Tenth graders at
Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, recently
got a challenging homework assignment: go a full 24 hours without TV,
telephone, junk food or music, and then write about it. Two students
shared their experiences with Extra.
A Junk-Food Queen Goes Cold Turkey
By Sarah Cornwell
what they might call a survivor. No, I didn't win a million bucks or
tell someone that I wouldn't help them if vultures were making a meal
out of them. I didn't walk around buck-naked or eat fried rats.
C'mon, I'm not that insane.
No, I'm a survivor against a much stronger force than any deadly island
or harsh Australian climate could ever present. I faced a formidable
enemy and vanquished the odds, and here I stand triumphant
a bag of Fritos in my hands.
Let's put it this way: Out of all the Western countries in the world,
Americans are the fattest and most junk food driven culture alive. Hey,
we might as well admit it. While poor kids in China are digging through
worm-infested marshes for rice to supply them enough for one measly
meal, we're getting impatient with the poor kid at McDonald's who's
a little shaky at flipping the burgers.
We stuff our mouths
full of Twinkies and french fries while our waistline protrudes, and
we whine incessantly when we can't find the remote control and actually
have to get up to find it.
And I'm an American; one of the worst, if I do say so myself. However,
having to survive for 24 hours without junk food seemed to be a task
that my pompous ego could handle. After all, it's just one day, right?
5:45 AM--I awake to the smells of my dad cooking his famous omelet on
the stove. No problem, I don't usually eat a heavy breakfast, if I eat
at all in the mornings. A quick piece of toast later, I'm out the door,
visions of celery sticks and protein bars dancing through my head on
the way to school.
11:15 AM--Chemistry class. My stomach starts to rumble, and when the
lunch bell rings, I grab my things and saunter to the lunch line. No
sooner was I facing the football player of a lunch lady when I realized
that my daily lunch of a muffin and chips would have to be put on hold.
Oh yeah, no junk.
settle for a healthy little Nutri-Grain bar, but it doesn't feel the
same. In no time, the tiny morsel was gone and I was left forlornly
sipping from my water bottle while my friends wolfed down pizza, chips,
and cookies. The dancing celery sticks were gone. Instead, all I could
feel was my stomach gnawing from the inside of my gut.
1:30 PM--Math class. I look around. By now, my stomach had gone from
a dull whisper to a roar, and kids were sending quizzical glances at
me, asking in disbelief, "Was that you?" My friend's scrunchy
sitting neatly around her wrist began taking the shape of a donut, and
I was almost tempted to snatch the chips bag out of the hands of my
classmate and just shove it in, plastic and all.
By the end of the day, I'm about ready to cry. It seems as if every
commercial on television is advertising some sort of food that is so
disgustingly wonderful that I have to quickly change the channel.
By the time the 24-hour mark rolled around, I was desperate. I can't
exactly recall what happened, but my mom tells me that she found me
the next morning munching away on Cheetos, purring happily to myself.
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