essays

No Body Parts at the Table

potatoOkay, let’s make it a rule that there can be no more body parts at the table. I don’t care if we are in the privacy of our home or out at a restaurant, prostate, vagina, rectum, testicles, gall bladder, etc. are literally off the table.

I know that there is a refreshing openess these days to discussing personal health issues, but you have to draw the line somewhere, and for me, it’s anywhere that I have a plate, knife and fork. And speaking of forks, this is a two-pronged issue, because not only do people now speak more freely about their personal health issues, but they also have no qualms about such discussions prior to and during the ingestion of food! In the current parlance, what’s up with that?

Personally, when faced with a baked potato, I prefer not to hear table settingabout an enlarged prostate. Anything with tomato sauce on it goes very badly with a description of surgery. And don’t even get me started about crab legs and broken bones. I’ve got no problem with gossip. If you want to tell me who is sleeping with whom, or which of your best friends is cheating on their significant other, I can handle that. In fact, I find that juicy gossip can enhance food and drink flavors significantly. Must have something to do with enzymes.

Perhaps because sharing food is such an intimate act, dining companions feel empowered to tell you about their bladder infection. I hate to be a killjoy but when you’re mopping up gravy with a crusty roll, that’s no time to hear about a tamalesbowel resectioning. Come to think of it, there is no good time to hear about that one, unless you’re in a doctor’s office and they are talking to you or one of your loved ones.

What can you do about this rampant food-body part synergy? Really, there are only two choices. Number one, you can put down your knife and fork and ask for coffee, because the meal is history. Number two, you can tell your dining companions before you sit down that you don’t want to talk about anything with body parts at the table -- period. No more tumors with your tamales, reflux with your rib roast, or gall stones with green beans.

It's going to be great to get back to talking about the weather.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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