One time, after living vegan for several months, a friend told me that she could “not even stand the smell of meat.” So when I started cutting back on my red meat consumption — you know, because I care about my heart and what I put into my body — I hoped that the same thing would happen to me, that I would just not crave cheeseburgers anymore. I’ve also heard that cutting artificial sugars out of your diet has the same effect. (I will never know about this because I will never stop eating sweets. So, I’m going to have to take that one on faith.)
As for the red meat, I am here to provide you with all the living proof you need to know that cutting hamburgers out of your weekly ration will absolutely, positively NOT make you crave it less. Because when I saw that picture of the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger hanging in the window of my neighborhood Wendy’s, my stomach wanted it and when I smelt all the grease wafting its way into my car, my stomach wanted it even worse. Even though my mind was replaying all the logical reasons that that burger would not be healthy or just or productive, these reasons didn’t matter when that juicy/greasy burger was right in front of my face.
Lucky for me (I can say this in retrospect, although I wouldn’t have said it at the time), my mind won out in the battle at the drive thru. And it won because of the simple, hard fact that I am living on about $20 for the next three days until I get paid, and a Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger costs money, whereas dinner at home is free. I guess sometimes it pays to not have money. I missed out on the gagillion calories that are bound to make up that burger, and I missed out on the inevitable stomachache that would have followed.
And what I’m learning lately in life is this: Sometimes, what we in the present conceive of as a bad lot can ultimately save us from a worse fate. While it sucks that I don’t have two pennies to rub together most of the time (as evidenced by the above anecdote), and while the chances of me ever being anywhere near wealthy (profession: writer/secretary) are miniscule at best, perhaps it would be worse if I were wealthy. I know myself well enough to foresee that if I had extra spending money, it would all be spent on myself for things I don’t need. And perhaps this fate would lead me to become more selfish and prideful than I already am. Perhaps poverty has not yet struck me (and by this I mean American poverty, which is nothing like the real poverty and destitution one finds in developing nations, for example), but I think I am prepared to say that if being rich has a tendency to make one proud, better poor than rich.
Of course, this is not to say that the wealthy are all prideful and the poor are all humble. I can only speak for myself, but I know what having endless amounts of money would do to me personally; the picture I see in my heart of that is ugly. Maybe this is all just self-help talk to try to get me through to the next paycheck that will not cover my bills or pay my expenses, but I’m trying it out instead of the cynicism and bitterness that seem to come to me so easily these days. If the only things I have control over are the choices I actively make (and sometimes not even then), then seeing the events and situations that I have no control over as possible blessings may make all the difference.
Previously from Laura Creel:
♦ Thigh Gap, or Wasting Time on a Pipedream
♦ Blessed are the Rich: “Preachers of L.A.”
♦ The Problem With Aaron Hernandez’s Disappearing Act
♦ President George H.W. Bush Shaves Head, Makes Us All Tear Up
♦ A Summer of Surveillance and Banquet of Consequences