Before Cheerios, After Departure

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I hate Cheerios and always have. When I was a kid I disliked the absence of purple, green, and yellow marshmallows such as were featured in Kaboom! and Lucky Charms and other healthful, sugar-infused breakfast choices for growing bodies and developing teeth. Cheerios were boring.

As an adolescent I despised the name. What the hell was cheery about getting up the morning and having to eat something soaked in a bowl of cold milk?

Now that I’m a really grouchy old man there is no food more detestable than Cheerios, or at least that was true in the month of May, in the year of Before Cheerios, or B.C. In May, B.C., we had Cheerios up on the shelf because my youngest son, who turns 18 shortly, eats them for breakfast.

Since all families engage in various forms of food poaching, especially when there’s only one bar of chocolate left, or only enough ice cream for one bowl, my youngest never had to worry about anyone poaching his Cheerios. But that was the B.C. era.

Several days ago Mrs. WM left with Junior for a months-long trip to the Far East. Now we are in the month of June, After Departure, or A.D, and one thing I can tell you is this: I’m really hungry.

In years 1-29 B.C., our fridge was always full to bursting. After less than a week into the year 1 A.D., it looks like this:

Slim pickins.

Slim pickins.

Feeling hungry?

Feeling hungry?

Now the first thing this picture should make you think is, “How does a family exist with a $325 refrigerator?” The second, of course, is that getting up in the middle of the night with hunger pangs, staggering to the fridge only to be faced with a pint of heavy cream, some vinegar, a few onions, a head of lettuce,some eggs, last night’s spaghetti, some condiments, and a jug of milk is cause for an immediate trip to the all-night supermarket. (The big plastic thing on the right is some kind of fermenting Japanese vegetable that I had to swear not to touch, i.e. toss, in Mrs. WM’s absence. I swore, but then again I’m a notorious liar.)

However, the need for food is balanced by an almost superhuman cheapness on my part and a commitment to eating everything before I buy anything. In addition to having a somewhat reduced grocery bill since 1 A.D. (daily grocery bill dropped from $25/day to $7 over 7 days), the other big difference between the B.C. era and the A.D. era is that I’ve lost five pounds and become giddy if I have to stand more than five minutes at a time.

People who claim that they cannot lose weight should come spend a few days here and try to fatten up on a raw onion dabbed with Stubbs Barbecue Sauce and nori sprinkles.

Most of all, they should try to fatten up on Cheerios. That’s what I’ve been reduced to eating in the morning, a single measured cup of Honey Nut Cheerios with a quarter-cup of almonds and a cup of milk. That was until three days ago, when we temporarily ran out of milk and I had to eat the Cheerios dry, the most loathsome food in the world, with salty almonds for breakfast.

My eldest son and I made a shopping list yesterday. It looked like this:

  1. Milk, 2%, gallon

Then we went to the store after dinner and made our grocery purchase for the week. It was a cool evening, and it’s a ten-minute walk to the store. I had to lie down three times before we got there. On the way back home he put his big arm around my shoulders.

“Love you, Dad,” he said.

“Love you too, son,” I answered.

Cheerios or not, the year 1 A.D. isn’t turning out so bad after all.

END

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