THE SHELF

REFLECTIONS (updated every Wednesday)

by Steve Liddick

For many years I had been overweight. Women had not looked lustfully at me since—well—they’ve never really looked at me lustfully, but that’s a whole other story.

Let me just say that my particular poundage piled on for the most part as a protuberant pot belly. Potbellies is a trait that runs in my family. Even the men have them.

I suppose if you look hard enough you can find an advantage in any physical disability or deformity. I’m sure the hard of hearing enjoy being able to turn off their hearing aids to shut out a screaming child. Extra tall people can reach high shelves. Of course, there’s a down side to both conditions. The hard of hearing can’t fully enjoy music. The tall have to duck at doorways.

The chronically fat have their own set of problems. One of them is that we don’t like to be called ‘fat,’ preferring instead to be referred to as heavy-set—or portly. Better still, just refer to them by name.

Formation of a pot belly may be Mother Nature’s way of keeping a person farther from the dinner table to keep it from growing even larger.

I do not prefer taking my meals in the dining room. I’m a casual diner. I think it may be rebelling against my mother’s edict about not taking food into the living room, my personal favorite dining spot. My lounge chair is a place where a pot belly comes in handy as a kind of shelf for my plate. I could sit there with a book in one hand and a fork in the other, with my plate secure and in no danger of falling off its shelf.

But one day I concluded that a bay window was not only unattractive, it was also unhealthy. You hear stories about heart problems and diabetes linked to overweight. Just taking a walk was exhausting. My wife and I sometimes took walks. She likes to walk and talk, but I told her I could do one or the other—but not both.

I decided to get rid of the tummy. I applied my iron will to the project and over most of the next year I slimmed down by sixty pounds. I have nieces and nephews who don’t weigh as much as I lost.

To be honest, women still don’t look at me lustfully. But I no longer open a door by turning the knob and bumping it with my stomach.

The only disadvantage I can think of is that when I have my lunch at my lounge chair, the plate keeps sliding down onto my lap.

 

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CONSIDERING A VEGETARIAN DIET

REFLECTIONS

by Steve Liddick

For a long time my wife, Sherry, and I have been considering adopting the vegetarian lifestyle. In part because it is probably healthier. But even more than that it is because we love animals and feel that we should not be eating them.

We have concluded that we are guilty of murder by proxy. That is, we have hired someone to do what we don’t have the courage to do ourselves.

A nice young couple that travels around the country full time in their RV are examples of the value of avoiding meat. Olivia (vegan) and Kyle (99% vegetarian) Brady have a YouTube site at “drivin’ and vibin’.” They are living, rosy-cheeked proof of the health benefits.

My Facebook Friend Beth Chamberlain, herself a vegetarian, shared a YouTube video of a man who adopted a turkey to keep the bird from ending up on someone’s dinner table. The turkey apparently realized that his life had been saved and now gives his adoptive human regular hugs.

I think that was the final (turkey in the) straw that has pushed us over the edge toward vegetarianism. At least enough to give it a try.

It would be impossible for me to go entirely vegan and give up eggs, butter, and cheese. I think I would also reserve some seafood some of the time. I’m not sure what you would call that category. “Hypocrite” might describe it. After all, those are lives, too.

I know I would miss my bacon. We have a refrigerator and freezer full of meat right now, so Sherry and I have decided on a test run. We will stop buying all meat products immediately and each Wednesday and Saturday we will eliminate meat from our diet on those days. The goal would be to see whether we could sustain that diet over the long term–at the same time exhausting our meat stock.

Critics of vegetarianism argue that the human body needs meat or else some vital nutrients will be lacking from the diet. Vitamin supplements are needed for a meatless diet.

Practitioners of the non-meat lifestyle argue that horses and cattle are on a strict vegan diet and seem to do very well.

Whatever your position on the concept, lives are undeniably at stake and I believe all lives have value.

Thanksgiving and Christmas would be a whole lot different around here.

Maybe the next time I see a turkey I’ll get a hug.

LIVING ON THE EDGE

REFLECTIONS

by Steve Liddick

Maybe it’s a “guy” thing in general, but I know it is a personal thing that I am not especially concerned about germs. Not bugged about bugs, you might say.

Oh, I do take precautions about some kind of germs; I wash my hands when returning from errands to try to eliminate the flu or the screamin’ meemies one picks up at the grocery store or the post office or mingling with those little two-legged petri dishes known as—children. They absorb every germ in the universe and share them generously with others.

I am, however, a firm believer in the ten-second rule as applied to picking up a dropped food item and I am especially convinced we are overly fastidious when it comes to our coffee makers. My wife regularly runs vinegar through hers and scours the pot feverishly, as though the Black Death is lurking in that particular appliance.

I, on the other hand, have used the same coffee cup since the last century, dumping out the previous day’s leftovers and filling it with the new brew. The last time I cleaned my office coffee maker was when ants got into it. I can abide some germs, but I draw the line at ants.

I figure my grandmother’s theory of germ control—“heat purifies”—is good enough for me. I mean, she lived to be really old.

I’m not saying that scum is particularly appetizing, but we don’t have to get so worked up about it. Germs have feelings, too, you know.

I’m pretty firm in my sanitation theory as applied to coffee makers and cups. I’m still working on the question of why women live longer than men.

 

Books by Steve Liddick: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=steve+liddick

Steve LiddickAuthor of “All That Time,” “Old Heroes,” “Prime Time Crime,” “Sky Warriors,” “But First This Message: A Quirky Journey in Broadcasting,” “A Family Restaurant is No Place for Children,” “Campsite Gourmet: Fine Dining on the Trail and on the Road,” and “Eat Cheap: A Cookbook and Guide To Stretching Your Food Budget Dollars.”