Day One is getting closer and as I work on what I eat, it occured to me that I may need to look at how I eat as well.
I eat fast, in part because I always have. The other part comes from a brief stint in the military where as a part of basic training, soldiers are taught how to inhale food. It’s a practical lesson based on the idea that in battlefield conditions you may have only a few minutes to throw down some sort of sustenence before the battle resumes.
Now the way they teach this possibly valuable skill is by a lot of screaming and rigorous instruction. Meal time in basic training was perhaps the most stressful part of the day. Line up, scream your number, get your food, chew, chew and get out. Drill Sergeants prowl like tiger sharks shouting encouragement and instructions.
“Take the french toast, apply the eggs and saugsage, fold like a taco. Two bites, two chews. Drink your syrup from the little plastic cup and you are done. Did you hear me! I said you are done!”
Ah, good times.
I never really had a problem with the situation because I ate fast before I got there and with the Drill Sergeant’s kind instruction I only got faster. But, no one gets a free ride. The Drill’s will get you sooner or later and no matter how fast your eating, it’s not fast enough.
“Why is there still food on your plate?”
I assumed that was a rhetorical question since my mouth was full to the point that I had a corner of french toast sticking out of one side of my mouth and a sausage link dangling from the other.
“Why are you chewing?” he screamed. “Do you not understand the purpose of this excercise? Do you not realize how important it is to get food in your gut before the battle begins? ‘An army travels on it’s stomach’ Who said that?”
“Why are you talking and not chewing? Why are you not getting this? You are letting your buddies down! You are letting me down! Your are letting your country down! What if your mother was sitting next to you and commies were just over the hill ready to attack? And here you are eating! Eating! Do you know what commies will do to your mother?”
He was leaning over now with that wide brim of that brown hat pressed right against my forehead, his voice suddenly low and accusatory.
“Son,” he said. “Why do you hate your mother?”
Well, heaven help me, I stopped chewing as I tried to mentally flowchart how I got in trouble for chewing and ended up hating my mother.
Which, of course, initialized another tirade that ended with me outside doing push-ups in the sand under the hot Georgia sun.
So, to this day, I eat fast.
Here is an older article that describes some of the issues that eating fast might raise and since most of those issues are counter productive to my goals, I will endeavor to eat slower.
But I won’t pretend that it will be easy. I realize the commies are not the threat they once were but even after all these years I cans still hear the Drill Sergeant screaming that the commies will get my mother if I chew too much.
Interesting, the effect people can have on your life.