This post could also be titled, “You Know You’re Old When…”
I’m a guy trained since birth in buffet-style eating. Going to Old Country Buffet was not only a treat, but practice. It’s a lot like running cross country…in the sense that it’s a test of endurance and you have to soil yourself so as to not slow down.
One of my first memories as a child was going with my dad to a Bob’s Big Boy in Maryland for the buffet breakfast and feeling disproportionately proud over consuming sixteen sausage links.
At a friend’s birthday party in elementary school, my friends were astonished that I could pack away eight pieces of pizza…as a fourth grader.
Eventually, I graduated to the minor leagues–college, where with a meal plan I could eat eat eat slightly grey taco meat and gummy pizza crust and it wouldn’t cost any extra. I mean, I would be throwing money away if I didn’t devour as much as possible. I’m nothing if not a man with an eye for a bargain.
On our first trip to Las Vegas, Lance and I were able to take advantage of a stellar promotion: all-day access to the MGM Grand’s buffet for just $30. Steak! Lobster! Crab legs! Heaven for a fatass like myself!
But all of this was years ago, and with age comes the Food Hangover.
A few days back, my office had a welcome lunch for one of our new employees. Obviously, in a situation like this I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity for free food and gorge myself silly.
Except, like alcohol, my tolerance for the mass consumption of food has dissipated over time. As I creep toward 30, there’s a fine line when eating (is this line called “being full”?) that I can’t cross anymore without suffering the dreaded Food Hangover. And I got socked with it that day.
The Food Hangover probably isn’t as messy as your traditional hangover, but you feel a different level of gross. Unlike in your youth, when your stomach and small intestine flex their muscles and say, “Don’t worry, we got this!”, you just can’t digest food as quickly anymore. That ball of meat and carbs will sit in your stomach for hours, if not into the next day, an infant-sized wad which, instead of creating a motherly glow, causes you to perspire with a cringe on your face.
There’s a lot of remorse, too. “W-why’d I do this to myself?” you moan as you grip your tummy, seriously considering a laxative just to make the pain go away (hint: coffee is nature’s diarrhetic!)
The worst part of the Food Hangover is that it turns you into a sloth, literally weighing you down. “Just let me die,” you might find yourself crying, since the thought of doing anything else seems impossible. You can’t even sleep because your food baby is pressing up against your diaphragm.
Unlike the hair of the dog, though, there’s no cure except time, and the solemn vow that you’ll never let it get this bad, even again. “I’ve sworn off eating forever!” But of course that never lasts.
::Sigh:: Gluttony is wasted on the young.