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Death By Cheeseburger This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Food is no longer just eaten. First we scrutinize its caloric content, then the fat grams, the cholesterol, the sucrose and sodium, and the fiber. We do not eat because we are hungry. We prefer to eat for Proper Nourishment. Although myriads of foods are available, we limit our quantities. And remember, no eating after eight o'clock - it's damaging to our digestive system.

There must be some compelling force within us that gives us the strength to pursue our daily struggle against the malign demon Fat and his brother Cholesterol. Do we want to live well into the age at which our gaunt, wretched bodies are incapable of responding to our own brain signals? Would we like to make supermodels look like epitomes of gluttony?

Or are we just doing it because everyone else is? Are we terrified of being caught red-handed with a hamburger by our tofu-gardenburger-eating cohorts? If we choose to live the life of the Other Half, we, too, must die before age thirty-two, and be sent to join sumo wrestlers and shortening advocates in the junk-food underworld. Or perhaps we will wake up one night only to look in the mirror and find a grossly obese person standing where we would have otherwise been.

As we skim the latest copy of Dining Out, we realize that a hamburger and a scoop of real ice cream does not have the sole power of clogging arteries and adding inches to our waistline. And we musn't disregard the fact that most centenarians are not slaves of the scale, but eat what we used to consider a sensible diet.

If you are willing to lose your job and all of your friends, and would like to show the world that you have a death wish, put your chef salad and low-fat dressing in the refrigerator for the night (no exercise machines, either). Go to McDonald's and order a Big Mac. Then stop at the Wendy's drive-thru and pick up a medium frosty, and drink until the straw starts making that weird slurpy sound. If you like, you can continue eating past 8:15.

The true test comes the day after, when you wake up a little past dawn, and look in the mirror. Unless you haven't yet put your glasses on, you should recognize yourself. And you'll probably look the same as you did before, only maybe a little tired. If only the top part of your face fits in your full-length mirror, and children climb up your legs mistaking them for tree trunks, it would be the appropriate time to call your lawyer. But if there is no recognizable difference in your appearance, you have miraculously survived the ultimate test, and that is reason to be proud. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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