Monday, April 13, 2009

My Diet and the Toxic Environment

What do I eat in a typical day? When I first considered the question, I thought that it would really depend on whether it was a weekend or weekday. On weekdays, I eat from the cafeteria at school, which really makes my diet much worse, I think, because I always have a big, greasy slice of sausage pizza, and often a Dr. Pepper. Also, on weekdays, I don't eat breakfast, which I guess is not good. If my wife remembers to actually put a banana in my hand before I leave for work, I will eat that on the bus, but that isn't a sure thing.

Well, this Saturday, when I think about it, my diet was just as bad. I did eat breakfast, but I ate Raisin Bran, which I'll bet has a bunch of sugar in it...and I always put sugar on top of that. I did have the banana too, but I would have been better off just having that. For lunch on my supposedly healthier weekend day? Frozen pizza, three slices! That and my cafeteria pizza? Definitely a product of the "Toxic Environment" described in Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me." Easy, quick, cheesy, and greasy. No dishes to clean, no tupperware to carry to work, no need to actually sit down at a table. I can gobble it down while walking around campus or grading papers. It's not so much a meal as a transfusion of feeling OK. No sausage on the pizza at home, but it's not exactly rice and beans.

Dinner is my saving grace. We cook at least twice a week for dinner, often vegetables, and since it's just the two of us, we have leftovers for the entire week. Plus, cooking and eating as a family is the opposite social situation as the Toxic Environment. If my pizza is about grabbing something because I'm too busy and lazy (and because, I'm convinced, that the cafeteria puts something addictive in that stuff), then shopping and cooking together is about going slow, planning together, talking, accomplishing something. It's really a thing that brings us together as a family, like our hour-long weekend walks. So, though my diet is partly a Toxic Environment situation, I guess I can feel good that at least once a day I break out of that pattern.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"snitching" in Double Deuce

Why don't the residents of Double Deuce, the housing project in Robert Parker's Spenser novel Double Deuce, just call the police instead of hiring detectives to come and clean it up. Of course, I know what people will say: They're afraid for their well-being because they assume the gang's reach goes so far that even an "anonymous" tip will be traced back to them; the police won't do anything anyway; etc. I do understand those things, but it's too bad that we've things get this far out of hand. We think of "government" as something that rules us, when in fact, it's supposed to be something that we make work for us in the ways we want. We pay for it, after all. The police should be a tool for the people to use, not a part of what oppresses us, so we should demand that they protect us. Now, if people actually feel some empathy for those in our community who bring violence and addiction to their families and friends, well, that's another story. But let's not condemn crimes and do nothing about them.