The Coastal Observer: Years of living dangerously

It’s funny how a chance to examine your life choices can arise out of nowhere.
For instance, my wife and I were watching sports highlights the other night and I made an offhand
remark that I used to be able to dunk a basketball
but couldn’t anymore because of a sports injury that had left me with a bum knee.
The “sports injury” came from tripping over a tree root while playing Frisbee with the dog and the last time I tried dunking
a basketball, it left me so winded and sweaty that I swore never to do it again. But never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Janell turned to me and said “You know, I want you to live a really long time.”
Initially, I was flattered,
because of all the things with which I can agree, living ranks up near the top.
“Thank you?” I replied hesitantly. She smiled, apparently
happy that I was on board with the concept.
I suddenly felt a little nervous. Had she been having some agonizing internal debate about my lifespan? Had she been on the fence about this for a few years and suddenly come to a decision? I didn’t see why this was an issue with which she would be struggling.
“How do you mean?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to know, but at this point my anxiety was giving my brain a wedgie.
“You need to start watching what you eat,” she said.
Oh. That.
My knee-jerk reaction was to be indigent and declare “how dare you!” But it would have been hard to claim the moral high ground while balancing
a bowl of Doritos and a bottle of beer on my lap.
“What exactly did you have in mind?” I said instead.
“You need more fruit and vegetables in your diet,” she replied adamantly.
I nodded and took a sip of beer. So it had come to this.
My folks had tried forcing me down this route several times when I was younger and it had only re-enforced my love of covering food – including
fruits and vegetables – in cheeses that came in spray cans.
They had tried bribery,
deception and even force to get me to eat my vegetables. None of it worked and it often left me covered head-to-toe in smashed green beans and one or both of my parents in tears.
I considered my recent dietary choices and they were lacking indeed. Mudd Dogs, tacos, cookies,
and pizza – both fresh and frozen – were just some of my recent greatest
hits. And, as I have been sternly reminded on several occasions, drinking
beer brewed with fruit don’t actually count as fruit consumption. Ditto for wine.
I do buy actual fruits and vegetables when I shop and sometimes I actually eat them before they go bad. Mostly, I just buy them so the person at the check-out line won’t look at me like they’re wondering if this is the day the get to dust off that CPR training.
Grudgingly, I conceded Janell’s point.
So in order to live longer and prosper more fully, I’ll be dangling my toes in the waters of healthier eating before I jump in all the way.
Recent lunches, for example, have consisted of peaches, cucumbers, carrots, and celery (with peanut butter, of course. Baby steps).
Basically, I’m eating the food my food eats.
But if my wife does indeed want me to live longer, I probably owe it to her to give it a shot. It’d be really awkward if she got desperate enough to try feeding me with the scientifically proven “choo-choo train” method.
However, I won’t be giving up beer any time soon because there’s nothing better to wash the taste of kale from your mouth.