A note written on a napkin and placed in Alex Payne’s lunchbox, November 15, 1993

Don't sit too close to any children eating the cafeteria food.

Don’t sit too close to any children eating the cafeteria food.

Alex—

Mommy loves you! Don’t forget to be nice to all the other children, even Betsy though she might be mentally challenged. Don’t tell anyone I said that. That’s just a fear Betsy’s mommy confided in me. Pay attention to your teachers. Well, pay attention to your head teacher Mrs. Hickey. She actually knows what she’s talking about. I heard your assistant teacher Stacy telling Brian that a potato is a vegetable. And it isn’t. It’s a starch. Lastly, do not fall asleep during naptime. I want you up late tonight so you’ll sleep in late on Saturday. If anyone gives you shit about it, just tell them they shouldn’t give you chocolate milk right before naptime if they actually want you to sleep.

Have a wonderful day! ❤

Love,

Mommy

p.s. If you bring home a single uneaten baby carrot you’re not getting any new Hot Wheels for a month.

Analysis:

As long as there have been letters, there have been mothers putting notes in their children’s school lunches. The earliest notes can be found on cuneiform tablets, mostly concerning studying hard, not forgetting to hand in permission slips, and news of chariot victories over the Egyptians. Perhaps the most famous such note was from the mother of one Geritus, a Spartan soldier:

Dear son,

I hope the warring is going well. Make sure to say hi to General Leonidis for me. He seemed like a nice fellow at the Parent-Warrior conference. Remember, whatever happens, I’m very proud of you. And of course, come home victorious, dead, or don’t come home at all.

Love, Your Mama

P.S. I included an extra juice box. It’s apple!

Some youngsters never grew out of this charming tradition. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s mother still puts a note in the bag with his cucumber sandwiches and thermos filled with Indian tea. During the London riots, the following note was obtained by Wikileaks:

Davy- I hope you get to beat some of those smelly wankers with a stick today. Make sure to button up you coat, and hold a firm grasp on your rod while you smash those poor kids. It will be like Eton, remember? Love, Mummy

In this case, however, Mrs. Payne made a tactical error. Her son, being in preschool, was still at least a year from learning how to read. When he handed the note to his assistant teacher Stacy, she went very quiet. The girl disappeared a week later and was later arrested on stalking charges. According to the charges, she mailed a potato a day to the Paynes, each one dressed as a different threatening character or person. Said Mrs. Payne, “Of course we were scared. On the other hand, I’ve never seen such an accurate potato figure of Josef Mengele.”

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