The other day I was talking with Mah Mayun about David Price, a/k/a the Crazy Lunch Menu Man, or just the Crazy Lunch Guy. He is the man who used to read off the school lunch menu, in an over-the-top fashion, for certain schools. For example, you could call the Charlotte Observer’s information line, punch in a code, and get the school lunch menu information for the City of Charlotte public schools.
Anyways, I was talking with MM about the crazy lunch guy, and as it happens he had never heard of David Price, or the phenomenon that was the Crazy Lunch guy.
So I started searching for a recording or three of the crazy lunch guy reading some of his menus, and I could only find one. One, on the entire Internet! And that one, posted many years ago, was on Soundcloud. It was posted to Soundcloud 5 years ago, to be exact, by the creatively handled “user227375821”.
Knowing as I do that anything posted to the cloud is really just posted to someone else’s computer, and therefore the one extant recording of Dave the Crazy Lunch Menu Man reading a lunch menu could disappear without a trace 💣 just like that, I grabbed the sound file (I’m fairly sure that user227375821 won’t mind), so that it could be preserved here for posterity, and I am posting it at the end of this post.
Not only that, but through the magic of Archive.org I found an old Salon article about the Lunch Menu Man, and through that I found another recording of Price, introducing himself, as, yes, The Lunch Menu Man! I’ve included that as well.
The Salon article, which was published in the summer of 2000, and written by author and McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers, explains that, among other things, Price was then “a 34-year-old former car salesman who for the past year has been reading the Charlotte, North Carolina school lunch menus for a local voice mail system.”
Eggers then pursued an interview with Price and seemed surprised when “he sounds like a normal person,” explaining that “In fact, he seems downright nice — kind and polite and seemingly concerned with keeping kids in school and well-fed. He says he is married and has three young children. But just when I am ready to believe in his normalcy, when I start feeling like the existence of the Lunch Menu Man is a perfectly regular thing, I come to my senses. I was talking to a grown man who reads, like a raving madman, children’s lunch menus — and makes a living doing it. How? Why?”
The article then goes into Price’s background, and how he came to end up as the crazy lunch guy. Eggers explains that, once getting the lunch menu job, “With no prior experience as a professional lunatic, he simply began reading the standard menu as if he were in the deepest depths of delusional DT’s.”
You can read Eggers’ original Salon article here at Archive.org.
By the way, David Price wrote a book called Out to Lunch: The Lunch Menu Man’s Guide to School Lunch, which Amazon says is a “collection of wacky jokes, song parodies, and short stories about lunch includes tidbits on such celebrity foods as “Okra” Winfrey and “Johnny-Cake” Depp, as well as the scoop on the First Annual Grammy-cracker Awards.” You can still get copies of the Lunch Menu Man’s book on Amazon here.
Here’s the audio.
David Price introducing himself as the Lunch Menu Man
Audio of the Crazy Lunch Menu Man reading 3 different lunch menus