These days everyone is giving us advice on what to eat. In our home, Dr. Oz, with his frozen jet-black hair, leads the charge on do’s and don’ts. But the books and magazines on this topic are endless as well. A search on Amazon for healthy eating shows 9,000 books. One I saw promised to reset “your body’s natural balance and be truly healthy.”
Super foods seem to be latest rage. Eat super foods and you not only lose pounds, you gain back years, like this book promises: “SuperFood: The Top Superfoods for Weight Loss, Anti-Aging & Detox.” Another book declares a special diet to enhance another part of your life — “Superfoods and SEX — How to Enhance Your Sex Drive with Libido Boosting Foods!”
The terminology has become complicated too. You’ve got the herbal, organic, local, cage-free, free-range, non-GMO, antioxidants, hormone-free, born-on date, expiration date, whole grain, trans fats, sell by, packed on, blah blah, blah.
Whatever became of just food?
And don’t get stranded in a desert. The kind inhabited by Twinkies and Ding Dongs.
But happily there are times when you can discard all this noise and just eat. Like when Lori and two of our sons went to Kauffman Stadium on the Friday of Labor Day. The K was offering its own version of super foods.
For three hours, I consumed a steady flow of hot dogs, smothered in jalapeno peppers, mustard and a dash of ketchup; peanuts generously salted in the shell, and ice cold Miller Lite poured fresh and foamy from a keg. All of these items were purchased with ease and efficiency that did not require a Panera card, password or interrogation about cash back, paper or plastic.
The night was like a cross between the movies, “Field of Dreams” and “Groundhog Day.” My kidneys, liver and lower GI tract learned this drill many years ago. Back when I was young, stupid and really skinny. Tastebuds that had been placed in hibernation stood up at attention and saluted.
It was, well, super.
But all this food and drink was the minor leagues compared to what happened next. It was the seventh inning, the game had gone south three innings prior, and that’s when my son took notice of the vendor who was patrolling Section 121, Rows A-Q. He was selling a drink that required its own stand — like trophy case. He carried it around like royalty, because, well, it is. The official name is the Royal Rita. If Bourbon Street married Jersey Shore and had a baby, this is what it would look like.
I threw caution (and 15 bucks) to the wind.
I took a draw on the long plastic straw. For a moment, the angels sang in harmony. Lions and lambs cohabitated. Dogs and cats found peace. Donald Trumps’ hair looked thick and stylish. Justin Bieber had talent.
The ingredients appeared to be sugar, liquor, sugar and more sugar. If it’s true that heaven is a sense of happiness, solitude and joy, then at that moment it also included a taste of Jose Cuervo. My body’s natural balance, while probably not entirely natural, was definitely in balance. So long as I was sitting.
The White Sox scored five more runs in the eighth inning. I didn’t care.
Our family was having a blast. The Royals score? I heard they were losing 12-1. As I sipped away, I was getting more attention than the Royals bullpen. The man sitting behind me was curious and he asked for a sip. I obliged. A minute later he was still “tasting.”
My keys safely secured with my wing man, a.k.a. Lori. The frivolity continued.
So when the foodies get on their high horse about proper diet, it might be worth learning about the habits of a gentleman named Mark Behrends from Nebraska City. His born on date was 1905. He celebrated his 110th birthday in May with a driver’s license that was still current. His secret to a long and full life, according to his daughter: “He always told everybody the reason he has lived so long is drinking one can of beer, every day at 3 p.m.”
Mr. Behrends passed away a month later but for now I’m following his advice. Especially when I’m going to the K.
Freelance columnist Matthew Keenan writes on the first and third Wednesday of the month. His book “Call Me Dad, Not Dude, the sequel” is sold at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Visit his blog at matthewkeenan.com or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.