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Monday, February 23, 2009

Eat or Die

I am what you would call an eater. I eat things. I eat bite-sized plants and animals whole. I cut larger plants and animals into smaller, more manageable parts before eating. I eat cute little animals, and I eat ugly fruits and vegetables, and vice versa. If humans have been known ever to have eaten something, I will eat it. I will eat things which no man has eaten before. Raw, blanched, blended, steamed, boiled, stir-fried, poached, scrambled, stewed, simmered, tossed, frozen, thawed, and Buffalo-style are just a few of the ways I will devour a plant or animal. Sometimes I will mix two or three of these techniques together to stuff my face. Variety is the spice of life, as they say. Variety is good but this soup needs more salt. Spice is also the spice of life.

If you don't eat you will die. Try not eating. You will die. Life will throw out your scrawny carcass when you starve to death but death will eat you right up, bones and all. Death has an incredible appetite. I don't want to die so I eat. Death is often only a bagel with cream cheese away from where I am sitting in this coffee shop. Death circles like a vulture…waiting…waiting for me to miss a meal, waiting for me to screw up and starve to death. Death is patient. Death asks to borrow my newspaper. Death reads the box scores. Death sees that my team is in last place. Death smells death and leaves me to finish my bagel. Death instead goes to circle the clubhouse. I sigh with relief but cut it short because I remember that sighing with your mouth full of food is impolite. A near-death experience is no reason to lose your manners.

Death is relentless and so I eat relentlessly. Death never sleeps. It is difficult to eat while you sleep which is why people die in their sleep. My solution is to dream about eating. I'm not dead yet so maybe I'm on to something. Death does not play fair; nod off for a second and death will be all over you like a sweaty undershirt. I nap with a ham sandwich in my hand, an over-sized bag of generic cheese doodles resting on my stomach, a cooking show glowing in front of me. You can't be too careful. Actually you can be too careful, like the time I tried to go to sleep using a chicken drumstick as a pacifier. I woke up choking and had to give myself the Heimlich maneuver by throwing myself against the pizza delivery boy who just happened to be at the door. $10.50 for two sausage and pepperoni pizzas. I gave him $15 and told him to keep the change for knocking the wind out of him.

They say that eating too much can kill you. Lord knows I have tried to kill myself by eating too much, but so far all I have to show for my trouble are a few pairs of pants I can't wear any more. I keep them hanging in the closet just in case, just in case I lose a few pounds. You never know when a cholera epidemic will break out. When it does at least I'll have something nice to wear. Not eating will kill you faster than eating too much. Besides, while you are killing yourself by eating too much you can watch TV. There are worse ways to go—unless you don't have cable in which case I would rather be eaten by sharks.

Sharks gotta eat too. And what about worms? If we don't die what are they supposed to eat? We are trapped in a seriously vicious circle. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. I am hungry all the time so I guess you could say that everything makes me hungry. Go ahead and laugh but I would suggest that my survival instinct is just stronger than yours. About the only thing that doesn't make me hungry is eating. Eating keeps my mind off hunger. At least it does unless I am planning another meal as I eat. Thinking about bacon makes me hungry, even if I'm eating a cheeseburger.

They say that you should never shop when you are hungry but my grocery store has a strict “no outside food” policy. They have also forbidden me to try the free samples of food products they are promoting. They say that I didn't respect the “one sample per customer” rule on the free stuff. They told me not to bother wearing disguises to get free samples. I can't believe they saw through my one-armed Mexican revolutionary costume and the pregnant nun get up. Now I get my groceries delivered. I make my order during lunch. I ask if the delivery person can stop by the Chinese carry-out joint on the way over. I need a little something to tide me over until dinner.