Food Therapy

I’m not the smallest guy around. I enjoy my pizza, burgers and just about anything else on which cheese may be included. It is safe to say that I could use a little direction with my culinary concoctions. One day a friend with her own edible issues called and suggested we go to a one-night class on food choices that our health insurance plan was offering. I thought, “Sure, I could stand to have some guidance.”

Our evening started at an Italian restaurant where we felt we would be having our last meal. Enjoying every cheesy, tomatoey bite, we slowly psyched ourselves up for the night of instruction and scolding we were about to receive. “Psyched” is right – arriving at the “class”, we were annoyed to discover that it was a group therapy situation instead of traditional teacher/class learning.

I guess the first lesson in food choices was whether or not I wanted a Milky Way, Butterfinger, or Twix when the “teacher”/therapist offered us a bowl of candy without a hint of irony behind his offer. He genuinely wanted us to enjoy ourselves. I refused any of his maniacal sweets¬† thinking it was all a trick. One look around the room revealed that not a soul trusted that man’s candy.

That same look around the room revealed that my friend and I were two of the three youngest participants in the room. Large senior citizens occupied the majority of the chairs that had been circled together like a nocturnal wagon train protecting the central occupants from an attack of savage high fat foods. The other young participant was a skinny young woman who thought she was fat. She bolted at the first sign of a questionnaire, possibly running off to join a bulimia class down the hall. We weren’t exactly sure.

The "preacher" extolling the virtues of healthy eating that he clearly had been practicing in his own life.
The “preacher” extolling the virtues of healthy eating that he clearly had been practicing in his own life.

Since it was a group situation, we were all encouraged to express our feelings to the whole group about food. While everyone was able to get a few words in, one gentleman across from me (possibly in his 80’s) began a food monolog not entirely unlike a sermon. He preached all about the heavenly things we should be eating, and condemned the food that brings us down. He knew it all – probably because he had been through this class several times before as we later discovered.

I was so glad that I had the foresight to take my sketchbook along with me. I had anticipated sitting at a desk facing a boring teacher at night and needed something to keep me awake. The circular seating arrangements made for a much more interesting life drawing session by far. While everyone else was taking notes about how self-esteem will make you thinner (please see my last blog post for thoughts on THAT subject), I was busy wielding my pen around creating these ink sketches of the “preacher” and his lovely wife.

The "preacher's" wife, not to be confused with a Whitney/Denzel movie of the same name.
The “preacher’s” wife, not to be confused with a Whitney/Denzel movie of the same name.

So, that night I learned that (alleged) bulimia is bad, vegetables are good, self-esteem classes don’t help repeat attendees, eat a good solid meal before going to a health clinic, and never EVER forget to take your sketchbook to night school.