You gonna eat that?

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Nov. 29, 2006 


I've been watching you for a while now. Studying your behavior. Anticipating your next move. By now, I can read you like the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on the pale-headed brush finch. But I have to be certain of your intentions. Let's end this charade. I'll just be blunt. Are you gonna eat that?

Life is full of disappointment. Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock are getting divorced, and they don't make Dora the Explorer snow boots in my size. But perhaps even more disappointing is seeing perfectly good food go to waste.

I haven't eaten since breakfast and you're letting a smidgen of bagel sandwich, a modicum of pancake or half of your Pad Thai just sit there. All the signs would suggest you're not going to eat that.

First of all, you've stopped eating. You haven't taken a bite in more than 23 minutes. Why must you play this game with me? You're clearly done, but you keep making little movements to imply territorial control over your leftovers.

However, you started doing other things right in front of your food-in-waiting. You balanced your checkbook, called your grandmother and corralled an entire herd of elk into the mountain region while the remains of your fettuccine alfredo waited impatiently on your plate as if you intended to send the last noodles to be with their brothers down in the depths of your digestive system. But we both know you won't. The fate of a family is on your shoulders, but you just went to go watch "Reno 911."

You gain new responsibility when you assume the title of Eater of Food. You can't just neglect that barbeque chicken sandwich because the magic of eating the first half is gone. You can't ignore that dollop of tuna salad while it remains uncertain of its fate. Think of what you're doing to the tuna's self-esteem.

Remember, you signed up for this when you took the first bite. If you can't finish the job, the only ethical thing to do is pass the eating torch onto someone else who won't cop out mid-snackfest.

Don't pretend like you're going to eat it later. That salad of yours has been staying a mighty long time at the Frigidaire Hilton, and I certainly don't expect it to be checking out of the crisper by noon.

Pretending the meal isn't over is only hurting yourself and those around you. I know I've been hard on you. We both said things we didn't mean. I'm sorry. There's only a little bit of shame in admitting you couldn't live up to the food challenge. But you can make it right by letting go of your crazy fantasies of finishing that fruit smoothie.

Don't be coy with me. And don't toy with me. Take a moment to consult with your heart, soul and/or spiritual healer. We both know you're not going to eat that. So hand it over.


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