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LENGTH: 2:38

FLAVOR: realpolitik

The teachers tried to warn us. Fighting is bullying—and bullying is wrong. That's very strict school policy. Offenders will be prosecuted. They threaten to call our parents. "Don't fight back," they'd say. "Just shake it off. Report to the nearest faculty." Detentions will be served!

     But ideals over the intercom hardly level with realities in the cafeteria—

     What happens, when the bully lodges himself at your lunch-table, by your locker, in the bathroom—extorting money for safety of passage? Then with that money stuffed in his pocket, makes a very public announcement during detention about how sorry he really is, everybody, before riding the bus home and locking himself in his room with his headphones on, ordering the last of his bomb-making ingredients off Amazon while the phone goes off intermittently downstairs (from the school, no doubt) unheard by him and unanswered by his negligent parents?

     I started making protein shakes.

     Strength, after all, is not in using or having, but being. And it is unrealistic to presume friendship in the cafeteria. We children are not allies, but competitors. There are only 67 burger patties on a given Wednesday. Some of us will have our $2.50 by the time we reach the line. Others will not.

     Rambo's poster hangs along my wall. Rambo, by the way, stands for peace—peace, love, liberty, justice, and the American way. Just like the Founding Fathers. I've got my lunch-table to protect. So I need to chug down my protein-shake, right now.

     My diet at home, by far, will be my biggest challenge. I blame my parents. My parents, and their frequent buyer's discount at Costco's—Juan's Taquitos, the mythical 55-pack, at $5.95. Can you believe it? Not that I have anything against Juan. I have no intolerance towards Mexican food. Just, right now—I need to focus on myself. I need to make healthier, greener choices to protect my right, and the rights of my fellow students, to unhealthy choices later on in life.

     Some of them, they like to take advantage of all the liberal IVs the school has to offer—hiding out in the nurse's office, pretending to have a tummy ache, drinking the nurses' hot chocolates, paid for by our parents' tax money. But theirs is no longer a choice of habit—it is a lifestyle of fear. Mine will be based on love. And to love properly, one must develop oneself completely so as to give more generously, and more confidently—like Rambo.

     I blame Costco's. They are like the negligent parents.

     I've started working out. Hitting the weights, drinking my protein shakes. Take cold showers, inure my body to intolerable conditions. Anything to defend my life, liberty, and Jeffersonian ideals of burgers and cheesesteaks in the school cafeteria, and the same by others to their own—from skinny, hungry Chinese bullies. That's the American way.