A Veggie Tale

Growing up, I hated vegetables with a passion. I have no idea why, I just didn’t enjoy their taste. Pretty much the only veggies I would eat were corn and potatoes. My parents were in love with this nasty gruel called “California Blend” that was chock full of nasty broccoli and cauliflower and other garbage. If you couldn’t tell, I still am not very fond of certain vegetables.

I still cannot stand the thought of eating broccoli, cauliflower, canned spinach, peas, squash, and various others. I didn’t have sweet potatoes until I was like 15, but they would never have appeared on my “hated foods” list had I discovered them sooner. I used to hate them just by association, which I know was mean of me.

My parents tried everything to get me to eat my vegetables. They tried the “you can’t get up from the table until your plate is clean” bit. They tried the “refrigerate what’s left and you can have it for breakfast tomorrow” routine. Nothing worked. Why? Because I was a champion. I never backed down. No parent is going to watch their child suffer in malnutrition over some dumb vegetables. To me, hunger was better than molesting my palate with the grotesque smelling and tasting garbage on my plate.

I have to admit, they almost had me once. My dad told me about something called “reverse digestion”. This was a process to cure malnurishment (from lack of veggies, of course) whereby a doctor inserted a string into your mouth and waited for it to pass through your GI tract. Once it “exited,” he would then attach food to it and pull it back through the body into the stomach. Not having a firm grasp on the complexities of the duodenum and small intestine at the age of 7, I somewhat bought it. I had my doubts, and rightfully so. They had tried every trick in the book. Luckily, I knew better because I had seen most of them in action on Full House and Webster. What tipped the scales in my parent’s favor was a program on PBS one night. My dad called me down from my room to show me a procedure being performed on TV. I watched in horror as a doctor inserted a tube down a man’s throat while he was still conscious. The look in that man’s eyes said it all: EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that my dad broke down and told me that I had seen an endoscopy. Had there been a show about colonoscopies on that night, I would probably still be in therapy.