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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Selling My Soul-a for Granola

It’s bad enough when my eating habits conflict with my health — but I can deal with that. Sometimes, a steaming plate of really good Buffalo wings is worth a few months off your lifespan. What would I do in my eighties, anyway? Sit around gumming my dentures and wishing I’d just once enjoyed the simple pleasure of a tabasco-drenched chicken knee?

Right. Bleu cheese me, hotshot. And have a pack of WetNaps on standby. If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here elbow-deep in hot sauce and bird gams.

“If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here elbow-deep in hot sauce and bird gams.”

It’s also no picnic when culinary considerations interfere with my daily schedule. But again, I cope with it. If I get hungry when I’m supposed to be working, I’ll take a snack break. Hunger pangs in the middle of the night? Then it’s midnight fridge raiding time. I can always sleep at the office tomorrow. Uncomfy tummy rumbles signaling that new food should go in, or that old food may be on the way out? Well, you’ve got to hedge your bets. So I prepare for both eventualities.

Oh, don’t give me that look. Like you’ve never sat on the can with a three-bean salad or a microwave burrito before. That’s ‘circle of life’ stuff right there, folks. You’re very nearly cutting out the middle man. Which in this case turns out to be you.

These middling annoyances pale in comparison, however, to my recent (and repeated) food peeve: when my diet of choice actually conflicts with my outlook on life. It’s not an easy task to accomplish. But I’ve done it — and do it again, just about every Thursday afternoon. Here’s the thing:

Most Thursday evenings, I play volleyball in a league near my house. Some weeks, I even manage to avoid grave injury, but it’s always a little touch-and-go on that front. At my age — and what with the largely sedentary job and those hot wings and bathroom burritos and all — I’m not quite the indestructible physical specimen I used to be. And I’m getting fatter, slower and older every day. Clearly, I need to do all I can to preserve this washtub stomach and buns of styrofoam for as long as possible.

So I do what I can to reverse the feebling process. Enter the ‘health food’.

I’m not sure it’s actually health food, mind you, in the sense of being, you know, ‘healthy’. But it’s the sort of stuff that I’m led to believe that people eat while working out, and if you can’t believe mass marketing campaigns, then who can you trust, really?

No. Don’t answer that. Let’s just say I’m a little lazy when it comes to figuring out which essential mineral thingies and vitaminarial supplements best fit my lifestyle, so I buy the crap on the shelf closest to me and hope it keeps me from horking a knee or having a coronary out there. Gatorade for hydration. One-A-Day vitamins, and Vitamin Water, just in case. And, because there’s a little shelf of them in the front of the convenience store, Odwalla energy bars. It’s the last ones that are causing me all the trouble.

Not because they taste nasty, or have the consistency of nut-encrusted Silly Putty. They do, and they have, mostly, but that’s not really the issue. Healthy food — or even ‘healthy’ food, in this case — is supposed to taste like sawdust and dog breath. That’s just how it is.

Instead, my problem with these bars is with the wrapper. Specifically, a little note printed on the side, which I forget about every time I go out and buy one, and which reads:

“Today many ingredients do not yet exist in bioengineered varieties. Nevertheless, Odwalla is committed to only using ingredients that are no produced using biotechnology.”

Now, I have a degree in biochemistry. I’ve worked at a pharmaceutical company. Most every job I’ve ever had has, in some way or another, involved biotechnology.

So screw those people, frankly.

Sure, I know they’re trying to be ‘earth friendly’ and ‘health conscious’ and all of that, and that’s great. But when it comes to fiddling around with food genetics, I’m all for it. You want to engineer a juicier seedless orange? Sign me up. Cows that produce strawberry milk? Just show me which udder to squeeze. Turkeys with fourteen legs and gizzards that taste like Kobe beef? Put it on my plate and hand me a chickensteak knife. Assuming you can catch the little freak, of course.

It’s all about efficiency here. They can throw all-natural free range hydroponic organic granola in these bars, and that would be good. But tinker some extra antioxidants and nutrients into it, throw in a flu vaccine gene and shoot it full of fluoride and goat hormones, and that would be better. Who doesn’t want a tasty flu shot and healthy teeth and goat hormones? Hippies, that’s who. But not me.

So every week, I buy one of these bars to take to the gym. And every week, I eat it, and then read the wrapper. Then I give a little snort and say to no one in particular, ‘Well. I’m never buying this thing again.

And a week later, there I am at the store, thinking, ‘Ooh, this carob-covered drywall bar looks tasty. Let’s buy that!

Sometimes, I’m just too stupid for my own good.

I think I’ll switch over to Nature Valley from now on. I’ve looked at their wrappers, and they don’t say anything about being against biotech or genetic modification. I’ll bet they’ve got some super goat hormone bars I could take to the gym. I can even pick up some strawberry milk to drink with them. Straight from the heifer. The way Mother Nature intended. (Probably.)

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “Selling My Soul-a for Granola”

  1. kerry says:

    just no complaining when you end up looking like this.

  2. quirkyloon says:

    Dang funny and SMART too.

    You had me snorting at sitting on the can with the microwave burrito!

    I can honestly say, I’ve never done that, but gotta admit…it sounds…tempting!

    Good luck staying away from those awful UN-bio-engineered energy bars!

  3. Charlie says:

    Kerry: That’s what happens when you eat GMO food?

    Crap! I’m, like, halfway there already! Oh noes!

    Quirky: Aw, thanks!

    But really, I said I had a degree in biochemistry. I never said whose desk drawer I stole it from.

    I just hope that this ‘Francis Crick’ guy never comes around looking for it. Whoever that is.

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