ON MY MIND: Look out — danger lurking

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

Recently there was some big brouhaha with Al Roker of The Today Show. Apparently he was visiting the White House and had an intestinal problem and went potty in his pants. This seemed to stun the public. I am guessing they were more stunned that he fessed up to the world than the fact that it happened. I’m just saying.

Fact being, poor Al’s dilemma has likely almost happened to many other fellow Americans. It just hasn’t made the national news of truth.

A couple years ago, my friend Marty and I had a play day in Grand Rapids. We saw a couple movies, had lunch, did some shopping, and ended our romp with a great big ole pot of thick, sweet Turkish coffee at a Lebanese restaurant. We felt so metropolitan. It was so not our routine. In hindsight, we could have been called the innocents. (No pun intended in that sentence.) Little did we know the danger we were in.

This coffee was not what you would call a usual suspect. It was more like a terrorist. As soon as it entered our systems it began what you might think of as an attack. Oh, we were so naive.

The next day we chatted about our fun day. We were surprised to find that both of us had been struck with a bout of apparent flu and both of us had had to stay within a few feet of the bathroom all day. Hmmm. Could it be? I think Oprah calls those “Ah hah moments.” Well, we finally had one when we realized the intestinal damage the Turkish brew had done on us. Who’d a guessed!

I learned my lesson, though. Not long after, we actually visited Turkey and I stayed nay, nay far away from all Turkish coffee. That was not an attraction this tourist wanted to take.

Not long ago, we were in Spain and went to buy some groceries for breakfast. I eat yogurt most days so I got some of that. The only brand that was like ours was called Activia. I had never tried it but I really have never had a yogurt I couldn’t be friends with, so I bought a bunch. And, to top it off, I love the actress Jamie Lee Curtiss, so that was another endorsement. I was also excited after I ate it and discovered what the word Activia means. Apparently it activates your intestines. Yowser. Suffice it to say, I’ve never bought Activia again. It is not my friend.

You all remember the story about the definition of stress — when you have a bran muffin and a big cup of coffee and then get stuck in traffic.

I spent the night at my daughter’s a while ago. I got up early and was starving. The only thing I could find to eat in her cupboards that was a ready-to-eat snack was a box of fiber bars. They looked innocent enough — all granola and chocolate chips. They were teeny tiny so I had a few to tide me over. They were so little, after all.

Then the storm hit. The one inside me. I was, once again, an innocent. I suppose at this point, you might think I would have gotten a bit more nutritionally savvy, but sadly, that never happened. I mean, don’t we know all that stuff by now? I never thought much about what fiber does for a body. I just knew the articles all say we need so much of it a day.

Much to my dismay, apparently the fiber bars work like Activia yogurt which works like Turkish coffee. Who knew there was so much food that should have labels that warn, “Danger!”

A friend shared that she recently ate homemade bean soup each day for a week for lunch. Then she had a big mess of brussel sprouts for dinner and then went to have a massage. She does not recommend this. She said the only word she could think of to describe it was “clench.” Nuff said.

If we think about it, we should all be a little kinder when we hear the tale of Al Roker in the White House. Danger is universal and who knows who could be the next victim of these foods that can strike terror in our bodies when we can least protect ourselves.

Perhaps the safest thing we can do is keep eating the same ole, same ole. There is something to be said for routine … and safety.

Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address is maureenburns@maureenburns.com.

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