Written by Joe Janes
160 of 365
George, late 40s
(Lights up on George, an average middle-aged man wearing an orange construction vest, hard hat and holding a sign on a pole that says “SLOW DOWN.”)
My toothbrush…The occasional pen or pencil…my finger, you know, to get stuff out that shouldn’t be in there, little food bits… These are the things I still put in my mouth. The different types of food I put in there is starting to narrow down. Significantly. No gum, no candy. No more popcorn. That’s what the dentist said after my root canal. No more freakin’ popcorn. I love popcorn. Movie popcorn with lots of salt and butter flavoring…Kettle corn…caramel corn…Used to joke that I ate so much popcorn that my testicles were literally popcorn balls… I thought it was funny… No more apples, which surprised the hell out of me. That “apple a day” stuff is a load of hooey. My dentist said eating an apple is like giving your teeth an acid bath that wears down the enamel. And I like apples. Especially dipped in caramel. Dentist also said to quit drinking coffee. Because of the stains, right? Wrong. Because when I drink too much coffee, I grind my teeth and chew on the back of my tongue. That’s something else I’m not supposed to eat anymore. My tongue. Didn’t even know I was eating it. (A car goes by and he thrusts the sign at it) Oh, nothing fried, either. My regular doctor says my cholesterol is too high. No fried foods, cut down on the cheese and the ice cream. Bacon. Man, bacon. May as well be a strip of savory, smoky razor blades that I ram in my throat. “When you order bacon, George,” he says, “it’s a cry for help.” Look, I’m pushing 50. Not married, not seeing anybody. Don’t smoke. The only thing I put in my mouth that I get any enjoyment out of is food. Why can’t brussel sprouts be bad for you? Steamed brussel sprouts, look out, that stuff will kill ya’. It will bore you to death. If I order brussel sprouts, that’s me crying for help. When you’re growing up, your parents tell you what to eat and when to eat. Do a stint in the navy and they tell you what to eat and when to eat. I’ve had about fifteen, twenty years of eating what I want, when I want. I’m a grown-up, now, dammit. Cereal for dinner. Love it. Not that good-for-your-heart Cheerios crap. I’m talking Cap’n Crunch (he salutes) with Crunchberries. And a side of bacon. That is my Viagra. (A car goes by and he thrusts the sign at it) Guess I had a good run. Deep fried Twinkies are a little piece of magic. Deep-fried turkey, tasty and dangerous, but if food’s going to be dangerous I’d rather it be because it might burn me rather than it might get clogged in my colon. If it’s a case of it being some external physical threat, then I say, “Bring it on.” It’s a fair fight. One that I’ll win. I’ve taken down turducken, haggis and Rocky Mountain oysters – bull balls. For lunch, all the guys are ordering from some Kentucky Fried Fuck ’n’ fuck kind of place. I packed my lunch. Have to. I don’t dare order a plate of celery in front of these hose bags. I’d never hear the end of it. I also got some carrot strips. A peach. And a little baggy filled with Bac O’ Bits, which aren’t really bacon at all. Some soy shit with chemicals. Better for you, I guess. It’s like bacon trail mix. I miss bacon. I wish they made some kind of bacon patch, like those nicotine things. I’d put one right here on my arm. (A car goes by and he thrusts the sign at it) Slow the fuck down, asshole!... Sheesh, some people are in a real hurry to die.