Eureka! Two Birds, One Stone

On my ride home from work last week, I might have been contemplating a low-gluten diet for better absorption of nutrients, or I may have been feeling a little smug about my recent efforts to kick off the Meatless Monday movement in my town. Either way, I was completely blindsided by the view around one corner.

Ahead of me were two kids on bikes.

My first reaction was to smile and wave at fellow bikers, subtly encouraging their enjoyment with adult approval.

My second reaction was to recoil in horror.

The girl out front was morbidly obese at about 9 years old. She was holding onto one side of her handlebars with both hands, but not to do crazy kid tricks like standing on the seat or riding backward or even going no-hands. No, she was struggling to simultaneously pedal and scrape the remnants of orange-colored processed cheese food out of a little plastic tray. Riding behind was her brother, not quite as large but clearly headed that way, who waved back at me with his free hand because it was easier for him to hold his bag of chips against his handlebars while riding.

What a wake-up call.

I’ve had way too much time on my hands in the past year, and have spent a shameful portion of it feeding my interest in fitness and nutrition. Why is it shameful? Because I’m not a Tour de France-level athlete. Reducing gluten for optimal nutrition absorption is not going to make a big impact on my life. Nor will most of the info I’ve consumed about the pros and cons of supplements for joints, the acclaim, then doubts cast on antioxidants, marathon training regimens, the struggle over the definition of organics, and whether my seafood choices are morally defensible and environmentally sustainable.

It’s all just mental bubblegum when faced with the obvious: many people aren’t getting basic info on nutrition and health/longevity. Otherwise, how could someone who loves and cares for these kids set them up with a lifetime supply of crap food that would make them obese?

The scene triggered a new round of self-examination and soul searching. Why continue to flog away at efforts to re-enter a dying industry (print journalism) when its impact on society is waning every day (e.g., the Globe editorials that didn’t make a dent in Scott Brown’s total votes), why not throw my weight into an effort that could make a real impact on the future?

After much thought, I’ve discovered my true calling:

my true calling, hairnet and all

Yes, I now aspire to be a lunch lady. What better person to impact future generations, and get summers off to boot??

In case you’re the only one who hasn’t heard, I’m a mean mom who makes kids eat their veggies. I have a gift for irritating them into compliance by endlessly lecturing about the benefits of lentils (they’re legumes, you know), the devastation of rainforests so we can eat more flavorless McDonald’s hamburgers, and the importance of a clean colon. Unfortunately, my own children are growing and finding ways to be absent from vegetable soup night at home, so I have an excess of time and energy to devote to helping others.

At a minimum, I’d happily dispense scoops of creamed spinach with such a gut-churning <<splat>> that at least some of the kids would be inspired to skip lunch completely, avoiding all of the government surplus cheese their school cafeterias churn out, and saving those trans-fat laden calories for later.

If that doesn’t work, I’d make a great gym teacher …

comfy outfits, summers off... what's not to love?

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2 Responses to “Eureka! Two Birds, One Stone”

  1. Billy Macmillan Says:

    I love this guy.
    http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution

    • alisonwriter Says:

      He’s cute, but such a pushover! He wants the kids in the cafeteria to like him, and that’s just not the way serving in school cafeterias work.

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