Why Do I Do It…?

I cling to the delusion that I’m a relatively intelligent human being.

It only took me one try to learn that you don’t guide the plug into the socket by gripping the prongs with your thumb and forefinger.  I’m generally a pretty quick study that way.  When it hurts, I figure I must be doing something wrong.

But I recently came to a realization that shook the very core of my confidence:  I’m a very slow learner when it comes to eating.

Not that I don’t know how to eat.  Far from it.  I’m an eating prodigy.

My problem is I don’t know when to stop.

For some reason, I lack the judgement I’m able to exercise in all other areas of my life.  I apply the “if it hurts, stop” rule with a high degree of success until it comes to food.  Then the rule comes out looking more like, “if it hurts, keep eating until it really hurts, then stop for a while and drink beer until you can eat again”.

I prefer to call this “gusto”, which is a nicer way to say “stupidity”.

After several decades of research and analysis, I’ve concluded my friends are to blame.

It can’t be the beer impairing my judgement, because I’m capable of hurting myself with or without it, though the whole effort is more enjoyable in the presence of alcohol.

It can’t be me, because I don’t eat like that when I’m at home.  I’ve had people come up to me at a party and say, “Wow, I wish I could eat like you and still stay that slim.”  To which I respond, “Don’t bother wishing.  I don’t even eat like me.”

This phenomenon was hammered home a few weeks ago at a friend’s birthday party.  We were sitting around the table eating take-out Chinese and shooting the breeze until suddenly I glanced at the completely cleared table and asked, “Am I the only one still eating?”

And everybody laughed and said, “Well, duh.”

I was in pain.  I had been comfortably full when I took that last helping, and I knew I didn’t need to eat more.  I ate it anyway.  Then I ate brownies and birthday cake.  Then I propped myself in a chair and held my stomach and groaned.  Then I drank some more beer.  If we’d stayed any later, I’d have been back into the snacks.

Why do I do it?

It’s not peer pressure.  Nobody says, “Hey, I bet you can’t eat this.”  In the first place, they’re mature human beings and I’d like to think we’re all a little past the point of silly challenges.  In the second place, they know they’d lose the bet.

But that’s not the point.

I’ve got nothing to prove, and even if I did, I’d be embarrassed to prove it with sophomoric excesses.

So I can only conclude it’s some sort of hive-mind telepathy by which I absorb and respond to everyone else’s appetites.  I’m not eating for me; I’m eating for everybody in the room.  Ergo, it’s not my fault.

Maybe I’ll wear a tinfoil hat to the next party.  Think that’ll fix the problem?

15 thoughts on “Why Do I Do It…?

  1. Do it for the collective! The Chinese would be proud.
    Come to think of it, maybe it’s all the Chinese food? I can’t stop when I’m having Chinese food either. I think that is really their way of trying to take over the world. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!


  2. As a vetran of repeatedly exercising impaired judgement on a routine basis, I sympathise but have no inteligent comment to make. Already tried the tin-foil hat…didn’t curb my appetite but I do get great cellphone reception; so I have discontinued my cell carrier and now get faster downloads while I enjoy unlimited data. However now when the neighbor’s down the street open their garage door by remote, I randomly switch to one of my many MPD aliases. Apparently my brain is a condo for cohabitating multiple personalities, none of which are terribly inteligent either. I think I will close now before I utter something incredibly stupid again.
    I loved the comment about the hive-mind telepathy. You may be on to something.


    • Aha! Improved cellphone reception – an added bonus! Do you think I should make little horns on my hat, like a Viking helmet? I bet that’d improve my reception (to cellphone carrier waves; probably not to parties). Besides, Viking horns are cool.


      • The design department approved the vikiing horns but the liabilty dept balked without a signed release waiver from you promising to not head butt unsuspecting bystanders. In triplicate and notorized.


  3. Consider your eating habits to be a high intelligence quirk. Your brain has so much high-quality processing power, the massive amount of heat generated in your head has to go somewhere. What better place than an overly-full stomach? 😉

    I have an eating quirk, but it isn’t how much I eat (though I’ve been know to put away impressive amounts). It’s what I eat. I have a habit of eating raw garlic, jalapeños, and other unidentified hot peppers. My husband asks me why I do this. I say, “Because they’re so good!” while dabbing my face and eyes with a damp napkin. BTW straight sugar is best at removing the burn of capsaicin from your mouth. Simply pour it into your mouth, or in civilized company, sip sugar water. The best thing for a capsaicin burn on your fingers (after washing with soap) is repeated dunking in ice water.


    • Oooh, I like the way you think! Now I’m feeling all proud of my magnificent brain. 🙂

      And thanks for the hint on capsaicin. I rarely encounter a burn bad enough to need instant removal, but next time I do, I’ll try the sugar trick. For fingers, Hubby and I have discovered that industrial hand cleaner works wonders (like the grease-removers that mechanics use). It lifts the oily residue off and lessens the burning sensation. Don’t think I’d like to try it on my tongue, though…


    • I’ll get back to you on that. Significant research may be required. I may have to start crashing strangers’ parties in order to achieve statistically relevant results, but I’m willing to sacrifice myself for science.

      Hey, you can’t get arrested for crashing a party wearing a tinfoil hat, can you? As long as you leave quietly after drinking all their beer?


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