Reptile beguile

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

The Discovery Channel has Shark Week, and not to be outdone, I’m going to host and review my own little Reptile Week here today. I’m pretty sure my version won’t be nearly as riveting, but you know I’m going on with the show anyway.

First episode begins with a slightly frightening letter I received from Gladys “Granny” Adcox of Highlands. She reported a snake sighting inside the confines of her home.  I’ll go ahead and quote her verbatim, because it’s funnier to hear her tell it. We’ll paint some visuals together.

“Wish me luck. I’ve got a snake in the house. My lady that works for me came in about 9 o’clock yesterday and found it. She didn’t know what to do. So, she got some insect spray and sprayed it on its head.”

Ok, that’s not the end, but I must interrupt the programming to say that made me laugh right out loud! I can just see tiny, in her-mid-nineties Granny and another lady hovering over a serpent with a can of Raid.

“It started crawling off and we watched it go into a front bedroom. We closed the door, so it wouldn’t get out. My neighbor came over and brought his flashlight and a little hoe, but failed to find it.”

I don’t know why, but I see Inspector Clouseau complete with the detective hat and magnifying glass. I hope the kind, un-bumbling neighbor helping Granny gets a chuckle out of that.

“My granddaughter and her husband came today and searched that room for about 2 hours. They didn’t find it.”

I tell you, that Granny is tough as nails to remain in that home. A lesser woman (me) would have vacated those premises until the slitherin’, bug-spray-smellin’, forked-tongue intruder was captured.

“A friend of mine is going to come over tomorrow with her little dog. We hope the dog will be able to find the snake.”

Now, in proper TV fashion I’m going to leave you all hanging. Queue the ominous music, and cut!

Man it’s fun clapping that black-and-white director thingy shut. I feel so powerful having you all perched on the edge of your seats.

If my writer (ahem, Granny…) provides another installment, I’ll be sure to share.

Episode two involves my being a total sucker for those pop-psychology questionnaires, “Are you (fill in the blank)?”

I get a kick out of studying me. Not that I’m all that interesting, but because I’m my own guinea pig. No one else would put up with my shenanigans or the constant questioning.

The one that caught my eye this past week dealt with “social connectors” or people who can connect with virtually anyone, and maybe anything.

According to the in-depth, four-question quiz I am one, with a bit of an oddity (go figure) in that I’m introverted. But I’m also a “social chameleon”. Ooh.

On some level I’ve always known that and I was glad to confirm and see the slant that painted us environmental color-changers in a positive light.

You know I looked it all up and like everything else there is a dark side: Some “chameleons” are not as sweet as me and use their skill for nefarious (that’s wicked times a hundred) purposes.

Anyway, I sure hope Granny found that sneaky snake. If not, I may have to pay her home a visit . . . cross over to the dark side and use some cunning and trickery to coax it out of her life.

I may need a few of you to assist. Somebody needs to hold the dog, I’ll need another to hide the bug spray and the rest, please distract Clouseau with the hoe!

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Depending on independence

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you, Holidays

Being that I’m sitting down in the late evening of the Independence Day holiday to work on what I surely should have done before, I have independence on the brain. Not necessarily the red, white and blue variety even though I’m listening to the bombs bursting air as I type. Procrastination always makes for a few personal fireworks —requiring me to light a match so to speak—but I’ll get on with it.

Independence: The condition of being independent; freedom from control or influence of others; self-governing; self-reliant.

That brings up a whole swirl of thoughts for me on both the small and large scales of life here on this big rock.

When I think big and beyond my mostly petty grievances, I get pretty perturbed over where things currently stand given some folks labored hard to give birth to this nation, but my blood pressure can’t withstand even my own political rants, so I’ll not go there.

Pondering on the much smaller and what affects me directly, I wonder if true personal independence is even possible when considering the dictionary definition—especially the “freedom from control or influence of others”.

Freedom from control or influence?  Think about it. Even the most independent among us can’t claim it entirely.

Yeah, I know, it’s probably not what normal folks thought about while sitting at Baytown’s Bicentennial Park watching the Fourth of July parade. But as I waited for my youngest little cherub to make an appearance with her cheerleading team, that’s exactly what crossed my mind.

I’m externally controlled every day by a whole lot, some of it by choice, some if it not. (That was me channeling the great Theodore Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss.)

And as I held that thought I realized the red, white, and blue which surrounded me was pretty fitting: I’ve turned red in anger and embarrassment, white with fear, and have nursed my fair share of blue bruises while struggling to stake out my own ground.

That metaphor further begged the question: Is having so much choice really liberating or a grand invitation to step in what the parade horses dropped in the route?

Make no mistake: I’m not for the removal of any freedoms we presently enjoy, just wondering if this centaur would function any better with high, possibly electrified fences. Probably not.

I need to roam freely. And while that roaming may appear to have no particular purpose to a single other soul, it bears repeating words of the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame: “Not all those who wander are lost.”

And so it all came full circle in my mind as I sat on the curb watching the parade come around the bend.

I’m dependent on independence.

Without it I’d surely wither and die. But to live in and celebrate a country that (mostly) allows it . . . it was enough to make this girl cry.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Some days you’re cracked

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

Sometimes life —and 18-wheeled trucks—throws things unexpectedly in our direction. Some of those things crack us up, others leave a crack.

And that reminds me of a cute saying, “Some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.”

It’s not hard to discern the meaning: Sometimes we cruise through life pushing through all things in our path, and other times . . . SPLAT! I only wish that splattering could be as painlessly instantaneous as those unfortunate bugs.  But I’m going off on a tangent.

This past week, while driving on Interstate 10, enjoying some catchy tune and absolutely minding my own business a big truck ahead threw a rock from one of its tires. My sporty ride and I tried to move from its rapid trajectory, to no avail.

I feel pretty lucky to have gone almost two years without a chink in my new car’s windshield, but DANG!

Isn’t that moment you hear it hit a most special cruddy one? I was all alone, but I think I muttered a string of gosh-darn-its and other things befitting all shades of the rainbow.

That out of my system I tried assessing the damage while still traveling at or below the posted speed limit. (I would never speed, and especially not while aggravated because I learned in Defensive Driving Class after my last speed-moving violation that not following traffic rules while emotionally charged is not a good combination. It is my civic duty to take care of me and those motorists around me. I’ll pat myself on the back for paying such careful attention while being punished for slightly breaking the law.)

I knew it broke the glass, but I couldn’t find it. Mere seconds later I saw what looked like a spider right below the driver’s side windshield wiper. Thanks to the extreme heat we experienced, it started to splinter within the minute.

I suppose I could’ve lived with a chip in an area just below where my eyes rest while driving, but no, it had to travel on up right where I have to look at it each and every time I sit behind the wheel.

Now I know in the grand scheme of all that life entails, this is truly a mere annoyance.  Far worse can and does occur to kind folks the world over every day. But still, it hurt.

And it’s going to be expensive to replace should I decide to do so.

I never knew how much I’d enjoy and grow dependent upon the heads-up display technology that allows my car to project all sorts of information onto the windshield so that my eyes never have to leave the road. Turns out that’s some special glass that can do that, but it’s no better at taking a rock than its not-so-special counterparts.

So now I’m left to decide. Do I live out my drive time with that blight always in front of my face? Or replace the windshield knowing all too well it’s only a matter of time before it’s my turn again in the rock meets windshield barrel? Decisions, decisions.

While I’m grateful I wasn’t the bug that day, being the windshield isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be either.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

The tortoise and the hair loss

Author: admin  //  Category: From me to you

My trusty canine sidekick, Scooter, is getting on up in years and is perfectly content to quietly watch the world go by from close proximity to my feet.  So, when he gets excited over something and alerts with a bark and rapid tail wag I know I need to investigate.

Last weekend while enjoying some serene moments before the rest of the household was out of bed, he went berserk at the back door. Knowing it must be something quite novel to stir such a response, good judgment overrode my desire to fling the door open and unleash my beast.

At that very same moment, ground-level movement caught my eye.

It took me a moment to focus, and another few to make sense out of what my eyes were trying to relay to my brain: a rapidly moving turtle with a shell about the size of a soccer ball cut in half.

Living in close proximity to Cedar Bayou, I wasn’t totally shocked by its presence and imagined it dug under the fence to gain entry. I was more puzzled by its speed.

I plopped down on the floor next to Scooter and together we observed our backyard oddity.

Suddenly reminded of Aesop’s tortoise and hare, I was amazed by the not-so-slow and steady creature. And then, in my strange fashion, I felt a kinship with our visitor.

It was clearly on a mission, neck stuck way out pointing the way. It was even opening and closing its mouth in a snapping fashion as it traveled.

I explained to Scooter that was why he couldn’t go out and “get it”. Not sure he understood, but his nose surely would if I’d let him loose.

But I also knew that in a flash it could halt and disappear into an inner world with no room for company . . . invited or not. Ah, a true introvert much like me.  I envied the shell. Mine is not as apparent to others.

I’m slow, methodical, and basically over-think every thought that comes into my mind. Distraction during those thought processes make me snappy. And hares hopping around me all over-anxious-like. . . enough to make this girl SNAP!

And I can guarantee that if I’m physically in the middle of a swirl of activity, I’m in my shell.

It’s comfy in there. I have it decorated and full of all my favorite people and things.

But on a quiet morning, sitting at the back door with one of my dearest friends, watching the world go by from his feet I was fully outside my shell and happy to see my animal kingdom counterpart in action.

And getting back around to said reptile making its way across my yard: Scooter was quite distressed over my not allowing him to handle the intruder that was apparently too close to me for his liking. And when my poor doggie gets upset, he pulls the hair off his backside with his teeth. That paints a visual, doesn’t it?

But he loves me in spite of my snappy-turtle ways, so I’ll tell you he’s still top dog in my book . . . even with a bald backside and hair in his teeth.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

In a pig’s ear!

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

I don’t know about you folks, but I have had my fill of unscrupulous businesses looking to make some extra dough engineering “food” by mixing up nasty concoctions and passing them off as something I might rather enjoy eating.

We all heard about the “pink slime” that mimicked meat . . . I believe of the poultry variety. I didn’t get too worked up because I swore off chicken nuggets and the like many years ago.

I’m no rocket scientist, but my palate alerted me something was not quite right with those chicken-like products. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that when I can’t put my finger on something, my tongue steps up to the plate and makes an objection. I listen when it speaks.

Then I heard about meat glue. If you find yourself with a few free moments—make sure your stomach is empty—take a look.  That high-dollar prime rib may be lesser cuts in disguise.

Shoot, eating paste from the jar at school back in the day was mere child’s play. And I decided to eat said paste of my own volition. I don’t like being tricked into eating “glue” in my steak and who knows what else.

And the story goes on with product after product.

Some bee-hind out there somewhere is even simulating honey and having us believe it’s the real thing. The phony products have been found on the shelves of many well-known retailers—unbeknownst to them, of course. Like you and me, they bee-lieved they were getting Buzzy’s best.

But this week when I witnessed the breaking of the latest food scandal, I threw my hands up in disgust. These money-hungry swine have gone too far.

Chinese police are investigating the discovery of a batch of “fake” pigs’ ears.

The bogus ears were discovered in a market in Ganzhou City in the eastern province of Jiangxi—where I keep one of many vacation homes—after a customer (bet it was one of my friendly seasonal neighbors) complained of a strange smell when cooking them.

You did know that REAL pig ears smell divine when heated, right?

Food safety officials tested the “ears” and determined they were made out of gelatin and sodium oleate, which is commonly used to make soap.

Ah. Surely you’re imagining that gelatinous, soapy “ear” in the frying pan and the to-die-for aroma. Makes me want to squeal just thinking about it.

Photos circulating on the Internet show the “ears” being examined. They appear light brown with a plastic-like texture. YUM.

Rest assured, an expert came along (thank your lucky stars) and offered up a sure-fire method for telling real ears—a popular delicacy—from fake ones.

Pay close attention. Are you ready?

The genuine article should have . . . hair . . . wait, it gets even better . . . and visible small blood vessels.

Somebody pass me some paper towels, I started salivating profusely just typing that.

Whew! I feel so much better now that I know definitively how to differentiate between the real thing and imposters.

Am I sufficiently grossed out? Has this scandal affected my ability to enjoy something that sounds delicious? Is a pig’s hind-end pork?

Careful, folks, some of those pigs’ ears you might want to eat are not.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

I adore an April fool

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

In honor of the day, I’m wearing a court jester’s outfit. I hope this doesn’t come off as disjointed because that could happen when you wear a silly jingle-bell hat while working.

I never realized how much I moved my head until now. Who knew I bobbed such a catchy tune?

Aside from acting foolish, I aim to do something quite serious. Someone I absolutely adore was born on this very day. Yep, April Fools’ Day, and I can’t begin to tell you how appropriate that is.

If you happen to know my grandmother, Ms. Ruby Watson, go on up and personally deliver happy birthday wishes. Tell her I sent you.

I’ll refrain from giving her age, but know she has been mistaken for my mother, and my mother mistaken for my sister.  I can only hope their genetics play a massive role in my own aging, but let’s get off the topic of my impending wrinkles.

The origins of this light-hearted “holiday” (it’s not an official one) also referred to as All Fools’ Day are a little shadowy, but many people still recognize it with all sorts of good-humored foolishness.

Way back in the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25, and in some areas New Years was a weeklong celebration ending April 1. It has been suggested that April Fools originated because the folks who started celebrating the new year on January 1 were making fun of those who celebrated on other days.

But the day may also have roots in the Roman festival of Hilaria (yes, our English word “hilarious” traces back) which was also held on March 25.

In those times, the days prior to Hilaria were spent in tears and mourning. Without going too deeply into subject matter I’m no expert on, castration rituals were performed on the eve of “The Day of Joy”. I don’t know the whys and wherefores, but I suspect we can all discern the origin of that sadness.

Anyway, on the following day it was no longer proper to be in a mournful state.

I imagine people got creative and found ways to make each other laugh and smile. The human condition being what it is and has been I bet they got a chuckle out of much the same of what we do today.

All of that said I’m so glad to have the aforementioned Ruby Watson, the best April fool, in my life. She has always made me smile.

“Fool” can be interpreted in a less than flattering way, but make no mistake, she has never been one to lack wisdom or common sense. Quite the contrary. She just knows when and how it’s OK to be silly.

I’ve said before, I’m a first-born, practical, mostly-take-life-too-seriously stick in the mud. She taught me how to have fun and how to be silly.

I stayed with her and my granddad many times as a child. At times, she was all business – things needed to be done. But when the work was done, we played.

One time we gathered a bunch of acorns. I didn’t know what I’d do with them, and don’t even remember what we collected them in, but later that day she showed me how to make little people out of them.

We drew faces and the little cap on top made them look like they were wearing hats. I think we somehow glued bodies together but my clearest memory is of their happy little faces and sitting next to her with markers in hand.

I guarantee my creative streak, although in shown a different medium (I work in words, not acorns or any of the other things she was good at creating with) came from her.

And happy little faces . . . imagine mine on the day of my fourth birthday party getting a Barbie-doll cake handmade by my grandmother to show off and share with my friends. The cake portion was a beautiful pink ball gown and the top was a real Barbie body wearing that cake dress.  My face still gets happy remembering that day. I was so proud.

From one impressed birthday girl to another, happy birthday Grandmother!

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Sprang from darkness

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

I’ve never been able to figure out the strange phenomenon that is me tied to the weather and/or our messed up southeastern Texas seasons, but on any given day a look outside pretty much mirrors my inside.

The getting dark early: I’m tired of it and was more than happy bidding it a fond adieu as I slumbered through the wee hours this morning.

Add to that the worst drought in decades dried out and burned up not only on my exterior dwelling, but interior as well.

Outside, my lawn and flowerbeds took a severe beating as did my pocketbook via the increased water bill as I tried to keep at least the major players hydrated. I was only mildly successful and greatly disappointed over the not-so-good return on the time and money spent.  

I’m more than thankful for the recent quenching rains that finally brought some relief, but now I’m left with death and decay surrounded by teeming, lush weeds.

A look inward shows the same. I’m more baffled by what survived versus what didn’t.

I’ve been dragging out the gardening tools and waiting impatiently for the “longer” days. I’ve never been more excited about springing forward.

Our tiny daylight savings leap into the future makes me giddy as it puts the past a little further behind me with minimal effort. Even I can’t mess anything up in the golden hour that passes in the seconds it takes to reset the clock.

While I’ve always had mixed feelings about whether or not I’d really like to see myself in the future, I woke and stole a glimpse right as we made the transition.

The vision was a non-event. I was on my side, curled up in the fetal position, possibly drooling, and I even heard a snort.  Just scary, so I did what I do: closed my eyes and hoped it would all be better when I reopened them.  Maybe I caught me at a bad time.

But the best part is that the longer days are finally here and I can get to the work of surveying what survived, assessing what’s healthy enough to salvage, and digging out all that needs replacing. Then comes the harder part of determining what to plant in the gaping vacated holes.

Some folks seem to have an eye for what would do best. Unfortunately I’m more the trial-and-error type. Heavy on the errors.

I’m reminded of a cute poem I read many years ago by Robert Fulghum entitled, “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”.  Look it up if you have the chance. It truly brings daily life down to its most basic and the best way to get through.

I’ll have to work on my own version—something along the lines of, “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Gardening”—even though I’m not much of a gardener I’ve got several in my family who I’ve watched over the years. My thumbs are only green with envy.

Life really is a constant tilling up of the foundation, fertilizing, cultivating, planting, watering and pruning. The list goes on, and I probably don’t even have that all in the correct order. I may never get it right.

But I’ll get to plowing because even I can create the errant blossom once spring has sprung me from darkness.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

My noodle says it’s ill-eagle

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

With spring officially starting in a few weeks, I’m looking forward to warming temps (not that we really had much of a winter) and spending time in the great outdoors.

I don’t necessarily have to be involved in any specific activity, but the centaur in me prefers being outside the confines of walls.  Is it any wonder I get a little frisky when spring beckons? And the birds, they have been a chirpin’.

Having more males than females in my life, I’m often introduced to things that woman-kind finds off-putting if not repulsive.

 Yes, it’s difficult at times managing my southern-belle femininity in combination with that fact, but it’s a cross I gladly bear. I hate to shop, so I don’t exactly fit in with the girls, either.

So, imagine my thoughts when I received a text message late one night from a young male who sleeps down the hall from me, “Hey. Guess what? Noodling is no longer illeagle (sic) in Texas. You go with me?” I’ll address the misspelling of illegal before I close, but I must dive right into this noodling.

No doubt some of you have already heard about it or have seen folks performing it right on the television screen. I was aware of the practice as I had watched . . . hold on.

This is going to sound terribly stereotypical, but blame the TV producers for not using the college-educated, fully-teethed and might I add fully-clothed members of the noodling subculture for their documentaries.

Anyway, I had seen the long, scraggly-bearded, dentally impaired “Nearly Nood” Billy Jim-Bob in nothing but a pair of ratty, cut-off denim shorts (one leg slightly longer than the other . . . the shorts, not the legs) diving into a river, shoving his arm down a hole and wrestling out a flapping, whiskered giant (50-60 pounds) of a catfish.

I’d even heard it was illegal in most states and came to learn that getting caught fish-handed in Texas meant charges of a Class C misdemeanor and a $500 fine. But that’s no longer the case as of September 1, 2011. How did 6 months of my life go by and none of you informed me of this?  

“No one knows why it was illegal,” said Houston representative Gary Elkins, the author of the legislation legalizing the practice in Texas.  

Some rod-and-reel anglers worry the practice hurts the catfish population because it occurs during the spring and summer spawning seasons. However, Texas Wildlife officials stated we had plenty of catfish as this legislation was being considered.

 Bradley Beesley, Austin-based director of noodling documentaries said, “The fish nest in holes along riverbanks to defend their eggs from intruders.  The hiding spot makes them easy prey, but “when attacked”, Beesley adds, “they bite”. Ya think? And catfish are equipped with bands of small, but very abrasive teeth.

I think I’d rather take on lions, tigers, and bears, (oh my!) before the snakes, snapping turtles, and muskrats noodlers routinely encounter.

And one man received thirteen stitches in his chin after briefly battling a beaver. That’s more fun than anyone should be allowed. Have you seen the teeth and claws on those critters?

So, lawful or not, my noodle says you have to be one sick bird to go against all logic, stick your hand into a dark hole, wiggle your underwater worm-looking finger as bait and shove your hand down the gullet of whatever bites you in the process.

Jeremy, you know I’m adventurous and all, but the answer is no. How about we sit by the riverbank and work on spelling instead?

© 2012 Natalie Whatley

Maybe current’s not so bad

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

On this date 134 years ago, Thomas Edison was awarded U.S. Patent No. 200,521 for the first device to both record sound and play it back, otherwise known as the phonograph. This invention came about as a spin-off from his ongoing work in telephony and telegraphy.

While trying to repeat transmission of a single telegraph message, he devised a method that captured a passage of Morse code as a sequence of indentations on a spool of paper. Thinking something similar would work for a telephone Edison then devised a system that transferred sound to an embossing point and then mechanically onto an impressionable medium—paraffin paper first, and then a spinning, tin-foil wrapped cylinder.

The rest is history, and what became the modern music business was born.

I know you’re all wondering why in the world I’m telling you this and furthermore why it grabbed my attention.

For the most part, I go through life feeling as if I was born into the wrong era. Rapidly changing technology continually forcing me closer to living every moment faster than the speed of light makes it worse. 

Defiantly, I push back, holding much of it at bay (I still prefer a real book in my hands and much to almost everyone’s chagrin I’m still sporting a flip phone), but I also know I risk being whisked out of existence by the current if I don’t at least tread water.  I’d even wager I’m approaching sink or swim.

That said, last Sunday in a rare-for-me couple of hours I glued myself to the television and watched a full two thirds of the 54th Grammy Awards.  Yes, I pretty much avoid television as well. My hundreds of channels at my fingertips via satellite are akin to “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink”.

 As a huge fan of all sorts of music (imagine me playing the bassoon) I dislike all the hoopla surrounding such award shows, but like apparently millions of others I wanted to see Adele perform. This won’t be about her, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this amazing artist who indeed “swept” the awards. Deservedly so, but I digress.

The Grammy, originally known as the Gramophone Award, is an accolade given by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences recognizing outstanding achievement in the music industry.

The gilded gramophone, also known as the phonograph record player, on the statuettes given to recipients is none other than a replica of the invention that first gained Edison real notice—one that was so unexpected by 1877’s public that it was described as “magical”. The patent was unprecedented as it was the first device to record and reproduce sounds.

But besides that phonograph, he also originated the concept and implementation of electric power generation and its distribution to homes and businesses. Bless him. That was a crucial development in the modern industrialized world in which I thoroughly enjoy lighting and air conditioning. (He is often mistaken as the inventor of the first electric light bulb. That’s actually not true, but a story for a different day.)

He was one of several who set in motion the current I so fight. But where would be without things constantly evolving?  Standing still I suppose, and that’s no fun, either.

I can’t see it now, but the rapid technological current will likely bring us some pretty great things.

Carpe diem. Seize the day. Live in today’s moment. Embrace swimming in the electrical current. I bet we’ll be transmitted to some really interesting places. And guess what? It’s all being recorded.

 © 2012 Natalie Whatley

That’s fowl

Author: natalie  //  Category: From me to you

This may be old news for some of you, but I’ve been digesting it for a couple of weeks now and trying to decide if I believe it or not.

Across the pond in Great Britain, 17-year-old factory worker Stacey Irvine collapsed having difficulties breathing. Hospital workers hoping to get to the bottom of her “illness” and severe anemia heard claims from the young woman that she had never in her life eaten a fruit or vegetable and had been on a steady, 15-year diet of nothing but chicken nuggets with the occasional side of fries.

By chicken nuggets I do mean the processed kind that have been accused of being made from mechanically separated poultry and “binders” which are then formed into a meat paste, breaded and fried as opposed to real bona-fide deboned chicken breast coated and cooked the same way.

Miss Irvine claims her mother introduced her to what many consider pseudo-food when she was a mere two-year-old tot.  She and her mother say that from that point forward chicken nuggets took the lead role in her dietary pecking order.  

As you can imagine Stacey’s mother has been blasted by comments from thousands.

Having dealt with my own picky eaters as I traversed motherhood with toddlers I somewhat understand desiring the path of least resistance, but not for that many years and definitely not knowing the dire health consequences.

 I hesitate to judge, but surely her backbone must have been stronger than a young child’s food preference.

The advice I always heard —they will eat what they’re offered when they get hungry enough—always worked for me and my young-mother friends.  I didn’t see anywhere that Stacey’s mom ever tried the old-fashioned starve ‘em route. And I realize to some near starvation may sound cruel, but look where not intervening landed them.

Of course Stacey has now been interviewed ad nauseum, and I’m a tiny bit embarrassed to admit I think I’ve read them all. Some included pictures of the young woman. Surprisingly, she is not overweight. However, she has dark circles around her eyes and her skin is devoid of that rosy 17-year-old youthful glow.

I’m not even sure I entirely believe her or her mother’s accounts that nary a piece of produce has ever touched her lips. Is it really possible to subsist on a beige, colorless diet for that long and only have anemia and breathing difficulties to show for it?

I’m very curious as to her long-term prognosis as doctors said her body was devoid of all the vitamins and minerals it’s believed humans need to survive.

And I thought the whole collapsing thing would be a wake-up call for Stacey, but she doesn’t really have plans to make her diet any more varied as suggested by doctors. Seems like very slow suicide, but the voyeuristic side of me sort of wants to see how it will play out for her long term.

I forgot to mention Stacey is also suffering from inflamed veins in her tongue. Maybe her taste buds are just plain angry because having virtually nothing but fast-food chicken nuggets for 15 years . . . that’s fowl.

© 2012 Natalie Whatley