Just as I had choked down my first granola bar ever, after years of refusing even to refer to that mucilage-bound nut-and-berry brick by name — acceptable substitutes were “bear bait,” “tire tread pickin’s” and “bird seed bars” — the inevitable happened.
“Good news,” I announced. “I just ate a granola bar and I feel healthier already. Like I’m standing on a mountain top, overlooking an awe-inspiring vista and pondering the magnificence of the universe with full confidence that I am its master.”
“Bad news,” came the reply, “turns out these things have more calories, sugar and whatnot (organic whatnot notwithstanding) than two Oreo cookies.”
And just like that, I was bouncing and sproinging from rock to rock down this Everest of well-being t0 the canyon below, where I could only peer skyward with ever-widening eyes as the plummeting universe came down on me like a box of Acme anvils, ala Wile E. Coyote. Splat.
Food research will do that to you. You think something’s good, and it isn’t; you think something’s bad, and the reverse is true.
Just recently, for instance, researchers declared that drinking coffee and the light consumption of what we now call “adult beverages” will help us live longer … for now.
By the next decade, these same researchers will have found that while drinking coffee might make us live longer, we won’t know it — that seven cups of dark roast in the morning will make the clock spin so fast that tomorrow will start a day in advance.
I am a big coffee drinker, which has led me to conclude that whenever I reach whatever my final day might be, I’ll say, “Wow, I never thought I’d make it this far,” only to find out that I didn’t.
“Sorry, but it happened two days ago. You’ve been running ahead of yourself, as it were.”
Conversely, not drinking coffee can make the day seem like an eternity, which is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what you’re doing.
Say, for instance, you’re having an “adult beverage” while reeling in a 30-inch flounder and gorging yourself on the Easy Cheese you loaded up on after researchers personally told your wife: “He’s been right all along. It does contain the building blocks of life.” That’s a moment you’d like to last forever.
This feels-like-an-eternity business, however, would not be good were you to find yourself at an “adult beverage” event that turned out to be an Ensure party at the old folks’ home.
“Well, it sure is an ‘adult beverage,’ sonny, especially if you drink it naked. Come on, let’s party!”
Given the pros and cons of the longevity and fleeting time aspects of coffee and light alcohol consumption, I think the safe thing to do is to drink enough coffee to get you to cocktail hour.
Then you can dull your concerns about all the bad things you continue to eat because they might not be bad after all, as well as the good things that might turn out to be bad.
And, lest we forget, to erase that picture you now have in your mind of the old folks swigging Ensure and saying, “Who’s up for ‘Twister’?”