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MARTHA SEZ: Nowadays it’s all just a procedure

September 17, 2011
MARTHA ALLEN
“I’m surprised you even got in the door with that,” said Lana, the cafeteria director at the school where I work, eyeing with obvious distaste the giant jug of greenish Gatorade I was carrying.

Lana is not sold on Gatorade. She does not believe it to be a healthful beverage.

The school, which has a student body of fewer than 200 students, K through 12,  has established a sensible nutrition policy. School employees are asked not to flaunt such PepsiCo products as Doritos, cola and Gatorade in front of the children, or to eat Hostess Snack Cakes or smoke cigarettes in the building. Not that Twinkies are the same as tobacco, but still.

“I’m not drinking it because I like it,” I answered, eyeing the Gatorade jug with as much distaste as Lila could possibly have mustered. “I’m on doctor’s orders. I have to fast and swig down gallons of this stuff today, because tomorrow I’m having a — procedure.”

As long as you are deriving no pleasure from what you are doing, No matter how bad it is, you are less blamable than someone doing exactly the same thing and having fun with it. This rule holds true in many situations.

“Oh no!” Lana’s huge blue eyes widened to an impossible degree. “A — procedure?”

“Yes.”

Have you noticed that anything that is done to you in a medical facility is called a procedure? We used to say operation, or exploratory surgery, or tonsillectomy or something. Now everything is a — procedure.

“Oh well,” said Dora, a teacher who was coming in for a drink from the new water cooler. “One good thing about fasting is it cleans you out. And it helped me kick-start my diet.”

Ruefully, I prodded my belly.

“I know,” I told her, “I was doing my core exercises and flattening my stomach, and getting rid of belly fat, which we all know is the cause of most major diseases in the world today ...”

“Not elephantiasis,” interrupted Jedidiah, a sixth grader who was hanging around the water cooler. “Not malaria. Not ebola.”

“And anyway,” I went on, “over the summer I gradually went off my diet and all of a sudden this Labor Day I woke up and there was this fat roll!”

“When was your stomach flat?” Jedidiah asked with what sounded like sincere interest. “No really, when? I never noticed that your stomach was so flat. Were you working out? Were you—”

“Jedidiah, do you have a hall pass?” broke in Mr. Halpurn, the math teacher, who had wandered in. Jedidiah ran off.

“I quit drinking beer when I went on a low-carb diet a couple of years ago. Then, last summer, I thought how great a beer would taste on a hot afternoon. So every afternoon  I drank a beer. One cold beer. And I gained weight,” I told Dora.

“But surely that would have been gradual,” Dora said.

“Yes, it must have been building up all summer, but it wasn’t noticeable until it reached its tipping point,” I theorized. All of a sudden there was one fat cell too many, and all hell broke loose and a roll of fat manifested itself. It’s like Malcolm Gladwell said in “The Tipping Point.”

“Well, I don’t see how it’s any of this Malcolm Gladwell’s business how fat you get, whoever he is,” put in a sophomore named Thomasina, filling a plastic glass with cold water. The cooler gurgled.

“Malcolm Gladwell is a scientist,” corrected Mr. Halpurn.

“Whatever,” Thomasina said.

“The tipping point concept has more to do with social trends and the spread of ideas than with tangible things like fat cells,” he pointed out.

“One can extrapolate,” I said, eyeing him with distaste.

Getting back to the Gatorade, Lana asked me to read the back of the bottle. “Just look at the ingredients. Why the doctors would prescribe it...”

“Even in pet food,” I said, finding a way to drag in one of my favorite recent topics, “the big companies are tricking everybody. Cat food is mainly byproducts from processing human food. Manufacturers say their cat food contains taurine, which cats must have or go blind. It turns out taurine is an amino acid found in meat, including chicken ad fish, and in eggs and dairy products. Beef and mice are high in taurine. Manufacturers must supplement their petfood with taurine because it contains so little protein.”

Then everyone except me went to get a snack.

Have a good week.



 
 

 

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