'You are what you eat?' Yeah, I’ve heard the silly aphorism many times. I'd usually respond with something akin to: “Amen, brother,” and flash a placating thumbs up, but in truth, I never did understand what it’s supposed to mean. I don’t feel like a 'Dim Sum,' but it does bring to mind a couple of pea-brains the wife encountered awhile back.
We like to frequent a local Chinese buffet known for its wide variety of excellent food and just off the Interstate of our city of nearly a half-million. Early one evening, the place was slowly filling with patrons savoring assorted plats du jour. Following a starter, the wife returned with her second course and pirouetted at our table before sitting.
“Do I have an 'ask stupid' sign on my back, or something?” she facetiously asked.
“Why, what happened, now?”
She recounted how ten minutes earlier, she'd noticed a couple in matching bib-overalls working their way toward her, pointing and crinkling their noses at different items. Upon reaching her, ‘Pa Kettle’ tapped her arm.
“I wouldn't eat here if I was you, lady," he whispered. "Nope. Me and the Mrs. was here two days ago and them there crab legs is still here agin. Jist a bunch o’ leftovers. Nope, them little Ming-ding devils cain't fool us. We're gone, and you should, too, if’n you was smart."
I cracked a risible smile. “Probably a couple o' hayseeds from Hooterville, but why the sign?”
“Why me, is more like it. You won’t believe it, but just now another turnip-top came up to me.” She giggled and went on to tell me how she was about to place a spoonful of ‘Hunan Chicken’ on her plate when a scraggly-bearded man in oil-stained dungarees leaned closer.
“I wouldn’t touch that stuff if I were you. Take my word for it, lady. I’m a trucker and know good food when I see it. I ain’t eatin’ in this dump.”
“Why? What’s wrong with it?”
“Look. Says right there in front of ya; ‘human chicken.' How they git away with that, anyways? I heard they like t’cook' up dogs and stuff, but this is over the line. You’d be wise to git on down the road too, little lady.”
I laughed, thinking that dude must have been weaned off a bellyful of gravel as a kid; dumb as a box of rocks. That spawned a thought; perhaps there is indeed something to the ditzy phrase after all. I couldn’t resist and playfully pinched her cheek. “Aw, I just think he has a sweet tooth... ‘cause you’re a hot little dish, yourself.”
“Bloody ‘ell. Get away,” she said, and brushed me off.
“Oh, I dunno,” I needled. “You know what they say, darling: ‘you are what you eat.’ At least it makes you human— my little chickadee.” But she didn't flutter those baby-blues, only narrowed them to a cavalier, “I gotcha” look.
“Why, I do believe you may be right for once— my pudgy little dumpling,” her smarmy focus shifting between my plateful of stuffed wontons... and their human storage bin beyond.
Well, what’d I tell ya? I never did like that sappy saying, anyway.