My stomach isn’t what it used to be


One of the life lessons I am slow to process in these, my “experienced” years, is that I simply cannot eat the way I did when I was younger.

Oh, I can still use a fork and knife and all that, but what I can use them on is another matter entirely. The cast-iron constitution of my youth, those heady days of foot-long hot dogs, giant pepperoni pizzas and pea nut-butter-and-dill-pickle sandwiches, has given way to a digestive system that has become – to use a word that has been applied to me a grand total of Oh, Never – delicate. And to add a word that has been applied to me a grand total of Too Many Times To Count, cranky.

Let me give you an example.

The other night, I ordered the evening meal at the drive up window of a certain “restaurant” with a name that evokes a place where kings and queens live. It rhymes with Slight Hassle.

Yes. I bought a bag of sliders. Gut bombs. Depth charges.

I was going to say I did this against my better judgment, but who are we kidding? I don’t have any better judgment. What the heck. It seemed like a fun thing to do.

Soon I was sitting at the dining room table, my loyal dog Cookie at my side.  And no, I did not share. While I usually give Cookie a taste of whatever I’m having, I know better than to let her have Whi – I mean, Slight Hassles. She’s a gassy dog to begin with. Sliders mixed with regular doggy air biscuits would be disastrous.

Several hours later I was awakened from a sound sleep by a sensation that we can charitably describe as “uncomfortable.” Or maybe it would be more accurate to say “overinflated.”  I felt like I’d swallowed the Hindenburg. I was sweaty and clammy, unsteady. My insides rumbled ominously. Oh, the humanity.

I sat up, clicked on the light and looked around the room. There, staring at me over the end of the bed, was Cookie. She looked resentful. And I think I know why.

It seems Cookie is not the only gassy one in the family. Evidently I had been making quite a negative contribution to air quality.

Cookie looked daggers at me for a second more and then went downstairs to sleep, or at least breathe easier.

Well, you don’t have to be Einstein to figure it out.  If something you eat – something that never used to bother you, gastrointestinally speaking – makes you so spectacularly windy that it chases the dog out of the room, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Ever again.

All right, so … lesson learned, which is a good thing, although it might not seem that way to Cookie. And what is the lesson?

To begin with, just because a person is of a certain age doesn’t mean he can’t still learn, or that he can’t change in order to accommodate a new reality.

But maybe the larger picture tells us that refusing to act your age can have consequences. Better to let the past be the fondly-remembered past while you live in the present. Or, to put it another way, skip the sliders, enjoy a nice age-appropriate salad, and remain in the dog’s good graces. That doesn’t seem so difficult.

I believe it would only be a Slight Hassle.



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