August 29, 2011

The Mother of All Analogies: Part 1

So, I've been on holiday. And during the quiet times of the holiday, I was very philosophically inclined. And I thought about writing a bunch of stuff down- to post about later.

Like really heavy, serious stuff.

And then I got food poisoning… and with the meals I threw up, I think the ideas escaped too. And the faintest of memories of how I used to write.
I got 'barf-erial amnesia'.
A rare but potent disease found to be the most dangerous in those whose brains are apparently connected to their stomachs- in more ways than is biologically obvious.

Like a deep friendship between the two organs.
Like my stomach said to my brain: 'I'm emptying myself out… you wanna give it a shot buddy?!?'
Brain: 'Eh… why not?! If you're in, I'm in.'
Yeah. I know.
My brain is quite experimental.

Anyway, a part of the recovery process involves trying to do the things you forgot even if you don't remember how anymore.
So here goes.
Bear with me.

I have this theory. The theory of eating.

Having tested it on myself a gazillion times, I'm quite convinced of the universality of it's applicability.
Unless we are dealing with the annoying, will-powered, self-controlled kind of people.
You'll see what I mean in just a minute.

Setting: You're quite famished. You've worked hard and worked up a good appetite. You're at the dining table. The food is being brought out. It's your favorite food.

My theory states that there are four distinct stages in the eating procedure that follow. These are listed below.

  • The first few bites (FFB)
  • The bites after the first few bites (BFFB)
  • The bites after the bites after the first few bites (B2FFB)
  • The bites after the bites after the bites after the first few bites (B3FFB)

These abbreviations perform the dual role of aptly naming the different stages in the theory and feigning smartness and complexity.

It did take some time for me to come up with something this brilliant.
Thank you for noticing.     

The FFB stage
You gulp down half chewed food to satiate the hunger. Even broccoli tastes good at this stage. Taste buds take a back seat, as do your teeth and tongue. Your throat is working overtime to serves as a smooth, wide passageway from your mouth to your stomach. Your vision is blurred and it's like all your body's processes have either shut down or are geared towards one thing and one thing only: Food.
More food. 

You have been deprived and hunger satiation is your top priority.

The BFFB stage
Your vision becomes clearer. You emerge from this trance-like state, feeling a little light and ethereal. Slowly, your other senses come back to functioning normally. Little by little, you begin to discern the different flavors in your meal. Your taste buds take centre stage. This stage is where most people begin the moaning about how darn GOOD the food is. The food starts playing it's role as the comfort provider.

The B2FFB stage

You now enter 'The dark side of the table'.

Or the meal.

(Cue morose Adams Family music)

You're getting full. In fact, you kind of know you're full.

You know you don't need to eat anymore.
You're quite comfortable.
Your pants fit exactly right.
You know that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you're full.
So you really should stop.

But something- like an invisible hand is pushing each mouthful from your plate to your mouth.

Spoon by spoon.
Or fork by fork.
Or Spork by spork: A hybrid of a spoon and fork.
Or Sporf by sporf: Hybrid of spoon, fork and knife.
I'm not making this stuff up.
I promise.

Your brain conjures up images of people in Somalia not getting food, tricking you into feeling guilty about stopping with the eating. Images of good food rotting away in trash cans. Images of the waiter looking with disdain at your half finished meal.

Basically, you come up with a hundred excuses to keep eating.
And that's what you do.
Keep on eating.

The marginal satisfaction derived from each additional spoonful keeps falling-
yup, I'm an economics student- but you keep eating.

I postulate that the intensity of the hunger before the FFB stage is directly proportional to the length of the B2FFB stage.

The hungrier and more deprived you were before you start eating, the greedier you will be for more food- and the longer stage 3 will last.

This explains the phenomenon of binge eating immediately after a particularly strict diet regimen.

I know.
The geniusness of the above observations is enough to make me blush with pride.
I thank God for my geniusness everyday.

The B3FFB stage
You give up and leave the remaining food on your plate, to be taken away.

I might add that a very few people actually reach this stage.
Whether or not you do reach this stage, depends only on one thing.
The size of the meal on your plate. The amount of food given to you.

And of course, if you're that annoying will powered, strong willed person I mentioned earlier.
And you know when to stop.
We are ignoring you for the purpose of this theory.
In this theory, you are like a fictional character.
Like unicorns.
Or maybe, you're extinct.
Like dinosaurs.
That makes more sense.
You know?!?
You're like T-Rex- towering over all us lesser beings.

This stage involves letting go of your plate.

It doesn't count if you do it because you're sick of eating. If you can barely breathe because you're so full and your clothes seem to have shrunk. If you have to wait for sometime before even getting up- because you don't think your knees will be able to take your bodyweight.

God knows- I've been there. I've done that.
Let me tell ya.
Doesn't feel good.
This stage is one of the foremost causes of 'barf-erial amnesia'.

It doesn't count if you let go of your plate after you've made sure your plate has been polished clean.

It counts if you do it because- you're a dinosaur.
You've had your fill and don't want anymore- ready to part with any remaining food on the plate. Without even a shadow of regret in your heart or a tear in your eye.

Also, if you're at a restaurant, you can't doggy bag the leftovers.
There are no loopholes in my work, dear reader.
No loopholes.
Well…  very few, that you will never see, anyway.
Because I don't see them.
Or I don't let you know that I see them.
Or I make you think I don't let you see them but I do.
See them.
Or don't.
I'm officially confused.

Moving on.

You will now witness a flabbergasting intellectual leap from this simplistic theory of eating to the existential problem and responsibilities of our generation.
The mother of all analogies.
The queen bee of metaphors. 
Hold your standing ovation for the end of Part 2.
We'll… okay, fine.
We can have some of it now and some of it later.
If you insist so vehemently.
You're too kind really.
Too kind.

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The Pious Hippie by Ms. Pious Hippie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.