Many years ago, I saw a small article in my local newspaper. It was just one of those “filler” articles, but it struck me. I asked myself: “How can this possibly be true, and will any readers question its validity? Or will everyone just take its absurd claim for granted? So I sent off a letter to the editor. Recently, while going through a box of mementos in my basement, I discovered a copy of it, so now you can see it, too.
To the Editor:
Being as interested in nutrition as anyone, I read with interest the little article that appeared recently in your paper.
“On the average, by the time a person reaches the age of 70 years, he will have consumed the equivalent of 150 beef cattle, 225 lambs, 24,000 chickens, 310 swine, 26 acres of grain, and 50 acres of fruits and vegetables.”
A few quick calculations told me that I had been eating far too little in my first 30 years to ever reach this quota. Not wanting to appear “below average” the rest of my life, I decided to at least match this diet henceforth. Thus far, I have met with much difficulty.
The problem is that I will have to eat 343 chickens every year, as well as two cows, three lambs and four and a half pigs. If I eat a whole chicken every day starting New Year’s Day (not a very good day to start, incidentally), I will still have to polish off the cows, pigs and lambs in December (which is not going to make the next New Year’s chicken any more appealing).
I thought of perhaps trying two chickens a day, which would leave me with a full six months to shovel down the other livestock. The only hitch in this plan is that the two chickens a day may not leave me room for the 41 square feet of grain and 80 square feet of fruits and vegetables I must eat every day. And when am I going to get time to do all that shopping and cooking?
Maybe I could combine everything into one huge stew (sort of a “zoo stew”). It might be very good since I’ve always liked the vegetables mixed in with the juices from the meat. The gravy should have an interesting flavor.
Well, I guess I’m going to have to cut this letter short. The bell went off in the kitchen, which means my second chicken of the day is ready. Anytime that you or any of your staff would like to drop over for a bite to eat, no need to call ahead. I always have a roast in the oven.