SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
I didn’t plan to have a month long theme, but I noticed my last two columns were about nutrition: One on my cooking and the other on losing weight. People can lose weight from my cooking, but that usually involves hospitalization.
Now comes news that New York City Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban supersized sugary drinks, as a way to combat malnutrition.
He also signed a proclamation for NYC Donut Day.
Sometimes a humor column just writes itself.
(Oh, on a note of irony: I brought up several internet articles to familiarize myself with the Bloomberg Big Belly Ban, and the very first one was preceded by one of those annoying internet ads – for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.)
The BBBB would apply to any bottled soda or fountain drink over 16 ounces that contains more than 25 calories per eight ounces, which is pretty much all of them. They’d be outlawed at restaurants, sports venues, street vendors, and – brace yourselves – movie theaters. Gasp! Next they’ll be taking my large buttered popcorn.
But those goobers won’t get it without a fight.
No word on whether the 17 ounce Big Gulp will be available in government offices, but grocery stores and convenience stores would be exempt. Apparently large soft drinks sold there are not dangerous.
The good news is, banning things that are bad for us is always effective, and always, always works. Just ask the people who pushed Prohibition.
Well, they can have my Slurpee when they pry it from my cold, sticky hands.
If they criminalize supersized Cokes, only criminals will be truly refreshed.
When Bloomberg came for cigarettes, nobody spoke (because they were busy coughing). When he came for trans fats, nobody stood up (because they were too heavy to get to their feet). Now they come for sugary drinks, and who will stand up for Mr. Pibbs? Has the medical field even debated this? Did anyone ask Dr. Pepper?
Give me Mountain Dew, or give me death! And not Diet Mountain Dew, either. It tastes like artificially sweetened sheep dip.
The Founding Fathers would be horrified. The whole reason they settled in the New World is because the British wouldn’t let us sweeten our tea.
“One lump or two?”
“How dare they alter our national beverage? Off with their heads!”
Then we revolted, and formed a completely independent country, so we could have southern style sweet tea. Thomas Jefferson wrote that right into the Declaration of Independence, along with a clause about fried chicken and gravy. Both were removed by a rather grumpy New York delegate named Samuel Chase, whose wife had just put him on a diet.
Say, do you suppose that’s it? Maybe Bloomberg’s just steamed because his wife has him eating fish and asparagus.
The Founding Fathers really would be horrified, as this kind of nanny state thinking is exactly what the Constitution was meant to prevent. It demonstrates that their written guide for the country is more relevant now than ever, if only we could get our elected officials to go by it.
Benjamin Franklin would be especially upset, as he’s been known to upturn an extra-large mug of mead himself, from time to time. Franklin, who famously said that wine is proof that God loves us, and wants to see us happy (not beer, as some claim), would have absolutely loved one of those fountain drinks that you need to haul around in a cart. Ben Franklin would have punched Bloomberg right in the nose. Well, maybe not … no, Ben would probably have slept with Bloomberg’s wife. He was into all sorts of excesses.
I’m not so sure about Thomas Jefferson’s reaction. Although he was very much into personal freedoms (unless you were one of his slaves), he was also very much into a huge vegetable garden that he took great pride in. He grew over 250 varieties of more than 70 different vegetable species, in a garden 1,000 feet long. His children hated him.
Once, Jefferson sent John Adams a sampling of twenty different types of lettuce. Adams wrote back: “Tom, would you relax and have a friggin’ donut? I’ll bet you can’t find twenty different varieties of donuts.” This was before Krispy Kreme.
Still, they would have agreed that no mayor of York, old or new, had the right to come over and tell them how many lumps they could put in their tea. Should you stop drinking huge sugary drinks? Of course. Should we bow to a government telling us we have to? Hell, no.
We can’t have true freedom without independence. A nanny state, by definition, is a lack of independence. I may disapprove of what you eat, but I will defend to the early death your right to pork rinds.
Yes, there have to be some limits in an orderly society, but we must draw a jittery line in the sand, with one of those big soda straws. Our voices, strengthened by a sugar rush, should shout out that we can be convinced to be healthier, but not be force fed. And, to paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we would rather die on our Frostie than live on our salads.
Now. If you’ll excuse me, it’s time for a little non-violent protest. Supersize me.