Food Allergy 101: Avoiding the status quo


What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance...

I walk into the coffee shop to see Mr. A., my allergy. It’s been a while since we sat and talked.

“JJ, I”m over here,” he yells and waves when I enter.

I approach his table. He is sitting with someone.

“This is my good friend, Status Quo,” he says to me. “We’ve been friends a long, long time.”

Mr. A pulls out a seat. “Won’t you join us.”

I look at Status Quo. His familiar, smug look tells me all I need to know.

I remain standing.

“Actually, I”m a little busy,” I say matter of factly. “We just started a new food allergy awareness campaign, and I’m certain you’re not to go like it.”

Taken aback, Status Quo looks at me with a shocked expression.

“Don’t bother saying anything,” I tell him. “I know what you’re about to say because I’ve heard it many times before.”

He begins talking anyway. I smile, nod, and confidently walk away.

JJ Vulopas is a senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @thelandofcan.