Friday, February 13, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate the staggering quantities of free food available in my life. Just this week:

On Monday I was in meetings all day at work, so my company bought lunch -- not a big deal, really. But then the delivery guy gave me an extra -- and extra-large -- piece of carrot cake in addition to the dessert in my boxed lunch.

On Wednesday someone brought around homemade cookies. Then someone else brought me her half-eaten cookie because she thought I might want to finish it. She was wrong.

Yesterday I came to work to find a package of Hostess Donettes on my desk, left there after a co-worker suffered a fit of buyer’s remorse. You can see that I have gained a reputation as the office garbage disposal.

Today I came to work to find a cream cheese cupcake on my desk, left by an unknown benefactor -- or perhaps these treats are now generating spontaneously from the ether? And someone just stopped by my cube to mention that our boss had bought us all breakfast burritos.

The free food situation this week has been nothing out of the ordinary. This sort of thing happens all the time, and on top of all this there are the candy dishes around the office, the cookies left in common areas, and the birthday cakes. When I’m buying food for myself I eat a mostly healthful diet -- both for its own sake and to get lean for the world record attempt -- but it’s hard to stay on the wagon when people constantly thrust junk food in your face. I have started ignoring most of these free food offers, or throwing the food away when the donating party turns their back. Americans don’t like to throw food away, but why? We apparently have so many calories available to us that we can afford to give them away in mass quantities.

It’s no mystery to me why Americans are fat and getting fatter: our food culture has flipped the fuck out. I think that food culture has a lot more to do with our national weight problem than we like to think, and as evidence I offer this anecdote: I have a friend who struggled with his weight his entire life, until he served with the Peace Corps in a developing country. While he was there he became rail-thin, just like the people who surrounded him. Now, this developing nation is not a starving nation -- its citizens have plenty of food available to them and could eat themselves into obesity if they wanted to, but their food culture prevents this. My friend had lost 25 pounds, without trying, merely by immersing himself in a more sensible food culture. Since his return to the United States he has regained the weight and is struggling, much to his confusion, to lose it. “What am I doing wrong?” he keeps asking. It’s hard to buck your culture.

WIHT Update! I went to a meeting and there was a peanut butter cookie in the conference room, free for the taking. When I got back to my desk, a sandwich bag of Cheetos had spontaneously sprouted in my inbox.

WIHT Update 2! Free bagels and fruit in the lunchroom... why do I bother buying groceries? I could go freegan without having to root through dumpsters.

WIHT Update 3! The same co-worker who gave me the Hostess Donettes just gave me a leftover taco from his lunch.

WIHT Update 4! Today (Saturday) I went to a snowshoeing race in Frisco and won an apple pie as a door prize.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, interesting POV. I suppose I am guilty of giving away free calories on a regular basis. I love to bake but I would be a whale if I eat everything that comes out of my kitchen. There's a certain satisfaction just *working* with sugar and butter...and that kind of curb my craving to actually consume them.

    It's still funny/amusing how food appear on your desk out of nowhere.