It has come to our attention that the mayor of New York City has taken it upon himself to tell people how much sugary soda water they can purchase on a given visit to the convenience store. Claiming he is only doing this for the benefit of his subjects—who are, he seems to think, too stupid to regulate their own food intake—he has capped their, um, cup at 24 ozzes.
Out here in the rest of the country, we think this is nuts. Especially those of us with a libertarian bent, who think that if a person wants to eat nothing but fatty pork and keel over with a heart attack at a young age that should be their constitutionally guaranteed right to do so. Want to talk bloated, gorged and gluttonous? Let’s talk about the government’s “budget”. Who is the government to tell us what we should or shouldn’t eat?
I like food. I also like to eat out.
On occasion. For the sake of the household budget, my family eats out twice a week. Once a week we’ll go to a fast food place (read: cheap) and once a week we’ll go somewhere a little nicer. The rest of our meals are eaten at home—fixed expertly by my wife and just chock-full of health and happiness.
It’s not like this for everyone, though. A study a few years back said that the people of Oklahoma City eat out more on average than any other state in the Union at 17 times a week! I checked out my calendar and—unless the Okies have added a meal to the standard regimen of breakfast, lunch and dinner—there are only 21 meals in a week. This may explain why the Southwest Airlines flight from Oklahoma City to Dallas has to taxi on I-35 the whole way because they can’t get the planes in the air.
My family and I took a trip to the Dallas area over the weekend and one of the things I like about such trips is eating out. We hit some fast food places, a couple “finer” dining experiences, and—I’ll tell you the truth—after two days I was ready for some good ol’ home-cooked meals.
It’s not just that my wife is a better cook than those employed by most restaurants. I like to be able to put on some music I want to listen to, and feel free to eat fast or slow as the mood takes me without a waiter hovering over my table. I enjoy being able to get up and go get my own glass of water (or other beverage) when the mood takes me.
I also like being able to walk around the block after a meal without feeling like a coronary episode is impending. See, after I eat out, I generally go get back in the car and drive to some place. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems like the food starts to settle in almost instantly and, by the time I get an opportunity to walk later, I’m feeling heavy and bloated like—and I mean this in the best possible way—an Okie.
But this is just me. I don’t want the government telling me or anyone else how much to eat, drink or consume. I don’t want them telling restaurants they have to waste menu space on printing the calorie count for an order of grease-soaked cheese fries. I don’t think it’s any of the government’s business whether I eat out 21 times a week or none.
I also don’t think it’s any of the government’s business who I talk to on the phone but I guess that ship’s already sailed.