Posts Tagged ‘food’

Unhealthy habits

May 8th, 2009

Each state has its own peculiar subtleties in the law.  It is foolhardy and sometimes even dangerous to assume that laws are shared across states.  Smoking, in particular, differs rapidly from state to state.  In the South, smoking and non-smoking sections are prevalent.  States that are “forward-thinking” in their plans to deal with smoking ban it inside public buildings.  So, the question is, why is smoking socially frowned upon?  Is it because second hand smoke emanates and spreads to others or is it because the person is willingly spending money to harm himself, develop bodily ills, ultimately raising costs for health care?

Hypothetically, if smokers only smoked in their private dwellings, would smoking still carry the same social stigma?  My wager is that it would.  But if that happened, then there would truly be no difference between smokers and people who eat junk food.  Both are conscious choices and addictions.  Both cost extra money, hurt the body, and cause a plethora of ailments.  At what point are we held responsible for damaging ourselves?

There isn’t a lack of nescience on this subject – everyone is educated enough to know that smoking is bad for their body.  Why do we not attach the same social stigma to people who eat massive amounts of junk food?  The amount of overweight American adults exceeds the amount of American smokers by a 2 to 1 ratio.  With heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States – more than diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s, cerebrovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, influenza, and unintentional injuries – combined, why are we not paying more attention to this debilitating yet avoidable problem?  Instead, fast food restaurants and places that serve double portions are thriving.  Double stackers and quad-stackers are now equated with a hearty meal.  Every ailment stems from improper aliment.

Yes, we are given the fundamental right to do what harm we want to ourselves, save suicide.  But, are the potential problems worth the short-term gratification?  Partners become less sexually attracted, health care skyrockets, cars get bigger, more gas is consumed, increasing amounts of people starve, and every so often, one falls face down from a heart attack.  Perhaps we should focus our energy on something that many have problems with: the gorging of unhealthy foods.

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Homeless shelter

April 6th, 2009

A couple nights before, I nearly froze to death in Dodge Hill, the windiest city in America.  Last evening, I sojourned at a homeless shelter to escape the bitter cold, after a wind advisory was issued.  Though I am beholden to no one, I am thankful for the ecumenical efforts to provide overnight shelters to indigent transients.  Without such a place, I would be forced to suffer through another miserable night, an experience that I hope not to relive anytime soon.

I understand why homeless shelters are so popular.  They have decent food, entertainment, and toiletries.  In true American spirit, I had overabundance of pork chops, green beans, and an interesting white bean soup, providing me enough calories for the entire week.  It was a great reprieve from the canned food and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I consumed during the past fortnight.

I just dropped off a homeless man at a truck stop and am currently waiting for my car door to be repaired.  A gust of wind forced the door to open at an angle beyond the normal range of motion, causing a gap while closed, and, whilst driving at higher speeds, makes noise reminiscent of a whistle that is as irritating as nails on the chalkboard.  I am lucky that repairs in Kansas are less than half of what they are in California.  Minimum wage can afford one a much better standard of living here – even a wheat harvester can afford his own dwelling.

Life in Kansas is satisfactory.  The countryside is beckoning me to stay a couple more days.  I just might oblige.

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