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1/7/05 2:55 PM
Copyright 2005 David C. Loebig

Random Digressions

On Eating

OR

A Word and More on Eating

Eating is good. Nothing profound in that proclamation. It’s a simple truth that is sometimes too true.

Eating is a fundamental fact of life, part of cultural pride and sometimes part of competition. Where would be we without eating? Hungry for one, but we’d also miss out on one cool experience shared not just across the human race but across the animal kingdom. We can’t know what it’s like to fly like a bird, wag like a dog or squirm like a worm, but we sure know what it’s like to be hungry and to fill our bellies.

Eating is a social lubricant. Almost every gathering involves food, snacks or drinks. It is something that can be shared even among strangers who have nothing in common. In refined circles, it saves you embarrassment by occupying your hands, which would otherwise do something wholly unrefined like picking your nose or scratching.

Eating is fundamental. We’ve got to do it. It’s like breathing, one of the basics of being alive. It’s been said by somebody (maybe me) that one way to stop a baby from pooping so much is to stop feeding him. But it’s been said by somebody else (probably my mother) that while she considered that option, but then there would be nobody to make grandchildren.

Eating is never boring. You eat a meal perhaps 900 times each year. By the time you’re 20 you’ve eaten more than 18,000 times. You get full, but the next time around a mere 4 hours later, you eat again, and it’s not boring.

Eating is simple. What could be simpler than peanut butter, the condiment of the gods? It has peanuts and it has salt. Put it on bread and you have nature’s perfect food because you eat it and you’re done, there’s nothing to throw out.

Eating is downright sublime, divine and spiritually transcendent if you’re really hungry and the food’s really good. Now I avoid meat and other dead animal dishes as much as possible, but I love a thick, grilled burger, and I mean a big, dripping, elbows-on-the-table burger with all the fixings. It’s a simple, sublime delight.

Eating is a cultural banner, a point of pride for every nationality, culture and region. Cities, households and individuals have their own specialties. You know the guy I’m talking about, the one who cooks nothing all year but takes great pride in barbecuing on July 4 or smoking a turkey on Thanksgiving or making steak and eggs on New Years morning.

Eating is a major distraction. Have you ever been in the middle of a project or some playful time and had to stop to eat? If you wait long enough, the hunger distracts you completely, and the group stops and eats together, which makes another point: It’s best when you build up a good appetite and eat with friends or family.

Eating is an art, or more accurately cooking is an art. Like many other enjoyments there are some who study and practice it and work their craft as their life’s work. Then again, there’s McDonalds, proof that eating is also big business.

Eating is proof of yin-yang, the Chinese concept that for one thing to exist, its complementary opposite must exist. For eating to be satisfying, there must be hunger. See, eating is even philosophical.

Yep, eating is good. There’s nothing profound in that. It’s just a simple truth.

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Dave Loebig writes and banters out of the Tampa, Fla. area. You can banter with him at RandomDigressions.com.


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