Yard Waste

I burned my tongue on some hot soup two days ago, and it still hurts. Worst part, the soup was not even that good. It was a bad attempt at a corn stew. The corn was under cooked and the choice of vegetables in the stew were bland.

I chose soup for lunch because I thought it would be better than the usual garbage I eat day in and day out. I have put on 20 lbs. since the holidays and, well, it hurts. It hurts going up a flight of stairs, it hurts to bend over, and my jeans… they are tormenting me, due to the strangle hold they have.

I go through ‘refuse food’ cycles. By refuse food, I mean processed sugar and fat concoctions that have gradually made me a slothful sluggish buffoon. I have a happy fat roll around my belly that is content to sit there and demand things. Along with the fat roll are the ‘moobs’. The man boobs that just cannot be hidden. When I was a teenager, I was attracted to girls who had less than I have now.

I know what is bad for me. I think we all do.

Just this morning as affirmation of ‘what is bad’, I watched my dog Dexter. He is a food scavenger who would gladly eat out of our trashcan if I let him. He had just creeped up on a single coco-puff laying on the floor that had somehow ‘magically’ dropped out of my son Jake’s cereal bowl. He sniffed it, then turned his head and walked away. He just left it there, on the floor. This is the same dog who ate poop when he was a puppy.

“Geez,” I thought, “even he knows it’s not food.”

Why the rollercoaster of sweet deliciousness highs and no-carb yard waste lows? (I call any salad that has funny shape lettuce and other clippings ‘yard waste’.) Why do I do it? I know what is bad for me… I know what is good. I feel thick or foggy when I eat the refuse food. Worst, is when I eat healthy. I am always starved… especially when I eat yard waste.

I am not being naïve. I know for ‘healthy living’, I need to stick with the yard waste. Along with the yard waste, is regular exercise (insert here: image of two of spunky seniors laughing and holding hands with rays of sunshine in shades of light blue).

I am okay with exercise. I always feel better after exercise. It is the food. Why oh why can’t healthy food taste sweet… or like bacon? Why can’t it fill your gut like some fresh baked cinnamon rolls (three please)?

Then I remember that one time as a kid in the late 1960’s…

I was shopping with my mom. It was a hot summer day. We were at a dime store. We walked to the check out, and there she was. The most enormous woman I had ever seen working at the register. Thinking about it now, she had to be over 300 lbs. I distinctly remember her. She wore a pink sleeveless shirt. I remember the color of the shirt matching the color of her skin. There was pink everywhere, and so much of it. She was also sweating, as the store didn’t have air-conditioning. Her vast arms and bulbous hands picked up our goods as she entered them into the register. I stared. I had never seen anything like that in my life up to that point. I could not stop staring.

She knew I was staring. She was pleasant with my mom, but looked at me with a disregard. As if to say, take a picture… I can only imagine the stares she received in those days.

As we walked out of the store, I began to say loudly to my mom with the tact of a clueless child, “Mom, that lady was…” and before I could finish, I felt my mom give a little yank upward of my hair on the back of my head. I knew exactly what that meant. “Shoosh your mouth NOW!

Riding unbuckled in the front seat of the car and rubbing the warm sore spot on the back of my head I sat silently thinking. I thought of the paintings outside of the tents I had seen at carnival sideshows. The ‘seal boy’, the ‘two headed man’, the ‘fat lady’! I seriously thought to myself, “It’s her, she’s for real!”

I will not apologize at this point.

I am NOT fat shaming (dear Lord, I hate that phrase). I am telling you the truth. This is how things were. Obesity was so very rare back then, that as a child it made total sense to marvel as such an oddity. Lord only knows what caused that poor woman’s obesity. Back then, a ‘glandular problem’ was always the answer… and probably was.

I remember thinking how I never wanted to end up like her. In my simple mind of a seven year old, what I saw was something I never wanted for myself. I vowed to myself to always be like Batman, to be trim and fit and fight bad guys.

Then there is today.

Again, I am not fat shaming… it’s just that it seems like most everyone is obese now. We as a nation have become the most rotund beings in the history of the world. It has become the norm. XXXL sizes are right there on the clothing racks along with all the other sizes.

Am wrong about this… am I?

The most unhealthy sugary laden foods are readily available everywhere. The golden arches of convenience on almost every corner, worldwide. I am not blaming that particular corporation. Fast food and the processed gas station non-edibles call to us in our dreams.

We are all guilty. We did it to ourselves. We frail humans inject the sweet and fatty goodness like a drug. We are addicts to convenience and a temporary high of a stuffed belly. I am not pointing the finger at anyone, I am speaking from experience.

As I mentioned earlier, I ride the roller-coaster of easy to difficult constantly. Like sweeping the dirt under the rug, I succumb to immediate cravings with no thought of consequences.

Making the choice for yard waste is never a desire, yet I know deep down, that if I want to live to see grandchildren… I have to decide in the present. I know I will never truly like the taste of yard waste, but its rewards are worth the sacrifice of flavor and taste. And if anyone tries to sell me on “But Bill, you need to try this… this type of salad is amazing”, go away… just go away.

Maybe in a few months I will write something about how much weight I lost. Yay. 

– Bill Peterson



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