A Funny Thing Happened Today

You’re not going to learn some life lesson. You’re just going to get a story. If you want to do something other than chuckle, seek shelter elsewhere.

I have an unhealthy relationship with food. It stems from being a picky eater and being active enough as a kid that I could eat whatever I wanted without consequence (this includes stints of 2-3 bags of hot fries a day and not the little ones). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to clean up my act. But much like Charlie Sheen, my series of good decisions are always bookended by bad ones, though my bad decisions don’t feature prostitutes and illicit drugs, just food.

As I’ve ranted before, I wasn’t looking forward to April. Despite being probably the most important month in terms of good decisions, I knew it was going to tax me. I’m on day 4, and it’s bit me a few times already.

This isn’t like the other months. The other months didn’t require such active avoidance behaviors. 10,000 steps is straight forward: You walk. No sodas is simple: Don’t drink sodas. Draw something was the easiest of all: Grab some paper and a pencil and draw. But avoiding refined grains isn’t all that simple if you don’t cook from scratch every time, and I can’t cook from scratch every time.

I’m running through groceries and dishes at a ridiculous rate.

But that’s not the story. That’s the preamble.

The story starts this morning. I was getting my eyes checked so I could update my contacts (re: I ran out of contacts and only updated because I was forced to by medical policies).

This little adventure started with a good decision. I took the morning off from work knowing my pupils would probably be dilated. I wouldn’t be able to look at a computer screen, and that’s kind of all I do. I opted to return home afterward and listen to podcasts and play guitar because they didn’t require me to focus on anything.

That said, I was basically out of food again. I needed to make a run to the grocery store, and I had some spare hours to kill. I also needed to go to the post office to put some priceless masterpieces in the mail.

A plan was afoot.

I’d booked an early appointment so I could get to work eventually today, so my first stop was the eye doctor. Nothing exciting happened here (other than observing that the eye doctor is probably a runner based on shoe choice and build). They dilated my pupils, shined some lights in my eyes, and fitted me for lenses.

Easy peasy.

Next I was off to the post office. I got in the car and looked at the radio to see what band was playing, and I couldn’t read the screen. Not a surprise but annoying (unless you consider that before the satellite radio I never knew who was playing).

The post office was its usual strange self. A lady walked in having what was possibly the most formal “sod off” before making another phone call that was apparently to her mother and was all sorts of unproductive. Meanwhile there was a lady with an expired credit card taking forever at the register because she didn’t know it was expired, and then all sorts of shenanigans, hijinks, and tomfoolery going on as she grabbed a different card. When she walked off, I heard all the employees in earshot start giggling. I’ve never seen all the employees giggling. I’ve seen them all pissed off but not giggling.

Now by this point, I can’t read things even vaguely close to me. I got to hand them the envelopes and pay for the postage. They ask the hazardous/fragile question, and I say no because there was nothing hazardous or fragile. She asked me to click the button, and I almost hit that I had hazardous materials because I couldn’t really read the screen to see what question it actually asked. As I go to pay, I swipe, and I know what’s coming next. “Can you read me the last 4 digits of your card, sir?” No. No I could not. I just handed it over, she typed it in, I got my receipt, and I went my merry way because it was time to visit the grocer.

For this trip, I needed materials for red beans and rice, plus a couple of extras. Now, my main enemy has been corn starch. It’s hiding in things. I made a note on my shopping list to check the sausage and tomato sauce just in case. I got my shopping cart, looked at my list, and realized I couldn’t read it.

Not one word.

Ok, we can deal. I know what I need for red beans and rice, and that’s the primary objective. I’m also going to check the sushi station to see if they have California rolls with brown rice. I grab the fresh stuff I need. I grab the sushi.

And then I head for the sausage. I don’t want to be thwarted by sausage, so I go to read the ingredients.

I think you know how this story’s going to go.

Can’t read the ingredients. I can’t read the ingredients, and I don’t want to ask the employee to check the ingredients for corn starch because that’s a level of weird I can’t take (and keep in mind, I’m a grown-ass man who spent a year running 5Ks in superhero shirts).

This is a quandary. I don’t want to buy something I can’t eat, but I can’t read the damned ingredients.

But I’m a creative fellow. I need to make the text bigger, so I made the text bigger. I took a picture of the ingredients and then zoomed in.

Yeah, I totally did that in a relatively crowded grocery store.

I couldn’t see perfectly, but I didn’t notice anything that read corn starch that I could tell. Moving on to the tomato sauce, I did the same thing. I even gave this trick a third go when I saw chocolate pudding and got optimistic I might be able to have something that didn’t taste healthy today.

No dice. There’s corn starch in pudding. You would think someone cancelled Christmas by the look on my face.

I finish my shopping, I go home, and I spend the next couple of hours waiting for my vision to return to normal.

That’s a mildly funny story, but you should know I can do better than that.

My vision wasn’t quite 100%, but I was ok inside without sunglasses, so I resumed productivity. When I returned to work, I had to tell that story to someone, so as I’m telling the story and get to the part about the ingredients, I decide to show them the pictures I took.

Pulled up the picture for the sausage and saw corn starch. Consider this day ruined. Christmas was cancelled, and now they went after Thanksgiving. I was so resigned. I put a reminder on my phone to put the sausage in the freezer, and I’d resolved to just have the vegetarian version of red beans and rice.

But this still isn’t the end of the story.

I went for my run and determined that I had a slight strain of my right calf a couple of miles in. Other than that, not much really happened. Clipped out 3.5 when I was hoping for at least 4, but you take what you can get.

When I got home, I’d resolved to make my red beans and rice and blend it with the remaining burrito bowl servings (more on that in a later post). I grabbed the adulterated sausage and had to read the ingredients to see the wolf among sheep.

And it wasn’t there. It wasn’t there.

Then I realized I’m an idiot. I was looking at the pudding ingredient list at work. My vision hadn’t returned enough for me to focus well on my phone screen, so when I saw something that clearly wasn’t tomato sauce, I just assumed it was the sausage, forgetting about the pudding.

Thanksgiving was back with a vengeance. I’m currently digesting the sausage (plus the burrito bowl/red beans and rice monstrosity). All in all, it was an odd day. But


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