Clean Eaters

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday, a man in the checkout line glanced at my box of Jiffy cornbread mix, “That junk will kill you some day.” He handed me a business card. On the card was a picture of himself, bench pressing a herculean tractor tire. The man said, “Call me if you ever decide to start eating clean.”

Eat clean?

I learned about this as a boy. Once, I came to supper wearing soiled, grass-stained jeans. Mother took one look and said, “If you’re going to eat at this table, take a shower. Because in this house, we eat clean, dammit.”

The truth is, I’ve heard of these anti-cornbread regimes before. I have a friend who follows the “Caveman Diet.” Nothing touches his lips unless it’s something an ancient man with severe constipation might’ve eaten.

Once at a dinner party, I offered him a beer. He laughed, then went outside and lapped water from a mud puddle. “Cavemen don’t drink beer,” he said.

“How about some cornbread?”

He scoffed. “No thanks, my wife brought kale chips and a leftover goat femur.”

While I admit, cavemen didn’t eat cornbread, they only lived to the ripe-old-ages of sophomores. And, I’ll take a wild guess: I’m almost certain they didn’t bench press tractor tires very often.

My friend explained, “Our sledge-hammers and tractor tires are only symbols of power.”

Well sir, thirty miles outside town, tractor tires aren’t symbols. They’re muddy. The men that use them have beer bellies and high cholesterol. The same men who grow soybeans; the same soybeans that go into fourteen-dollar caveman protein bars.

Which no self-respecting caveman would ever eat.

Unless he ran out of cornbread and beer.