By Joe Cross
From Tupelo, we headed to another musical capital, Memphis, Tennessee, and then on to Guthrie, Oklahoma. It so happens that Guthrie was the original capital of Oklahoma and today is a perfectly preserved enclave of Victorian architecture, a designated National Historical Landmark. With its authentic flavor of the Wild West, it turned out to be a lot of fun for a guy who’d been obsessed with being a cowboy as a kid. Fittingly, we found our way into a gun shop. Personally, I’m not much of a gun person, but that was one of the reasons I thought it would be interesting to chat with the owner and his wife. They were happy to talk with us. Both were pretty overweight. The owner, Terry, shared with us that he and his family went out to eat most nights, almost exclusively for fast food. He’d recently given up smoking on his doctor’s orders, but told us he had no intention of giving up the food he loved to eat. He said he’d rather die “fat and happy”.
Fair enough. I knew all about trying to live life as a fat and happy man, but in this regard, I had failed. I’d been fat and miserable. If Terry was lucky, maybe he would end up living a long life and then dying “fat and happy”. However, the many illnesses obese people face mean they are more likely to endure a lot of pain and misery before slipping through to the other side at a younger than average age. In fact, Americans can expect to spend the majority of their health care dollars during the last few years of their lives. Only the truly lucky drop dead “fat and happy”.
I took another look around the gun shop. For me, it was endlessly fascinating to see guns on sale like candy in a candy store. The right to bear arms allows most U.S. citizens to acquire guns for self-protection. Maybe this is a bit of a stretch, but it occurred to me that vegetables play a similar role, protecting us against invaders who want to hurt us. I examined a 9 millimeter and considered replacing it with a large knuckle of broccoli as a guard against cancer. Or how about arming concerned citizens with a bunch of carrots as protection against cardiovascular disease? Of course, the veggie vigilantes would need a strong lobby group. I could invite the NRA (National Rifle Association) to convert to the NVA (National Vegetable Association), whose singular goal would be to educate Americans about the dangers of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, and how these things infringe on a citizen’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I was momentarily tempted to share my vision with the gun shop owner, but he was armed with a 12 gauge while I was just holding a juice!