From time to time, I'll read, see, or hear news reports about an ongoing or impending food shortage of one sort or another. Invariably, one of the following causes will be cited: war, drought, harsh winter weather, or rising fuel prices. And I'm sure each calamity has its own part to play in all of this.
But I think I have discovered the real cause of the food shortages we seem to suffer through on a regular basis.
Think about it. Have you ever watched a teenager eat? Every meal seems like the last meal of a condemned man. They eat and eat and eat, then as soon as they've finished they ask to eat some more.
It's incredible, really, watching them shovel food into their mouth like a train engineer stoking a coal fire. There's almost a terrible, grotesque, and hypnotic beauty to the entire process. It's a bit like watching an accident unfold in slow motion; you want to look away, yet you are inexplicably drawn to the horrific spectacle taking place before your eyes.
I come to these observations from the vantage point of having a teenager of my own. Just as CNN is representative of the 24-hour news cycle, my son is indicative of the teenager's 24-hour eating cycle.
Even before we've finished breakfast, my son will invariably ask "What's for lunch?" No sooner have we cleared the table after dinner than he'll ask, "Can I have a treat?"
I have, from time to time, asked him, "Don't you ever get full?" The answer, all too obvious now, is no.
Even though I drive a large truck each day that gets in the neighborhood of 14-miles per gallon (of diesel), my largest expense each month is for food, much of which ends up in the stomach of my teenage son. Such is the price of parenthood, you might say.
I've hit upon a novel, if I do say so myself, approach to resolving the expense issue and, in the process, helping to stretch food supplies and reduce shortages. Ban teenagers.
By doing so, we'll cut costs, save money, make dwindling food supplies go further, and improve the overall mental health of adults the world over. Sounds like a workable solution to me.
There's just one snag in this plan. Getting rid of teenagers would also have the unintended consequence of basically ending the human race as there would be no next generation to take our place. A serious drawback, I grant you, but I haven't given up hope of finding a way around this.
In the meantime, though, I guess I'll just hope for more overtime at work so I can afford to keep stoking the unquenchable fire. I just need to make sure to keep my hands clear. It wouldn't be a pretty sight.