Cumberland Times-News

July 6, 2013

The temptation is still there, but easier to resist

Jim Goldsworthy, Columnist
Cumberland Times-News

Goldy’s Rule 144: When people tell you to behave, or ask if you’re behaving, tell them this: It gets easier every day. (My dad once told me, “Wait ‘till you’re 80, and see how damn easy it gets.”)

One of those diet plan commercials was playing on the television, and it featured several women of various ages in their before-and-after modes.

The “before” mode showed photos of them looking like average folks, maybe a bit on the plus size.

The “after” mode showed women in bikinis who looked like they never woke up fat one day in their lives.

One of them, a quite attractive lady, said she had done something she hadn’t done in years: go to the pool with her kids in the aforementioned bikini.

She pronounced it “poo-ul,” which is one of the American grammatical quirks that reacts upon me like fingernails scraping across a blackboard.

“Pool” is a one-syllable word, and so are “cool” and “school.” (“Cavalry” is pronounced the way it’s spelled: Christ died on the cross at Calvary; Custer died at Little Big Horn in the cavalry. And there is no such word as “mischeevious.”)

But I digress. The lady in the bikini said she was 50.

A friend who is more or less my age chuckled and said, “For some reason, older women get better-looking all the time.”

I told him my father explained to me that this would happen, and he was right.

What Dad said was that as I got older, I would find a that wider range of women appealed to me, in regard to both age and configuration.

This from a man who, being smart enough to realize that he had found the best woman in the world, was abjectly faithful to my mother. (My life would have been a lot simpler and easier if I had started listening to my father sooner than I did ... and to my mother, as well. She was one of the wisest people I’ve ever met.)

Some of the “before” ladies in the commercial looked just fine, as far as I was concerned.

I told my buddy another thing I’ve noticed is that when I was younger, I frequently encountered women I might enjoy getting to know.

But the older I get, the more women I see that I wouldn’t want anything to do with ... for a variety of reasons, iding the fact that some have vocabularies that would have put to shame any of the male patrons in my grandfather’s barbershop.

 Coarseness can be useful for amusement purposes or to achieve a desired effect now and then, but there’s little to be said for it as a way of life.

As Mister Spock once said, the biggest difference between a civilized man and a barbarian is that it is far easier for a civilized man to behave like a barbarian than it is for a barbarian to behave like a civilized man.

I suppose that everything I’ve said here about women applies equally to men. This, at least, is the impression I get from talking to my female friends.

What I refer to as Goldy’s Rule 84 goes hand-in-hand with Rule 144:

Rule 84 says: One of the injustices associated with growing older is that even though your stomach gets bigger, it can’t hold as much food as it once did.

The temptation to misbehave in gastronomic fashion is still there, but the ability to yield to it has diminished greatly.

Two of my co-workers and I were discussing this fact recently.

“I wish some of these restaurants would serve smaller portions and charge less money for them,” said one.

(By contrast, some restaurants expect you to pay big bucks for miniscule portions. What may be a quirk of human nature compels folks to rave about expensive meals in a top-end restaurant that would have brought complaints if they’d paid a cheap price for the same thing at a less-fancy joint.)

One eatery he and I have both patronized is notorious for its huge meals.

It reminds me of how Norm Peterson on “Cheers” used to talk about going to The Hungry Heifer and getting The Feeding Frenzy Special (for two).

What you usually get in the place my friend and I were discussing is The Feeding Frenzy Special For Three. I told him I’d like to know how many to-go boxes it goes through in a week.

“At least their prices are reasonable,” he said, and they are.

Obesity is said to be one of America’s greatest health problems.

My feeling is that there are two reasons for this:

Younger people probably are fat because most of their physical activity is limited to moving their fingers across a keyboard of some kind, either texting or playing computer games.

My compatriots and I largely spent our free, non-school time looking for a baseball, football or basketball game someplace (and walking or riding our bikes to get there), or simply playing in someone’s yard.

We ate junk food, too, but burned off the calories. There weren’t many fat kids in our schoo-ul.

Here’s why I believe older people get fat:

We’re sitting at home, glued to the television. There’s not much on worth watching, so we turn to one of those channels that features food shows.

My favorite is Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” which takes him to wonderful small-scale eating places across the country. I like Guy. He not only is funny and gracious to these folks, but he promotes their restaurants and even mentions them in subsequent shows.

The problem is that I frequently see something he’s eating and tell myself, “THAT’S what I want.”

As he said in one of his shows, “You’re Jonesing at home, aren’t you? Right now, somebody’s running downstairs to make a sandwich.”

I can tell you from personal experience that this is how it works.