Okay … unlike my last post, this post is actually a Ramble. I’m sure there’s a difference between an Almanac post and a Ramble post, but much like the difference between Coke® and Pepsi®, the differences are trade secrets (hint: they are mostly about the ratios of sugar, carbonation, caramel coloring, and clever marketing).
Speaking of Cokes®, I have only had about 3 of them since about December 20th.
No, no … hold your applause. I didn’t say that in a cheap bid for your applause (though I won’t say no to a little applause).
Of course, some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal about having 3 Cokes® in the past month?” Well, the big deal is that I have been addicted to them since about the age of 7. For much of my adult life I was drinking three or four 10-ounce cans a day. I had cut way back to about 2 cans a day starting about 5 years ago.
But now I have reached an age when it’s time to give up everything I enjoy so that I can begin a dignified slide into the tar pits of Ye Olde Age (which is just north of La Brea). Giving up Cokes® was tough, but I figure it’s time. Sure they brought me a lot of pleasure. Sure they kept me awake at work when the boredom nearly rendered me unconscious. Sure they were awesome in every way. But life is not about pleasure. Life is not about enjoying ourselves. Life is about eating oat bran and crunchy clusters of what appear to be clumps of sawdust, wood glue, and dryer lint.
I forgot where I was going with that. Giving up Coke® has dulled my brain quite a bit.
I have also given up Peanut M&Ms®. Peanut M&Ms® were my main source of nutrition for the past 3 decades or so. At my peak, I ate, quite literally, one to two one-pound bags a week. I’d eat them all day long at work. I’d eat them as snacks on the weekends. I ate them on long road trips. I calculate that, in my lifetime, I have literally eaten more than 1500 pounds of Peanut M&Ms®. Of course, for much of that time I had the metabolism of Roadrunner being chased by Wile E. Coyote. Now it has slowed down somewhat to that of a sloth on anesthesia.
But one can’t live on Peanut M&Ms® and Coke® forever. It will eventually catch up with you, sucker punch you, and jump up and down on you as you lay in a fetal position on the sidewalk, and then take your lunch money.
I have tried to find a suitable substitute for Peanut M&Ms® at work. I’m here to tell you, there aren’t any. I have tried all sorts of substitutes, none of which brought me any pleasure. I have finally settled on baby carrots, not because I like the taste, but because I like the crunch. The are small and convenient and don’t provoke my gag reflex too much.
Today at work I ate an apple. The first thing I noticed is that, unlike Peanut M&Ms®, which, as you may remember, melt in your mouth and not in your hand, apple gets all over everything. My fingers were wet. Apple juice was running down my forearm. Some dripped into my keyboard. I practically needed a shower after eating it. The taste was not unpleasant, but it was decidedly non-chocolate tasting. I chased it down with some nice, bland water. It went well with the soul-crushing boredom of the spreadsheet I was working on.
I have also given up French fries at lunch. Man, I love Whataburger’s fries! They are like little potato-based crack cocaine sticks of the gods. But, on the list of things that are bad for you, French fries are way up there with fried butter, deep fat fried Snickers bars, and laying down on railroad tracks. So I gave them up. Reluctantly. VERY reluctantly.
So now I sit in my office at work, like a rabbit in his hutch, crunching on carrots and apples and drinking water. I don’t know if I’m getting any healthier or not, but at this point, I’m not sure if I’ll actually live longer, or if it will just SEEM longer.