The vending machines in The Herald's break room have the usual assortment of products you are not supposed to but absolutely must eat around 2 o'clock in the afternoon every day.
You know what I mean: chips, fried pork skins, miniature pies, beef jerky, cream-filled cookies, six or seven kinds of candy bars, various cheese-flavored crunchy things, buttered popcorn, honey buns, peanut butter crackers and hard candy.
The machines aren't entirely a cardiologist's nightmare. They also have animal crackers, trail mix, baked potato chips and pretzels for dieters who need a fix. But, by and large, our vending machines don't dispense food you would get at a spa.
However, we're mostly grown-ups here. We're entitled to live recklessly if we choose, and, trust me, you won't hear many journalists declaring: "My body is a temple."
But this is a private company. It isn't a school, where young minds are molded and students are taught the basics of good nutrition -- and where students also can walk down the hall and feed quarters into vending machines full of unhealthy food.
That's not likely to change anytime soon in South Carolina. Last week, despite support from nutritionists, farmers and educators, a bill that would have banned sugar-laden sodas and fatty snacks from school vending machines was shot down by state lawmakers. The bill also would have required healthier food in school cafeterias.
Specifically, only water, milk, certain fruit juices and sports drinks would have been allowed in vending machines in middle and high schools. Snacks were to be limited to granola bars, nuts and a few other nutritious treats.
Alas, our lawmakers were loath to deny students their midafternoon Coke-and-Snickers Bar break if they needed it. Kids have to eat! You don't want them wasting away to skeletons, do you?
Another roadblock to more nutritious snacks is the fact that many schools have become dependent on vending machine revenues to help pay for sundries such as field trips, band uniforms, sports equipment and proms.
This wasn't always the case. I know from personal experience.
None of the schools I attended had vending machines of any kind. If we got thirsty, there were drinking fountains. If we ate, we ate in the cafeteria.
The cafeteria food was largely wretched -- except for the sloppy joes -- but everyone expected the cafeteria food to be bad. The cafeteria offered a choice of two drinks: milk or chocolate milk, served in small cartons.
Many of us soon wised up and brought lunches from home. I would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for months and then get a craving for deviled ham and dill pickle sandwiches, which I would eat for months before switching back to peanut butter and jelly again.
My mom made my lunches at night. She usually would include some potato chips and a cookie. On April Fool's Day, she would put cardboard in my sandwiches.
Life was good. We never even entertained the idea that we should be able to buy pizza or French fries in the cafeteria. We might buy a soda to drink while we walked home from school, but that was something that occurred off school grounds.
We understood the proper order of things: Schools were meant to be more like prisons than restaurants.
I realize there is a certain pointlessness to stripping school vending machines of anything students might actually want to eat. After all, they can bring sodas, candy and chips from home, and the schools don't benefit from vending machine sales.
But it strikes me as something of a devil's bargain to sell kids unhealthy snacks so schools can afford to buy them band uniforms. This just reinforces the habits that give them pot bellies, heart attacks and diabetes down the road.
Let them eat peanut butter sandwiches!
And I'll leave it at that. It's about 2 o'clock, and I have a sudden urge to bite the legs off an animal cracker.