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Sandy Knauer

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Breakfast, Soda Machines and Cigarettes
2/24/2005 1:01:29 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

I honestly think it is all about control and nothing about health.



I spent the weekend with friends. Since I was a guest, I smiled and said little to defend my choices and opinions when others delivered lectures that I felt sure were for my benefit, but the comments continue to haunt me.
One man took the soapbox on behalf of breakfast. “It’s the most important meal of the day,” he touted as his wife loaded their children’s plates with sausage, ham, eggs, and waffles, swimming in syrup.
He shook his head when I opened a Coke and announced that I would have a bagel after I had been awake longer. “A Coke for breakfast?” he criticized as he added sugar to his coffee and used it to wash down his eggs. “Please, sit down and eat.”
“I prefer my caffeine cold,” I explained, without pointing out the fact that coffee and tea prevent the body from absorbing the iron so in the long run my choice was healthier for both of us, even if his body wasn’t anemia-prone like mine. Nor did I mention that I know many doctors who believe a heavy breakfast first thing in the morning is not a healthy choice unless leaving immediately afterwards to work the food off through heavy labor, or that I knew surgeons who swore his breakfast choice would slow the brain and cause drowsiness. Some people prefer traditional clichés, old-wives-tales, and commercially designed health tips. He might be one of them.
As the children left the table to sip concentrated juice substitutes from disposable boxes and play computer and video games until it was time for a McDonalds lunch, another adult grabbed the floor to ask everyone to campaign for the removal of soda machines from schools. I kept my sugar and fast food lectures and my unpopular parenting philosophy to myself. I don’t expect the world to dance around my children; I expect my children to know right from wrong and make healthy choices even when unhealthy ones are offered and I’m not around to guide them. By the time my children were in school, they knew what they were to spend their lunch money on, how many treats they were allowed each day, and that others would do things that were not right for them and they would have to exercise strength and self-control in those situations. I considered suggesting maybe the schools could start abstinence only or just say no programs for sodas and candy bars but decided not to mention it.
Finally, someone caught me sitting in the sun with a cigarette. “You’re still smoking?” she shouted as though the earth should open up and pull me in. I didn’t think the question needed an answer, so I smiled and nodded.
“Don’t you know how bad cigarettes and the sun are for your health?” I was sure she was going to tell me no matter what I responded, so I held my smile and let her go. She sipped her beer and delivered a fine lecture.
“How do you feel about the dangers of Imuran, Hydrocodone, Prozac, neurontin, and steroids?” I asked. She shrugged, probably sure I was going to tell her no matter what she responded. “Imuran and Hydrocodone tear my liver and stomach up. Neurontin destroys my eyes and leaves me in a fog. The steroids are just bad news all the way around,” I explained.
“If you’re already sick, why do you want to make it even worse by smoking, sitting in the sun, and drinking Cokes?” she asked.
“The only time in my life I am anywhere near pain free is when I’m in the sun,” I said, closing my eyes to enjoy the heat on my bones for a second before I continued. “I have never had a sunburn and my dermatologist said I’m safe.” Her expression said she thought she knew more than he, but I will choose his medical school education over what she heard on television any day.
“If I smoke a cigarette in the morning, it takes the edge off the pain enough that I can actually get dressed without a pain pill,” I continued. Disappointingly, she didn’t look too happy for me. “A few more throughout the day keep me functioning without any other medications.” She rolled her eyes. I refrained from asking her what right she thought she had to tell me I should destroy my liver, stomach, and brain with harmful chemicals and synthetic drugs instead of choosing less expensive, natural alternatives that are working well for me. Instead, I asked if she would have delivered a lecture if she had seen me taking a handful of prescribed dangers.
She shook her head, finished her beer, and threw in a comment about second hand smoke. From what I understand, unless I locked her in a closet or small car with the windows up, it would take many years for my second hand smoke to maybe have a negative affect on her health. It would take about three seconds for steroids to make me want to choke her, or one time behind the wheel of a car under the influence of the neurontin for my harmful chemicals and synthetic drugs to have an affect on her safety or her life. Somehow I didn’t think she wanted to hear that.
After a couple of days to reflect, I wonder why people want to control others this way. Do they lack confidence in their own choices and need the comfort of having others agree? I don’t understand why another adult would waste energy worrying about what I eat for breakfast or how many cigarettes I smoke, instead of using that energy to teach their own children what they want them to know or running with them to work off the breakfasts they had.
I honestly think it is all about control and nothing about health.


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More Blogs by Sandy Knauer
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• Link to flagged article - Thursday, March 15, 2007
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• Kid-free Zone - Sunday, December 10, 2006
• He Deserves Better - Saturday, September 30, 2006
• Glasses or Stage? - Wednesday, August 16, 2006
• A Walk With My Real Mother - Friday, August 11, 2006
• Al Gore and My High School Reunion - Thursday, July 06, 2006
• Damn You - Sunday, July 02, 2006
• And Not So Great First Dates - Sunday, June 25, 2006
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• Happy Father's Day For Me - Saturday, June 17, 2006
• We Don't Share Crayons - Friday, June 16, 2006
• Roly-poly Slobber - Monday, June 12, 2006
• John Wayne and Elvis Were Full of Shit and You Probably Are Too - Monday, June 05, 2006
• Ignorance Is Bliss - Monday, May 29, 2006
• Let It Be - Thursday, April 27, 2006
• Can We Leave Justice to the Luck of the Draw? - Friday, April 14, 2006
• Gospel of Judas - Thursday, April 06, 2006
• Healthcare Costs – How We Turn Molehills into Mountains - Tuesday, March 28, 2006
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• Dissecting Charity - Saturday, March 11, 2006
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• Coddled Insanity - Sunday, February 19, 2006
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