Thanks for reading! Before we dive in, I thought I'd give you a brief introduction. I'm a humorist living in the Boston area but will be returning to the Pacific Northwest (for good!) this summer. I'm working on my second novel and contributing to various blogs and websites such as Cracked
and Comedy Central's Indecision
. When I'm not writing, I work as an open source web programmer, consulting for environmental groups. Like the protagonist of Captain Freedom
, I love a good barbecue and even sideburns.
This week I won't be writing overly bloggish pieces, even though I know you want a catalog of whether I've flossed today. Because I know my dentist is reading this. Speaking of dentistry, I have a cracked crown that I haven't been able to repair because I'm on book tour, and I don't need Novocain to impede my speech. The crown so far has refused to fall off the tooth, but I have promised the people attending my gigs that if it does so during a reading I will throw it out to the crowd, just like a bride at a wedding.
This Friday I'll be posting a column that I've developed for my blog, The Taste of Freedom, called "Ask the Superhero," in which Captain Freedom will respond to the most pressing questions of the day. Leave any questions for the Captain in the comments and he might just tell you everything you want to know.
My Own Hall Of Fame Achievement
Since we're in the early days of baseball's spring training and the chatter in the air is of A-Rod, steroids, and asterisks, I'd like to explain my own record. I shouldn't brag. It was a happy accident. But it's true. Just last summer I ate more than five fruit and vegetable servings, surpassing the recommendations from the USDA.
The day started out normally. Early in the morning, when it was time to pack lunch, I threw a peach in my bag. Maybe I'd eat it on the train.
That never happens. The only circumstances under which I'll eat a peach or an orange is if I'm surrounded by a Greek diner's worth of napkins and perhaps some sort of trough or spittoon to catch the errant juices.
Nutritionists complain about the American diet. But until someone contains the peach and other exuberantly succulent fruits I'll stick with the Pringles, better yet any potato chip that is presented in a paper bag that could double as a napkin.
When you work with computers every day, either as a programmer or writer, you have to be fastidious about your hands and the amount of food that comes in contact with your keyboard. I've seen computer keyboards with enough food to last a family of five in a Fairbanks winter. But eventually the "T" key stops working because of the gummi bear that's molded around it, and I dare you to attempt to write a novel without the letter "T."
The peach was conveniently ignored. After I got off my train I was hungry, so I stopped at a deli and picked up a banana. Back when I lived in New York and I commuted to TriBeCa, there was a guy who hawked bananas at the top of the stairway leading out of the subway exit, across from the DVD bootlegs. One for $.15 or two for a quarter. Since the banana was perhaps the only untainted item sold by a NYC street vendor, I'd buy a few every day.
The banana was consumed for second breakfast. I figured, at that moment, having had that and the peach in my bag, I just might eat two pieces of fruit that day. Unusual, sure, but I thought nothing of it.
It wasn't until lunch when one of my coworkers offered me some fresh raspberries from the South Station farmer's market that I realized, Wow, I could really do this. Five servings. In one day.
You can't imagine the pressure I started to feel. People don't realize what it's like when you're out there, eating fruit. All of a sudden I started to play with the numbers. How many raspberries constitute a serving? Three? Ten? 100? I could have easily eaten the entire pint, but that would have been rude and maybe not even enough to constitute a serving. I was beginning to realize what a head game this can be.
The day wore on and I thought more about the USDA and its food pyramid. Why a pyramid? Does it have anything to do with the pyramid on the back of the dollar bill, the one with the eye of Sauron staring out? Does the secret society which controls the government and to which the pyramid nods, want us to become more fit so that we'll... build them some pyramids? Most importantly, could this be another cheesy Nick Cage vehicle like National Treasure?
Then came dinner. There was a lot of bread. I love bread. Don't fill up on bread, I told myself. But it was baked that day, with a rammekin of olive oil and coarse sea salt at its side. Irresistible. Why doesn't olive oil count as a vegetable?
It didn't matter. Dinner had barely begun but I knew I was going to clinch it. I wasn't cocky at this point, just confident. Our appetizer was melon slices enveloped in prosciutto. You want someone to eat their fruit? Au gratin is for chumps. Wrap it in thinly sliced ham. Or bacon. Fruits and vegetables lose some of their nutrients when cooked, but cloaking them in prosciutto isn't cooking: it's preparing. I ate three of these melon slices. Not to show off. I hate melon. But if I were not going to fill up on bread I'd fill up on prosciutto, regardless of what fruit is attached like a lowly barnacle on a lobster tail. The three melon slices easily put me at four servings.
My family was really supportive in my endeavor. At the crowning moment of my perfect fruit game, my mother-in-law passed me some salad, which was composed of miniature golden tomatoes drizzled in balsamic vinegar, oil, sea salt and a few handfuls of chopped basil. I knew I was home free. She smiled. A few helpings later and I was far past the five required USDA servings. To round out the meal I enjoyed the pasta as well. I did this on my own, without performance enhancing drugs, with the possible exception of olive oil. There would be no asterisk next to my name, just a simple line in the record books: G. Xavier Robillard, 7 Servings, Fruits/Vegetables.
Since then I've dialed it back. After such an accomplishment it's time to focus on triglycerides. I'm a young man, I have a long career ahead of me. Perhaps I could break my own record with only vegetables. Are ten servings of fruits and vegetables a possibility? I don't want to make any promises to the fans, but I think so.
Current Events: Tonight I'll be reading at McNally Jackson Books. The reading is part of their Author/Editor series, in which I'll be chatting with my editor and Harper Collins superstar Carl Lenner