Bread and Circuses
It’s Sunday evening and I’m exhausted. I feel like the previous Friday and Saturday nights excised more than their usual pound of psychic flesh.
“You look tired,” Monique, our Sunday hostess observes.
“I’m feeling wiped out today,” I reply. “I think my blood sugar’s low.”
“Eat some candy,” Monique says. “Mitzi brought a bag of Twix bars and some M&Ms.”
Mitzi, one of our newest waitresses, always brings in bags of candy at the start of her shift. It’s a nice gesture that makes her very popular with the kitchen guys.
“You know whats interesting about Mitzi’s candy mama routine?” I ask.
“Do you know why Mitzis been working double shifts six days a week?”
“Cause she needs two root canals or something?”
“Do you think theres a connection between all the sugary stuff Mitzi’s bringing in and her dental woes?” I ask.
“I never thought of that,”Monique admits.
“Maybe she’s got some kind of deal going on with her dentist,” I say. “He gives her a discount and she drums up business.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Monique says laughing.
“Is it?” I say. “Sometimes I think restaurants make deals with cardiologists to keep peoples’ cholesterol high.”
“Now you’re being paranoid,” Monique says.
“Am I?” I reply. “A study just came out saying chefs don’t care how many calories are in the food they make.”
“Its all about taste,” I reply. “And calories be dammed.”
“Sugar, fat, and salt are what make going out to eat enjoyable,” I say. “Trust me.”
“Its true,” Monique says, “The food in restaurants always tastes better than what you make at home.”
“It’s cabal between chefs, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies,” I whisper. “Let’s turn Americans into fat, toothless, high blood pressure diabetics so they can spend billions of health care and we can buy yachts.”
“Now I know you’re paranoid,” Monique says.
“It’s all bread and circuses!” I crow. “Just before Rome fell the elites kept the populace fat, happy, and distracted from what was really going on.”
“We don’t feed people to the lions anymore, Monique says,
“No,” I reply, “Now we have Reality TV and fast food.”
“Dude,” Monique says, “Take a pill.”
When I’m tired and cranky I start free associating conspiracy theories left and right. I need a nap. I need to chill out with something tasty.
“I’m going to the back to get a Twix bar,” I say, “Do you want one?”
“Hypocrite,” Monique says teasingly.
“Life is about balancing ideals and reality,” I say.
“You should teach my philosophy class.”
“I’d probably get fired.”
I head to the back and tear open a Twix Bar. As Im munching away I remember I had a root canal, two crowns, and went on Lipitor within one year. Yeah, I’m a hypocrite – but I’ve been going to the gym and haven’t smoked a cigar in ages. Life’s a balancing act.
I finish my candy bar and enjoy the buzz as the processed sugar slams into my bloodstream. That Twix hit the spot. I feel better.
But I can’t shake the sneaking suspicion I’m right about the bread and circuses thing.