Vegetal

My favorite vegetable has always been the potato chip. I am a healthy eater, lean and mean, but my comfort food, my go-to, my buddy in a bag, is the crispy, delectable, fatty-salty potato chip. Ever since I was a kid I have had a fascination with these bite-size, crunchy pieces of non-nutrition. If they were really a vegetable, if they were actually beneficial to one’s health, if I could get all my nutrition from them, aaahhh…..

But they are just for fun. And even at that, they are no longer as fun for me as they used to be. I cannot eat too many now without my tummy going a little south; I see this as a good thing, as my body telling me that I must focus on the good stuff or I will be hurting, now and in the long run. So I limit my intake, eat well, move a lot (exercise in its various forms) and do more greens, apples and carrots then the ‘fun’ stuff.

But my earliest memory of potato chips is a fun one. Detroit, Michigan, circa 1970. Four-year-old me is sitting on the back porch with a friend. My brother Scott (three years older) comes out the back door just as I am putting a potato chip in my friend’s ear. Scott tells me not to do that, and then asks why in the world I am trying to put a chip in my friend’s ear. My response? “He did it to me,” and I turn my head so that my brother can see the potato chip resting in my ear….

Scott laughs about that incident to this day. The funny thing, for me, is that I don’t hold this memory very clear; more clear to me is Scott telling it to me at various times over the years. So in a sense, I have the memory but see it through Scott’s eyes. This is a theme I will revisit time and again as I tell my story: memory. I wonder at times if events actually happened as they live in my mind. Or if I was present for something, or just think I was since I heard the story. How do memories ebb and flow, how do they fade away? How are false memories born?

Well, anyway, I still don’t recall why I had not removed that chip from my ear….silly kid…

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