Letter from the Editor

Monday, October 23, 2006

The food police

"Former President Bill Clinton has now struck a deal with several major food companies to supply schools with snacks that have less fat, less sugar and less salt. This is all part of Clinton's new program, 'No Child Left With A Big Behind.'."

- Jay Leno

The kid knows he's doing wrong, but addiction can really mess with your mind, man. So he sticks to the shadows behind the bleachers, moving furtively down the hall, his hands jammed deep in the pockets of his Raiders jacket. He swears, if he can just get away with it this time, he's going to swear off the junk for good. But then again, he's said that before. He's almost made it, he's almost clear...

"Freeze sonny! Reach for the sky," says a voice with a bit of an Arkansas lilt to it. Oh no...Busted!

Switchblades? Wacky tobaccy? Condoms? The answer sheet to next week's trig midterm? Nope.

The tall, shadowy figures that surround him yank open his coat and out falls the shocking smuggled contraband - a Snickers bar! Chips that aren't the baked kind! And can it be - gasp - yes it is - a Mountain Dew. The hard stuff.

Ex-Prez Bill Clinton has had his way with school diets, but I didn't realize how dramatically until I was at Schaller-Crestland with a growling tummy the other day.

The snack machine in the gym lobby still has 86 items to choose from, of course, only now all 86 happen to be little vials of nonfat chocolate milk. The pop machine is still there, but its now filled exclusively with designer bottled water.

No candy bars - chips - or Twizzlers!

What next Mr. Clinton? Mandatory tofu and brussel sprouts in the children's trick-or-treat bags??

Of course, as a parent, I applaud Wild Bill's efforts to kick junk food out of schools. For the kids, that is.

C'mon, Bill, we've gotta have a stash for the parents somewhere. A guy can't get through a night of teacher conferences on a diet granola bar and Densani. Exposing our tired old bodies to an entire freshman volleyball tournament on a fat-free fig newton is a little much to ask at this late stage in the decomposition ballgame.

It's a good thing for the kids to be all six-packed abs with no caffeine, fat, salt or sugar coursing through their stringy bodies. But I've gotta tell you, Bill, those are the only things keeping me going here. Carrots are great - throw one up there on top of my heaping plate of macho nachos. Or just play one of your wife's campaign speeches - those usually scare away any appetite a guy might have.

They talk about kids being obese today, but nobody ate more junk than our generation. Remember those chocolate Hostess cupcakes with the swirly line of white goo on the top and the big wad of creme filling so good it gave your cavities cavities? How about those straws full of pure, flavored sugar. Eat three of those hummers and a kid could walk on the ceiling. Candy cigarettes, just in case you couldn't wait to add one addiction on top of another. TV dinners full of stuff so processed it would make nuclear waste blush. And of course, you wash it down with a couple of nice A&W root beers the size of rain barrels.

Sure, this will cause you to implode eventually, but it also makes you tough. Our bodies are so conditioned to abuse that we just sailed through acid rain and radon. We ate asbetos for lunch, and it was probably healthier than the breakfast cereal they sold.

Today, we have to eat healthier. It's the law. Like spinach. And some nice California lettuce. And vitamins with extra iron. What a cruel joke to keel over from the very tasteless gruel that we have made a lifestyle of choking down in order not to keel over.

It seems clear now that nothing is good for us. No matter what we do, from organics to vitamin water, somebody is going to find something Very Bad about it, and they are going to announce it on the news about 15 seconds after you have just finished eating a big wad of whatever the calamity de juor happens to be today.

Oh well, I'm happy enough to have the soda pop, fried snacks and candy bars out of the kids' paws at school, even if it is going to take a bit of getting used to this politically correct snacking.

Now if our ex-tubby, ex-president could just outlaw those ridiculous low-rider pants, hip-hop bling-bling, midriff-baring t-shirts, pink lipstick and anything with an Iowa Hawkeye logo, in my view, school will be a much better looking place.