As Archie and Edith Bunker used to belt out at their piano, “Those were the days!”
Anyone younger than the age 40 most likely has no idea who Archie and Edith Bunker are…or were. They were the main characters on the classic 1970s sitcom, “All in the Family.” During the opening credits of every episode, the long-married couple sat down at their piano and sang a tune about the way things used to be.
I’m old enough to have watched the show even before it went into syndication, but I’m young enough to have been blissfully unaware of what the “Gee our old LaSalle ran great!” lyric in the song was referring to until I Googled it 30 seconds before tapping out this sentence on my keyboard.
For me, “the days” I’m referring to for the purposes of this column weren’t that long ago. Actually, they date back only about one year. In those “days,” on most typical work days, given the nature of newspaper deadlines, I’d work through lunch. With a deadline late each morning and then so much digital, online communication to stay on top of throughout the day, the concept of “lunch” has long been foreign to me. Every once in a while over the years, if someone asked if I’d like to get together for lunch, my stock, sarcastic retort would be, “Huh? What’s this thing known as ‘lunch’ that you refer to?”
But at some point most afternoons, I’d break from the office and venture homeward, where I’d head for the kitchen. On most occasions, some salsa, maybe some ranch dressing and cheese would be swiftly snatched up from the fridge. The next stop was the cupboard where, tucked on the upper right, some variety of Doritos or Tostitos could invariably be found.
That was the menu of choice if my salty tooth felt particularly deprived. If my sweet tooth’s demands prevailed on any given afternoon, I’d instead search for something like a couple of Pop Tarts to wolf down.
And, then, whether the snack was salty or sweet, it was late lunch time. Or more like a mid-afternoon empty calorie, high-fat gorge-fest. Then, on a food high, I’d fight the incredible urge to take a quick nap and instead trudge back to the office. Inevitably, a couple short hours later, when my wife and kids would come home from school, after-school activities and/or work, they’d all be ready to eat a hearty supper and right quick, while my body was still telling my brain, thanks to my molasses-in-winter metabolic system, that I wasn't hungry.
Page 2 of 2 - It's said that your metabolism is more active when your body actually has something to metabolize and it sure makes sense, but for many years I ignored the widely held belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Coffee got me through the mornings and, well...you're aware of my lunch philosophy now.
No, I'm not totally reformed. I'll force down a banana or granola bar in the morning now and then, but I'm still not what you'd call a "breakfast person." But thanks to my lovely, caring wife, I now sit at my desk around noon every day at work and eat a reasonably balanced and semi-nutritious lunch that she has made for me that morning in our kitchen. It's pretty simple...typically a sandwich, a banana or some type of fruit, and maybe a granola bar, or yogurt and maybe a bag of chips now and then.
Funny how it's changed things. I'm still finding myself struggling with the reality that I actually look forward to eating lunch, and that I'm even hungry at what the vast majority of the populace considers the typical lunchtime. Lunch is no longer some foreign concept to me, it's actually part of my daily reality and, get this, it turns out my body and brain actually need and like food eaten in sensible increments. Shockingly, it seems as though I function better as a human after I’ve eaten a half-decent meal.
And, yet, fresh off eating a balanced lunch moments ago that included a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana and granola bar, my brain is apparently unable to come up with a clever ending for this column.