not the kind of kid who could start a food fight. I was not that brave. I had a terrible throwing arm. I was terrified of getting kicked out of school. I was weirdly self-conscious.
But I wanted to be. I wanted to be that kind of leader, that kind of bad-ass. The kind of kid who knew just when a knox block was needed.
Flash forward to college. I spent a huge amount of time in college at my best friend's house. The Kavanaugh house was an incredibly happy place. There was singing, and parties and turkey dinners. Hijinks and practical jokes seemed to abound. JK had two brother's who always seemed to be Up To Something.
For Christmas one year JK's dad took her to get a fancy new hair cut and a new wardrobe. I think I was actually waiting at her parent's house for her to come home, like the lame best friend with nowhere to go. She arrived, totally beautiful and transformed, decked out in new clothes with a great hair cut and we hung out in her kitchen and laughed and laughed. We were both giddy and silly and for some reason in my mind, it seemed like the PERFECT time for a food fight and I smeared red jelly frosting in her hair.
This was...twenty years ago and I remember her face perfectly.
She was horrified. And hurt. And FURIOUS.
It was a stupid idea, I realized it the second my fingers left her hair. It was the exact opposite of the right time for a food fight. And there was no way I could explain that for a second I kind of felt like we were in a John Hughes film. I could not have gotten the situation more wrong.
The next year, my best friend had moved to Chicago and I met Adam, my now husband. It was spring or maybe early fall and we were at a school-sponsored party. Which meant it was a little stiff, a little lame. There was a keg of beer no one was drinking. And those sumo wrestler fat suits in a bouncy castle. There was a table of food. Carrots with ranch dip. Chips with salsa. A band, I think.
Honestly, it really felt like it NEEDED a food fight. If a food fight started it would have been epic. Memorable. We would talk about it for years. It felt like my moment. So I took a chip, covered it in salsa and flung it across Adam's shirt.
He was horrified. And confused. And not at all entertained. I tried to make my case but he wasn't having it. He cleaned up his shirt and we went to go see a movie.
I have no idea why I've been thinking about this. My hairdresser the other day was talking about how the really embarrassing moments we have in our lives are painfully internal. They rarely involve a room full of people pointing and staring, but are instead those horrible stomach-churning moments when you realize how painfully out of step you are with what's happening around you. I love embarrassing moment stories. I have a couple, shined to a high polish. But they're easy, really. I'm not really that embarrassed.
These food fight things, though...I'm still cringing.
And you would think after these two terrible food fight attempts, I would give up the dream. But no.
The next year, at my five year high school reunion, I threw a handful of cake at Brian Cater and instead of being horrified, his eyes lit up and he grabbed a handful and threw it at me and it was on. I had my moment. A giant cake food fight. Organizers were not pleased. And it was a mess.
But it was perfect.