High School Pizza Rolls Fire: Folk Legend

Folk Story:

“My school had a little store, it was called the ‘milk n mart’. It was a snack stand, you could order real food there, but they also had snack foods and frozen foods. So one time apparently, before I attended the school, a boy purchased pizza rolls and warmed them up in the microwave but instead of reading the instructions, he just put them in the microwave for 10 minutes which started a fire and everyone had to evacuate. I’d say it’s folklore cause nobody I knew actually saw this, everyone just knew about it.”


This happened at a private, Jewish high school in LA.


The informant is 20 and went to this private Jewish high school in LA.

My Analysis:

I think high school is a notorious time and place for people to learn hard lessons in stupid ways. This story epitomizes the high school experience because this legendary student made one stupid mistake that could have been fatal for the entire school. In high school, most of your decisions feel that momentous – who you take to prom, whether or not your parents let you go to that party, etc. The fact that the student in the story was microwaving pizza rolls really hammers down that point because pizza rolls are maybe the saddest lunch to microwave. They are bad, but also quintessentially high school. For example, the totino’s pizza rolls commercials are marketed explicitly to teenage boys.

For example, “Totino’s Pepperoni Pizza Rolls TV Commercial, ‘Awesome Mustache’.” ISpot.tv, 17 Oct. 2014, www.ispot.tv/ad/7yVz/totinos-pepperoni-pizza-rolls-awesome-mustache.,  depicts a late middle school/early high school aged boy lusting after an adult man’s mustache. The commercial promises the boy a mustache, the symbol of manhood in the commercial, if he purchases totino’s pizza rolls. In the folk story my informant shared, the boy’s inability to microwave his pizza rolls could be extrapolated to mean he is unable to be a real man or real adult. He does not belong in the school because he is still a child. While I doubt the children that shared this story were cognizant of this subtext, everyone of this age group grew up with these commercials, so I believe it resided in their subconscious.