As you get older, food starts to disagree with you.
I, for instance, have always loved ice cream. Now we can have a disagreement that goes on for days.
I tried upscale ice cream and got in an upscale fight.
“Say, old chap, how do you like intestinal distress now,” upscale ice cream says haughtily, nose in the air.
Wonder, my wife, tries to warn me. She says limit your consumption. That’s like telling a four-wheel-drive pickup owner not to drive Mormon Grade.
Beans, too, are a magical food. But when we disagree, we have a spat. A blowup fight.
No longer can I dive into a pool of Beanee Weanees or swim in bean dip.
My days of wretched excess are coming to an end. In my 20s, I had a metabolism. Calories magically melted away. Today, in the “waddling years,” pounds stick around like relatives who have outstayed their welcome and are making comments on your refrigerator decorations and the nice drawing cousin Blight sent you that has gone missing.
Americans buy 40 percent of the world’s indigestion remedies, and probably 90 percent of that is bought by people 55 and older. That’s why we have to save for retirement.
If we behave like Americus Gluttinous, we pay the price. It’s as predictable as great-uncles, and good ones too, breaking out Alka-Selzer at the family picnic.
Most days, I try to behave.
If I don’t, the details are hardly mentionable in a family newspaper. But maybe I can mention just one: Bloat.
It’s the three-course dinner for the older person: Beans. Ice cream. Bloat.
When I was a kid, I could eat what I wanted without repercussions. I would visit my grandparents and eat everything but the refrigerator magnets. My grandma said I had a “hollow leg.”
Now my gastronomic horizons are more limited. I try to eat the same breakfast nearly every morning — Shredded Wheat, a banana, dried cherries, yogurt — because I know how I’ll feel. I won’t fall asleep at the wheel of my computer mid-morning and crash into a mountain of emails.
I eat the same lunch — apple slices, cheese — for the same reason. To feel right. So I won’t get in an all-afternoon food fight.
For supper, I am more adventurous. But I listen to my body. When it orders me to stop, I stop — or get punched in the gut. My body is a bully.
Most times I push away from the table before I get heartburn, which is the body declaring war. No need to give the body ammunition.
Today, in the land of double chins and love handles, in the zone of impressive marbling, where one in three Americans is overweight and the other two are lying, I try to eat in a way that doesn’t make me miserable. I try to behave. But every once in a while, just for fun, I’ll have the rhubarb pie and ice cream.