‘You are what you eat.’
By Sue Langenberg

–That’s what they always said with raised forefinger. It was another one of those virtuous life rules to make sure that you had absolutely no fun.
–I think that my grandmother was the original culprit of every one of those life rules. That would include everything from “Early to bed, early to rise…” to “Never put off until tomorrow that which…”
–To this day, I am convinced that she never had any fun. She never pushed the chocolate cake envelope, or regretted something she said at a party. I doubt that she ever even went to a party, in fact. If so, she probably said shyly “No thank you,” all evening.
–And so, burdened with a straightjacket of cute little rules, I grew up feisty and determined to break every one of them. It had something to do with marching to one’s own drummer. At the very least, I needed to break the rules, just to make sure that my grandmother knew what she was talking about. My real question was, how could she know what she was talking about if she was born a virtuous follower?
–So I guess the idea is that if you eat healthy, then you are healthy. Or, if you have a poor diet, at least you have more fun in the process.
–Or you might feel like a zonked out zucchini with yellowish skin to match the squash you just ate. Or have a greenish complexion of spinach with ruffled eyebrows and crinkled forehead at the sight of your dry salad. And to finish off a responsible approach to diet, you are hopelessly jealous of that person across from you that simply doesn’t care.
–That would be me. When the menus come, I’m there to enjoy my outing and not worry that I might or might not look svelte in my casket later.
–“I’ll have the disgusting and high-fat flavorful, juicy, stacked, wacked and jacked special please. Potatoes, by all means and what is your most fattening salad dressing? Hold the lettuce because it’s too boring and a nice tall chilled white wine would be fine. About the size of a gold-fish bowl.”
–And a friend across from me has the nerve to request a half order of bird food, hold everything except the ice water. “Are your lemons organic?”
–OK, Miss Goody-two-shoes, see if I admire how you look in your casket.
–I’d rather resemble the buffet I just had at a graduation party. The subway sandwich was shapely while the strawberries and blackberries were colorful, like rosy cheeks and eye shadow. The watermelon was lipstick red and the cheese squares were like pearls strung for perfection. The chocolate was sinful enough to make my grandmother rise from her eternity and swirl around my plate wagging a “naughty, naughty” finger.
–And so, as usual, I throw caution to the wind.
–Then I looked in the mirror the other day and realized that I was, in fact, what I ate. The stomach looked eerily similar to the plate of pasta that I had just eaten. The emergency Big Mac that I had conveniently forgotten about several weeks ago was resting happily on my hips. To top it off, my clothes were getting suspiciously tighter. Maybe the casket would have to be customized to fit a beached whale.
–The worst thing is that the spirit of my grandmother’s forefinger wagged around me. “Yeah, yeah, sure,” I didn’t want to hear any I-told-you-so’s.
–So if this “You are what you eat” thing is true, then I’ll have to break some other rule that my grandmother invented.