I guess there are just a few things in my life that I never learned. Sure, I learned the code to get extra lives in the NES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the second one, not the crappy original one that had little to no resemblance to the TV show) (second parenthetical: B, A, B, A, Up, Down, B, A, Left, Right, B, A, Start). I also learned most of the dialogue of Back to the Future and Star Wars at an early age (“What a minute, Doc… Hey Doc? Are you telling me you built a TIME MACHINE… out of a DeLorean?”) But one thing I never quite learned as much as I should have was what was healthy and what was unhealthy. I mean, of course I realized that a bag of Cheetos was garbage food and that an apple a day kept the doctor away. I wasn’t a complete doorknob. But when it came to food that SOUNDS all right for you, I was, and I guess still remain, completely in the dark.
Case in point! Last week, during my lunch break I was at home watching the latest installment of some terrible television show when I decided to grab for a can of peanut butter. For the past five weeks I have been trying to eat as healthy as possible – and I thought, well, one or two tablespoons of peanut butter isn’t going to spoil the well-balanced lunch I prepared for myself (veggie burger, no bun, three leaves of lettuce, a pickle, and a small serving of Baked Lays). I sat down, letting the television show wash over me, as I began to eat one spoonful of peanut butter. Then a minute or so later, I ate another spoonful. During the commercial break, I looked at the nutritional facts, something that I have slowly come to do as I fight this war on weight. Well, surprise, surprise, surprise! Peanut butter is apparently really high in calories and in fat content.
I think I must have read the label at least a half dozen times. My jaw dropped and my eyes widened. I think I dropped the spoon on the ground too. I can’t really remember though because I was mad. Furious, even! At the peanut butter company? At the Peter Pan guy on the front of the can? At the betrayal of the tasty and delicious contents within? No… I guess I was just mad at myself for not taking .004 seconds to read the label before I dove into the peanut buttery goodness.
Of course I acted like any sane and rational human being would respond when confronted with their own naiveté and stupidity. I stood up with the peanut butter can (or is it a jar? Whatever, it’s too late to change now!), walked calmly to the trash, and threw it in like I was a major league pitcher trying to pitch a perfect game. That bit of theatrics was pretty satisfying and helped me forgive myself at my misstep.
I guess I should have learned this stuff sooner, huh?