Beer + Nerdy Girl = Me at Twelve

It’s time to remember the, erm, time! This week’s RTT theme is a juicy one: tell us about your adventures with the hooch. Hair of the dog. Canned heat. A brewski. Adult beverages. (Thanks, Urban Dictionary, for helping me remember all these fantastic slang terms for alcohol.) For my own offering, I am bringing out one of my all-time favorite stories. I blogged about it a couple years ago, but this story has become lore in my family so I’m unpacking it again.

Can't. Choose. Which. Sarcastic. Comment. To. Make.

Can’t. Choose. Which. Sarcastic. Comment. To. Make.

Everyone has a go-to story. It’s usually from when they were in school and involves illicit substances, the police, or awkward dealings with the opposite sex. All of these are the makings of good barroom tales. Here’s mine.

It’s the one about how my mom packed a beer in my school lunch when I was in the seventh grade.

I was in the prime of my young life. Seventh grade was going to be The Year. Newly elected Student Council treasurer*, I finally had the power to affect change in the school, even if my jurisdiction only extended to rolling coins collected during Student Council bake sales. Even if the school didn’t host a hotbed of discontent among its students. Berkeley in the 60s, it was not.

*My opponent’s surname was Coin, yet I was still elected. This was highly meaningful for me at the time. The people had spoken, and a Pate – despite her non-monetary name – was the one they wanted handling their hard-earned $25.

In addition to this accolade, I was also chosen to serve on the highly-selective Sign Crew, whose job it was to change the marquis sign in front of our middle school once every two weeks. The announcement of Parent-Teacher conferences? All me. 

It's easy to just say no when no one is asking your lame butt to smoke in the first place.

It’s easy to just say no when no one is asking your lame butt to smoke in the first place.

But at the top of all my accomplishments at age eleven was making the cut and being invited to join the school’s Pride Team. It was basically a glee club with a heavy Just Say No message. It’s an anomaly of the modern age that getting to be on my school’s Pride Team was such a huge deal in our little middle school community. It could’ve possibly been because our school was kindergarten through eighth grade; by the time you could try out for it at the end of sixth grade, you had been to countless assemblies from the age of five where the big kids dressed up as PCP and angel dust and did a sad pantomime to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Never before had not doing drugs looked so glamorous.

Plus you got to go to Indianapolis for the National Pride Conference in the spring. And miss school. That may’ve had something to do with it. Maybe.

So my mission for my seventh grade year was clear: count the money and change the sign and be drug- and alcohol-free while doing so. Piece of cake.

Until one day when I went to the cafeteria to eat lunch. My mom packed my lunch, and that was FINE BY ME. I would occasionally partake of a rectangle of pizza on Friday or supplement my sack lunch with a purchased bag of Exploded Maze, but in general I was a big opponent of school lunch for what I think are obvious reasons. I attended a public school in the early-90s and if you think the slaw they schlepp out to the kiddies now is bad, just remember how foul it used to be. There was no Jamie Oliver or Rachael Ray making the rounds back then.


Canned peaches in a broth of high-fructose corn syrup nestled aside what appeared to have been broccoli several weeks ago.

Corn dogs that, once bitten into, turn out to be a thin strand of neon-pink flesh encased in stale cornbread and rammed with a stick. Sticks make everything fun.

And maybe some pudding. That was OK. But a “meal” in the general sense of the word it does not make.

school-chairAll these items were laid out on a compartmentalized tray that appeared to have been fabricated with the same neon orange plastic as the chairs in our classrooms. And again, remember that these are pre-Rachael Ray days when orange wasn’t a color that you typically associated with delicious/nutricious food. Radioactive edible substances, maybe.

Yeah, I was more than fine with my mom packing me a lunch. She packed me the standard fare: a turkey sandwich, a piece of fruit like an apple or an orange, some raw veggies, and a can of diet cola wrapped in a napkin and a piece of aluminum foil.

One day, I went to the lunch room with my brown bag and sat down among my old pals. You see, my success in my extracurricular activities hadn’t changed me and I kept my not-as-successful-confidantes close. We were sealed in the Circle of Nerddom that you’ll never relinquish.

I took out my soda and tore off the top of the foil to expose the pop-top, which I opened and took a swig of. But it was not caffeine-free Diet Coke. Oh no. It had a hoppy flavor that I associated with my dad after he finished mowing the lawn on Saturday afternoon. I peeled back more of the foil just to learn that…


With success comes responsibility. I couldn’t trust my old friends to help me handle this problem. I had suspected that they were extremely jealous when I got to put on my Pride Team uniform of blue t-shirt and white jeans and dance to “Rhythm Nation” for the school. This would be just the type of scandal they’d use to dethrone me and my Student Council throne. I was on my own.

I quickly ruled out discarding the full, opened beer can in the cafeteria’s trash compactor. Logically, the can would be found and dusted for prints and I would be lead away in cuffs within the hour. Justice was swift in the straight-laced borough of Germantown, Tennessee. So I had to get it off the premises of the school entirely in a seamless operation.

My mom had gotten me into this mess, so she would have to get me out. That is, she would have to get The Can That Shatters Empires out.

But at our school, using the phone in the front office was a tricky undertaking. Despite the fact that I held quite a bit of clout in all civic matters, I couldn’t just waltz up and demand to use the phone as part of my Sign Crew duties. I had to fabricate a reason to use it.

Luckily, I had one. The Spring Fling, held annually by the Student Council, was coming up that weekend. As a Major Planner of this event, I was enlisted in the decorating activities which were to take place the following day. I decided to tell the Front Desk Lady that I needed to use the phone because – WHOOPSIE – I had told my mom to pick me up late thatday, instead of the following. Devious lies. Devious lies.

So I get my mom on the phone.


I have a major problem RIGHT NOW that I cannot explain but you need to come here RIGHT AWAY and help me. Don’t tell ANYONE where you’re going. I’ll be in the front hallway. Come now.

“Is everything alright, Emily?”

I’ll see you in five minutes. I can’t talk longer. COME NOW.


Lunch would have to take a backseat to the beer cover-up that day. I sat in the front hallway eagerly anticipating my mother’s arrival and her delivery of the sinful object out of my school. She arrived minutes later in a tizzy, probably concerned that I had gotten my first period on the one day when I wore my horrid white denim jeans to school.

I pushed the beer, concealed in the brown lunchbag, into her hands.

“Just. Get. It. Out. Of. Here. I will discuss this with you later.”

And just as quickly as the beer can came into my life, it was out again. And I could breathe and know that my dynasty as a middle school nerd would continue far, far into the future, or at least until the end of eighth grade.

But let’s be honest: nerds never die.

Link up with us! Here’s how to do it:

1. Write your post. Remember, it can be ANYTHING about alcohol. Interpret the prompt as you will; we love seeing how they can be explored. Just stick with the whole “back in the day” vibe ;D

2. Grab the badge and place it at the bottom of your post.

Remember the Time Blog Hop

3. Add your link below and come back to see all the other great posts your blogging pals have written! Comment on them and tweet and share your favorites using the hashtag #RTTbloghop. The link-up closes at 11:55PM EST next Wednesday, so get your link in before then.


  1. Ha! That’s great!

    1. Thanks. I love this story.

    1. This should totally be an after school special.

  2. I would give anything to see your Mom’s face when she opened the bag and realized she’d backed her daughter a beer! I bet she fell over laughing :) Did she ever tell you how she reacted?

    1. Oh yes! She was mortified initially but eventually laughed it off. I need to get her to write her take on this story. It would offer a good counterpoint. Thanks for reading, Meg!

  3. I can’t believe she put a beer in your lunch!! OMG that’s hysterical. Being a mom though, I can totally see how that would happen. Luckily we have a separate beer drawer. lol I’m all over this prompt today. ha ha

    1. Now that I’m a mom, I can totally see it happening too. I probably shouldn’t be sharing this online, but my daughter was thisclose to getting a sip of my wine the other day. She kept calling it juice o.O

  4. My Muted Voice · · Reply

    Haha! That’s too funny! I want to know what she said about it later!

    1. I need to get her to write a follow-up post with her side of the story!

  5. I have to know the end of the story!! How did it happen???

    1. You are not the only one! Working on getting my mom to write a post with her side of the story. With enough pressure, I think I can get her to do it ;D

      1. Oh my gosh. That would be awesome.

  6. You should have just been open about it. “Yeah, I’m having a beer. That’s what all the cool kids do. Deal with it.” I really wish you had included video of that “Total Eclipse” pantomime.

    1. I wish I had a copy of it. I also really wish I was joking when I said that there were anti-drug Total Eclipse pantomimes, but sadly, I am dead serious.

  7. oh my god, this is amazing. how can anyone even top it??

    1. Hmmm, maybe if they have a story of a time their dad mistakenly put porn in their backpack. I can’t believe my mind just went there.

  8. This is a much better go-to story than mine—dating my substitute teacher! Hilarious!

    1. I beg to differ! I need to hear this story!

  9. Hahaha, very funny! This made me giggle. :)

    1. Yay! Glad you liked it! Thanks for reading!

  10. Kitty Swing · · Reply

    Whoa – I just now learned of this awesome blog hop!! I’m excited to join in, on occasion. And MAN, what a story! Definitely laughing.

    1. Yay! We’d love to have you join RTT any time!

  11. Ahhhh! This is a wonderful, heart-warming story. If I weren’t protective of our limited beer, I’d sneak one into P & V’s lunch tomorrow :)

    1. I thought you’d like this one. ;D

  12. DrHemsleberryMD · · Reply

    Great and amusing post! Glad I found this blog hop too, thought I’d give it a go!

  13. That is hilarious! I thought you were going to say that you swallowed the beer in one giant gulp, only realizing afterwards that it wasn’t diet cola, and you gave a now-legendary slurry presentation in Speech class. I like your Mom-to-the-rescue twist!!

    1. Sadly, I didn’t discover that drinking a little before presentations makes for more entertaining reports until I was in college. Maybe that’s a good thing ;D Thanks for reading!

  14. Whoever was expecting that beer but got a foil-wrapped diet Coke instead must have been equally horrified after tasting that first sip.

    1. SERIOUSLY. My poor dad. He was not a fan of the diet cola, and I can’t blame him.

  15. I agree, this story can’t be topped.
    Worthless to even try.

    1. I bred so I could top it. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, WORLD!

      1. Sooo…meth in her backpack?

        1. Based on our previous discussions of meth, that is highly probable.

  16. Ha! Did your mom admit her culpability in this sordid affair?

    You could have dropped the beer off at the lunch table I sat at (until I wised up and spent lunch period “working” at the English office). We’d have made it go away.
    Of course, we then would have checked in wit you daily for the rest of our high school career to see if you had more…

    Honestly, I have no idea how to pick just one story for a topic like “remember the time about alcohol”.
    (And not because the stories were so good I can’t remember them, either.)

    1. My mom totally remembers this and was mortified at first but then eventually laughed it off. I need to get her to make her blogging debut to tell her own story of what happened!

      Guap, the world needs your drinking tales. I feel like you kind of have a moral obligation to tell them. No pressure or anything.

      1. Ha! I’ll see what I can do.
        But I may need bail money for some of them. Not sure what the statute of limitations is on stupidity…

  17. Bahahaha… she did it on purpose. Or at least, I hope she did. Tempted to try this in a few years, but afraid that instead I’ll just get a call from the front office to “come pick up your daughter. She’s … ummm… out of sorts…”

    1. It certainly is a good way to test your kid to see if all your hard work to raise them right paid off!

  18. This is so, so awesome. Truly. Especially the spy-like phone convo!

    Hmm… trying to think of alcohol stories that were fun, and not tragically hopeless in my case…

    1. I have a few of those too. Maybe for another week.

  19. Sincerely dying to know what happened next. I’m imagining your mom laughing hysterically when she realized what she’d done. (That’s what I would have done, anyway!)

    1. You are not the only one! I am working on getting my mom to write a post that puts forth her side of the story. I am nothing if not fair ;D

  20. Cough up! What was her reaction? I think I know what mine would have been. Best story ever!

    1. She was pretty mortified but has since learned to laugh at the whole situation. And can you blame her? On both counts?

  21. Oh man!!! That’s hilarious! I bet your mother was mortified, although she probably found it funnier than you did!

    1. Haha! Thanks, Daile! A little bit of both ;D

  22. I thought only my elementary school did the whole Total Eclipse song and drama number. I still can’t hear that song without thinking if the dance. One thing about being transferred to SBA in 7th grade was my dreams of being in that act was crushed.

    1. Et voila! We went to the same school and never even knew it! :D

  23. That is hilarious.. although you have to consider that moms have a pretty high success rate at making sure no reputation-ruining items make it into the lunch tray. Sadly, 12 year old me would have been overjoyed at this mistake and I probably would have just ended up in Juvy, like you feared.

    1. I think that’s what makes this story so epic in our family: my mom made very, very few visible mistakes and only recently got into her first auto accident ever. It kind of made us all realize that she wasn’t perfect and that we loved her even more for it.

  24. Best freakin’ story ever! I think we need to just end RTT right here and now. No story could ever top this.

    1. …..says the lady who wrote a post about Chuck E. Cheese hitting on her. Compliment accepted ;D

      1. You just made me laugh.

  25. […] Thanks to Matticus for giving me something to fun to write this week! And for all my Remember the Time Blog Hoppers, I’m taking a break this week, but will be back next Thursday. However, Emily has a hilarious post for you over at her blog. […]

  26. Oh, I love this story! At least you did the RIGHT thing and called Mom to take it away…instead of trying to sell it on the school black market or sneak it into a teacher’s desk drawer or something. Or hide in a stall in the girls’ room and consume it. I bet you were upstanding even in utero!

    1. I *was* a pretty conscientious fetus. My parents hurried to get to the hospital for me to be born, and I emerged only about 20 minutes after my mom checked in. I could have made my debut in their Volvo but I held back. I’m kind like that.

      1. I always knew you had class, Mrs. Em! And evidently, in a hurry from the get-go! :D

  27. Great post! I think I can out-nerd you though. When I was 11 or 12, I found 50 cents in the library and I handed it in to the librarian!

    1. WOWZA. I’m not going to argue with that. We definitely would have been friends back then.

      1. Haha, my friends were like, “just keep it” but I made a big show of how important honesty is, as if the librarian would make a sign up asking if anyone lost some money or something like that and I would be a hero!

  28. […] Chick posted a beautiful ode to her father.The Waiting had a hilarious grade school run-in with beer (though she handled it completely differently than I would have). And Kina Diaz wrote a fantastic […]

  29. The best thing I’ve read so far. Great story.

    1. Thank you, Sean! Glad I could give you a chuckle :D

      1. For sure. From what I’ve read so far, everything is making me laugh. Lovely stuff.

  30. Two things: 1) This story is hilarious, and 2) Have you seen Girls? Your photo could be a young Hannah Horvath (and I mean no disrespect by comparing your seventh-grade self to what, I imagine, a fictional character might have looked like in her tween years).

    1. Thanks, Becky! I am the last person on the planet who has not seen Girls. I’ve seen Tiny Furniture but I’m still waiting for Girls to come to Netflix.

      1. No, I am the last person…

  31. Uh oh, time to post one I’ve had in my draft folder for quite some time. Get ready for a bad memory. :)

    And I wish my mom packed beer! All I ever got was school soy burgers and they would not give a buzz, (despite the chemicals in the preservatives).

  32. This. Is. Brilliant! I am almost tempted to do this to my DARE king, youngest, for his final day of high school… trust me; he would be equally mortified! I am truly laughing. O.L. :-D

  33. I attended a public school in the early-90s and if you think the slaw they schlepp out to the kiddies now is bad, just remember how foul it used to be.

    Trust me, it gets worse the more decades you go back. Cimmorene and I can still remember the horrid stuff that passed as pizza, from what we could remember of the ’70s and ’80s– chewy-hard bread with disgusting hamburger and rubbery cheese.

  34. I want to know if you still remember the “Rythym Nation” dance…. This. Hilarious. I want to do the Blog Hop this week, but 1. I’m a slacker and always late to the RTT party and 2. I am scared to share any of my hooch imbibing stories for fear that the next Blog Hop will be in the form of an intervention… if I can come up with one that doesn’t make me look like a total lush I’ll join in!

  35. […] If I remember correctly, I started following The Waiting not too long after starting this blog of mine. I always thought her “Remember the Time Blog Hop” with her conspirators was pretty clever, but while my schedule was so obsessive there wasn’t an opportunity for me to be all that compulsive. Now that I’m doing Miscellaneous Mondays, I decided it was time for me to participate. The current topic: Alcohol. […]

  36. Wow. Amazing story. My favourite bit, aside from the phone call, was the reference to the white jeans. Epic.

  37. So funny! I think I would have been horrified if that had happened to me and totally would have thought they could peg me by my fingerprints, too. The other thing that stood out to me was… the National Pride Conference was in Indy? Too funny! Did you make the trip? These days Indy is known for a HUGE GenCon conference and the FFA convention, which always cause traffic delays downtown. I can just imagine the streets being stifled by girls showing off their “Total Eclipse” routines!

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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