Check, Please!

T2N columnist John Owens finds it hard to be around culinary temptations at home.



(The true ongoing story of a man trying to beat Type 2 under difficult domestic circumstances.)

Our local Hooters has started offering a wings special: “Buy 10, Get 10 Free.” Now there are two reasons my wife won’t let me go there.

She’s really less worried about me ogling college girls in skimpy get-ups than she is of me having a fling with a plate of fried food and empty calories.

But what empty calories are there on a plate full of wings, someone out there just asked. The sauce and the inevitable ramekin of dressing is what. Pure fat, sugar, and calories. Chicken wings pack some protein, but fried with the skin and they are really just golden brown bullets of fat. The next time you order wings in a restaurant, do it this way: “I’ll have the wings. Hold the wings, hold the sauce, hold the ranch. Just bring me the celery. And a tea towel I can slowly cry into.”

It’s hard to eat out for all of us Type 2 brothers and sisters, but for me, it’s even harder to eat at home, what with all those delicious goodies we keep on hand for my wife, she of the higher metabolism. Our kitchen is a clash of the extremely healthy and totally decadent; imagine carrots jousting with fried chicken or frozen pizzas totally talking behind sugar-free yogurt’s back.

I crave some of that decadent stuff, man. I really miss chocolate milk and sweet breakfast cereals ─ I’ll basically eat anything a cartoon rabbit tells me to.

My wife has no such difficulties with my food. She just glides through the kitchen, no distractions whatsoever. She reacts to a plate of healthy food like Miley Cyrus to an autographed copy of Miss Manners.

Check_Please_Donuts_300px_Thinkstk_120477358She keeps me honest, though. I try to be Superman, but I have my kryptonite moments of weakness. Especially at night ─ I have a problem with late eating. If I stray at night, she zaps me with her guilt ray gun the whole next day. (“Someone’s been in the chips!” “Did the cat eat part of my ice cream?” “This cookie box just feels…lighter, somehow.”) My wife keeps me honest. She observes, she corrects, she expresses outrage if I go too far.

Still, I think that it’s harder to keep to my diet at home because the goodies are right there, in arm’s reach. When I have to move a bag of chips (already opened, just a clip and a quick unfolding to reach the salty, crunchy goodness) to get to a can of pinto beans, I sometimes find myself thinking, “But the chips are already in my hand.” Opening some beans? Sounds like exercise.

The food in our pantry is visceral, real, something I look at every day. A restaurant menu is just an abstraction ─ a list of things that I can skim over in search of the salad selections or the heart-healthy options. And I can keep from being tempted by the deliciousness dropped on the tables around me by concentrating on the Hooters girls…no…I mean my smart phone.

I meant my smart phone, baby, I swear.

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John Jasper Owens’ writing can be found in several anthologies available through Amazon.com, including Day Terrors and the Mystery Times 10. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for fiction.