Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Other Other White Meat

I’ve never smoked nor drank, but I know addiction. As a freshman, I almost destroyed my life thanks to Bumble Bee and a can opener. Every night for dinner, without fail, I ate a tuna taco. I couldn’t stop eating them. I think my body developed a reliance on the Omega 3 acids and the succulent smell of Chicken of the Sea. Other typical dorm room foods didn’t compare. Top Ramen? Macaroni and cheese? Spaghetti? Matchsticks compared to the torch of tuna tacos.

Now, don’t think that I was eating uncivilized canned filth. Au contraire. Picture a freshly squeezed canned fish wrapped into a golden brown tortilla treat, laced with lettuce, and slathered with a special spicy mayonnaise sauce (mayo, Tabasco, and a hint of lemon juice). Succulence.

The first bite into a well prepared tuna taco slaps the taste buds into attention. “What, Sergeant Dave?” they ask, “Can this meal really be healthy?” Yet, it is. All the food groups are represented—meat, grain, vegetables, dairy, and fruit (the lemon juice).

Dinner was my favorite hour of the day. I came home and raced for the can opener. At least, until…the addiction set in. Addictions are never a good thing. Even addictions to seemingly good things are never a good thing. Ever heard of an old lady who was addicted to love? Neither have I, because she died years ago.

My addiction to the tuna taco led me up a path of insanity. I would constantly parlance the grocery store ads, looking for deals on cans of tuna. I was a nutcase, nitpicking over the cost-taste benefit of abalone tuna vs. “that other kind.” I stopped caring whether the tuna was in water or artery clogging oil. Heck, it could be in dish soap. I’d still eat it. I stopped caring about expiration dates and brand names. I even stopped caring about whether tuna was dolphin safe or not. In fact, I started to prefer not. Flipper tastes oh so good with a hint of lemon juice.

How did I ever come out of my hysterical state and face reality with my addiction? I owe it all to my roommate. He said I was making our place smell like an aquarium. At first, I thought it was a compliment. But he wasn’t smiling. He said that he was going to throw away all of my tuna. Oh how I hated him! He didn’t understand me! He didn’t understand tuna!

I guess I was so high on Omega 3 and mercury that I didn’t fully appreciate his act of pure love. I didn’t understand that he really only wanted to help. All I could think about was how to make him end up swimming with the…well…tunas.

It’s been a few years now, and I am almost to Step 8 of overcoming my addiction. I started a program of the three-times-a-week tuna sandwich, and then graduated over to the once-in-a-while Tuna Helper. Now instead of tuna tacos, I eat spaghetti or chicken-and-rice. Perhaps sometime in the future I’ll mix in a bean burrito. I’m open to new things now. Something really caught my attention last week at the grocery store. I saw a can of oysters that I just have to try. I hear that they’re great with lemon juice.


amy said...

wow dave you are funny. i am proud to call you my cousin

Jan said...

Kudos to your roommate. Bruce eats either canned tuna or canned salmon, for breakfast almost every day of the week. He has for years. Believe me early in the morning it is not a pleasant smell. I cannot break him of the habit!! Now i know why-- it's an addiciton; thanks for the enlightenment.

Jamie said...

perhaps that's what is dying to get out of your stomach. The poor fish is saying "I want to come back" - hence your digestive problem. it all makes sense. And the breath? well, now we know . . .