Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"I Miss Asparagus"

Words I could not imagine ever coming out of my mouth. 

Bacterial visitors have triggered an assiduous campaign, denying them the nutrients that permit them to proliferate.  The plan is the opposite of a successful dinner engagement:  “Find out what they like to eat and make it.”  Instead, it’s “Find out what they like to eat and deny its availability until they’re dead.”  That second dinner party:  You’re invited – you don’t go.  For any reason.

“I’ve got shingles.”


“They’re not here yet but I’ve got them.”

The problem with this limited diet:  You deny the bacterial visitors – you deny the host.

The next line you expect being,

“And I really like asparagus.” 

(A now prohibited comestible.)

The truth is, I like a lot of things better than asparagus, which are now also off the menu, like ice cream and cashews and apples and bread… oh bread, with its crunchy crust and that sourdough-flavored softness – I want bread!  I want bread!  Why can’t I have bread!  How I really want brea-hea-hea-hea-head…”

“Stop it!  You are lacrimating on the keyboard!”

Sorry.  But I want bread.

“We get it.  You want bread.”

I do!  The trouble is, the bacterial visitors want it too.  Why couldn’t they like things that I hate, like liver or okra or loquats or persimmons… ? 

“Do you eat foods you don’t like?”


“Neither do the bacterial visitors.”

Reasonable, but annoying.

It seems odd that the proscription against asparagus disturbs me so much.  I never grew up eating asparagus.  I grew up eating peas.  Green Giant.  Or, when in an extravagant proclivity, Le Sieur – the Russian caviar of processed peas. 

Unlike other vegetables, asparagus bears the additional burden of olfactory after-effects. 

I recall once, entering the Mens’ Room of a luxury hotel in Hawaii and finding a disconsolate Japanese gentlemen finishing up at the urinal, apologizing profusely for the telltale aroma, and then explaining, with the aura of abject shame only some cultures can successfully pull off,

“I have just eaten asparagus!”

Wait till you hear this!  “Asparagus” is not entirely off the menu.  The “Official Guidelines” prescribe,

“One spear.”

Is that Machiavellian, or what?  I imagine nutritional scientists, cackling in the lab:

“No asparagus!”

“No wait.  One spear.”


It’s just crazy.  You slip the allowed one asparagus spear into a pot of boiling water, the boiling water goes, “Are you kidding me?  We’re going two-twelve Fahrenheit for this?

“Only one asparagus spear” is like “only one potato chip.”  One long, green, tuberous and, if overcooked, mushy potato chip. 

That makes your urine smell funny.

So why does its near-total exclusion upset me?

It’s – I finally realized – because of the rules. 

Somebody else is imposing the parameters – including the insane “one asparagus spear” rule – and if I want my bacterial visitors to vamoose, I am dutifully obligated to adhere to them.

My resistance is not to the asparagus deprivation but to the control.  You know why kids are picky eaters?  (Opines a formerly long-time picky eater.)  It’s the one thing kids are permitted to decide.  I’m not a kid anymore, but I still like to decide what goes into my mouth.

And now I can’t.

Which has seriously altered my demeanor.  I don’t love Mexican food.  But now that it’s prohibited – “No beans” – I suddenly tear up passing Tacos Por Favor.

I perceive this phenomenon is an ominous portent – one irreversible step, diminishing my personal freedom one soul-sucking asparagus spear at a time. 

This looks to me like big trouble.

If I am deprived of food I don't really care about…

What’s next?


Wendy M. Grossman said...

Now you've piqued my medical curiosity.


JED said...

I don't understand the shingles reference. Are you hoping that by not eating asparagus (and bread etc.) that the shingles that is alrady in you will not "bloom"? Shingles is a virus, not a bacteria. So you must not be referring to that. Or are you hoping to keep down the population of bacteria that the shingles virus feeds on?

Like Wendy, I'd like to hear more about this.

FFS said...

It seems like something got lost between the time you were thinking about it and when you were writing about it.