Overly Well-Fed Americans

On a trip to Romania around fifteen years ago, I was desperately trying to locate my flight to Budapest, Hungary. It didn’t help that nobody at the Paris airport seemed to speak English. Nonetheless, I got on board in time. Unfortunately, my suitcase didn’t.

In America we’re used to late luggage being delivered in as timely a way as possible, but on this trip, the best they could do was to hold on to my stuff till I returned to Budapest a week or so later. No wonder. The mission team I was traveling to catch up with faced many hours of driving to reach the border between Hungary and Romania and on to the small town we were to serve in. No way any airline would’ve delivered my luggage to Romania under those circumstances.

But that left me with a problem. The only clothes I had with me were the ones I’d been traveling forever in.

Fortunately, the team leader had some discretionary funds he could use to buy me a few essentials. The town was having a market day the next day, so I didn’t have to wait long to go shopping.

Oh, but I discovered something horrible that day. Romanian clothes don’t often come in the sizes worn by overly well-fed Americans. I had to settle for one pair of pants that was big enough–way too big, if I recall correctly–a sweater, and a couple of shirts.

When I asked my host if the pants and sweater matched–color blindness can be such a nuisance at times–he said, “Pants dark, sweater dark. They match.”

As we went about our activities that week, I’m not sure that I saw any overweight Romanians, much less any that were my size at that time. When I got home, I was all too aware of how drastically overweight too many Americans are.

I don’t agree with the Obamas about many things–and I don’t think overweight is a problem the government has any business trying to deal with–but Mrs. Obama is certainly right on the ball in being concerned about America’s weight problems. Especially among children and teens.

Every time I go to the mall, I invariably see one or more teens with fat bulging out over the top of a pair of jeans–all too often bare. And it’s not just teens, either. Do they actually think “muffin tops” are attractive?

Is it any wonder that the Young Adult (teen) novel I’m writing currently is called Project Muffintop? It deals with that problem. But it won’t help most overweight Americans.

You see, my protagonist knows she’s overweight and wants to do something about it, but I’m not sure whether most people really care. Maybe not until–like me–they find themselves diabetic when maintaining a desirable weight would’ve prevented the development of diabetes. And maybe they wouldn’t care even then. Not until a heart attack knocks them down.

I don’t know what the answer is. Americans have grown accustomed to the convenience and tastiness of the unhealthiest of foods, foods that are almost guaranteed to put on undesirable weight and keep it there. We’re spoiled.

I’ve read a dystopian novel or two–those are books about situations that have gotten as bad as bad can be. Including severe shortages of even the most basic foods. Not something any of us would enjoy having to live through. But what’s going to turn us away from the luxury of our unbridled eating, otherwise?

I’d love to have your feedback on this. Please leave a comment.


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“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

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Best regards,

What Would I Eat for My Final Meal?


What would I want to eat for my final meal?

Simple question. Right?

Hmm. But I need to clarify a few other things before I can think about that one. Let’s start with one very safe assumption: my final meal will NOT be served on death row as I await execution. That’s a position I can’t imagine ever being in. Anyhow, with my luck, gourmet last meals for death row inmates might well exist only in the movies.

More relevant: Would I able to chew and swallow at that stage of my life? Would I able to taste—and to smell, for that matter? Unless I could actually relish my last meal, why make a big deal about having something wonderful. If I couldn’t smell, who knows? Maybe I’d even give broccoli one last try.

But here’s a real challenge. Will I know I’m going to die soon enough to request a last meal? I mean, is somebody pointing a gun at me? Even less likely, am I pointing one at myself? In either case, imminent death would seem to preclude the enjoyment of a final meal.

That brings up another possibility: Is the final meal I’m planning going to result in my death? Will I gorge on enough “bad” food to cause a fatal heart attack? Should I plan every meal as if it might be my last and eat what I want without concern? Should I forget about my diabetes and regain those fifty pounds I worked so hard to lose—and maybe aim to add another fifty?

I’m sure I won’t knowingly eat myself into the grave. But otherwise it all adds up to the fact that I don’t know when or how I’ll die. That’s in God’s hands, and I’m happy to leave it there. He plans things—and carries them out—so much better than I do.

My word! I seem to have totally avoided my original topic, haven’t I?

You really want to know what I’d want if none of the things I talked about was a factor? Here goes: pizza is nature’s most perfect food. I want mine from the Gino’s across from Virginia Center Commons—with bacon as the only topping. Chocolate chip cookies are the most perfect dessert. I don’t care where they come from as long as they’re soft and chewy and plentiful.

And, gee, I kind of miss caffeine. I gave it up many months ago to drink more water. If I was about to die, I suppose the dehydration wouldn’t really matter , would it?

What’s the point of all this? Now THAT is a question I can give a straight forward answer to. If you ever get into a conversation with me, you might do well to stick with yes-or-no questions.

But even then you might get a maybe or a lengthy explanation.

Okay. All seriousness aside, what would YOUR favorite final meal be? Please leave a comment to let the rest of us know.
I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing”check it out here—to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Best regards,