Friday, June 15

Hunger Games

This week a friend asked: “Aren’t you hungry?”

“Ummm. I don’t know, actually.”

I had to think about it. I’ve spent so many years assuming that any slight impulse toward food had to be immediately appeased, that I can’t be sure I’ve ever felt the sensation called “hunger.”

It's true that when I think about certain foods – Bacon! Donuts! Tacos! – my salivary glands start revving up. Is that hunger?

Traditionally, when I’m working and am stumped over some problem, I jump up and graze while I figure out a solution. That’s what’s passed for “hunger” for several decades now. But I notice that Batman isn’t fat, so apparently saving the world doesn’t really require refrigerator-based solutions.

Low blood sugar? Snickers are not the divinely decreed response. The good Lord invented bananas and yummy purple grapes to fix that condition. Ask any monkey. Do not ask Roseanne Barr.

Then there are those days I’m out running errands, and when I spot a Taco Bell looming, it’s all I can do to keep the steering wheel from spinning. I’m fairly certain I would have called that “hunger” a couple of weeks back.

Whenever I'm feeling happy, sad, disgruntled, bored, hormonal, frustrated, giddy, or overwhelmed, the pantry has been my first antidote. “Well, I’m hungry,” I could always say to excuse the impulse. But was I? Really?

And sometimes, regardless of whether I’ve recently eaten, I get a growling sensation in my stomach. Is it a “hunger pain”? I’ve given birth. That ain’t pain. At worst, it’s vaguely uncomfortable – far less painful than, say, watching Madonna flash her ta-tas. Now that’s uncomfortable!

I’ll bet a doctor would tell me that what I called “hunger” is actually just carrots working their noisy way through my guts. First-world problems. Sigh.

So yes, I suppose I’m fighting the impulse to eat a burrito. Am I hungry? Or am I just seeking to sop up saliva, and engage in some cheese-based entertainment? You be the judge. And here. Have an apple while you’re thinking about it.

Bottom line: I’m not living in Biafra, I don’t have stick-thin legs, dinner-plate-sized eyes, and a gas-filled belly, and I’ve probably never known hunger.

Also: Announcing that I’m “starving,” when the picnic bench I’m bowing is in danger of splitting, is probably an affront to – well, to God, at the very least. And certainly to starving children who actually do experience hunger.

So yeah. No.

I’m not hungry.