Find out what it means to me. In a contained, creative comedic nonfiction, under 500 words sort of way.

Oh, ‘Retha. ‘Retha, ‘Retha, ‘Retha. I saw a picture of you yesterday and you reminded me of Divine. I might add here that the mermaid dress you had on was not helping things. Aretha, you talented mofo, you have disrespected your temple a bit. OK, a lot. It’s easy to do. Food is everywhere. Turn around, there’s a plate of biscuits and savory sausage gravy. Look over there, luscious caramel-swirled brownies. And under your car seat? A Big Mac and a large fries.

Food = ?

A healer and a destroyer. It’s hard to take food for what it is sometimes, life-sustaining nutrients to be totally enjoyed in a healthy way. Which means not shoveling it down your pie-hole until you have to shop at Large N’ Lovely or something. This should tell you to BACK OFF. Ah, but it is not so easy. Food can be used to relieve stress, comfort the weary soul, an indulgence easily come by. Food is yummy. Food is complicated. We know this, it’s all been Dr. Phil-ed to death. FAT FAT FAT FAT FAT America. Fat Baby Boomers, Fat Kids, A Nation Of Slugs. Corporations Causing Corpulence.


Much to blame is that we are bio-designed to be much more physically active than most people are now. It is hard work, getting up and figuring out how to kill a buffalo to eat and make a cool vest from as well. Try to imagine that. Tomorrow you get up, and a man comes to your door and says don’t bother going into work today, the rules of life have been altered. Here is a stick for you to sharpen, some rocks, a large gourd to hollow out to hold water, and the untanned hide of a cougar to wear. No Pop-Tarts. No Diet Coke. No “Grey’s Anatomy” with a Jethro-bowl of Chunky Monkey ice cream. Oh, you’d slim down, all right. You’d lose 10 pounds in the first ten minutes from dehydration weeping.

People who work out more than me annoy me. They are better, more disciplined, thinner, therefore more worthy. I comfort myself by noticing the stringy neck of the woman who runs several more miles than I do, or the smelly onion sweat from Mr. Leg Press Man. Petty, yes, but dammit I really like food. I don’t like to make mud huts or hunt for berries or kill a turtle and scoop it out and call it lunch. I want to eat and not have to work so hard to reshape so little. But then I rethink my whine and realize I do like to be active. It reminds me of being a kid, when children were able to actually leave their homes and play outside together long ago, and the fun of going fastfastfast. I like feeling strong, with some idea that I could beat someone in arm wrestling. I should practice that on the dog. Yes.

Ar Ee Es Pee Ee Cee Tee. ‘Retha, it would be nice if you could get healthy and stay with us a bit longer, ya know. If you don't respect yourself ain't nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na. Respect yourself, respect yourself.