A mom who thought she was properly parenting by sending her two young kids to school with a homemade, whole-food lunch was shocked to find a penalty note from school officials informing her that the lunch of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, oranges and milk she provided was "unbalanced" and therefore had to be supplemented with Ritz crackers.
When you have children of your own, you realize for the first time what your own parents went through, things you couldn't possibly have understood when you were a child—and really are better off not having understood, because the knowledge would have been debilitating. There's the abyssal terror at having brought a fragile, trusting life into a world of hurtfulness and destruction, for instance. Not far behind that is the problem of packing lunch.
Paging Miss Manners! The recession is now eroding the very cornerstone of our society's system of etiquette: the willingness to pay for a business lunch. Literary agent Larry Kirshbaum says that people have turned into such tightwads, he's often reduced to conducting business over lunch at a cheap diner instead of Michael's and that one "top publisher" wanted to take him to McDonald's. "People are really afraid to spend money," he reflects. "Anything that smacks of too much fun or self-indulgence is being frowned upon." Well, it's understandable. A few slimmer expense reports, and the demolishment of Western capitalism will reverse itself in no time.