Jawad Qureshy, Day 3

Breakfastless in Burnaby

So I was running a bit behind in the morning and decided to skip the oatmeal preparation for breakfast. Instead of a hot breakfast, I took with me 5 granola bars – thinking I could stagger them over the course of my day until either I gave out or they. I didn’t think at the time of course, that this would be too much of a problem. I work odd hours and will often skip a mid-afternoon lunch. As I was going to get off work at 3pm anyway so I thought it would be easy to survive my version of the hunger games, get back home by half-pastish and have something more substantial then. But in the best tradition of plans laid by mice and men, there was a slight twist in the tale.

The granola bars we had bought were the non-gourmet generic variety, so I had not realized that they were made in a petroleum refinery between the fractional distillation of diesel and heavy oil. As such, during the course of my eating the aforementioned 5 bars of granola, I felt not only that I was getting maybe a little high on sugar, but that my Octane levels were a bit elevated as well. I tell you with only a tiny bit of exaggeration that if someone had dipped an oil-stick into my insides at that moment, they would get a nice full reading of good old 10W-30. While chomping away at the granola bars – and they did require some chomping I tell you, I also thought of something other than just my own cylinders. I realized that if all I could afford to eat were petroleum by-products such as this, I would soon end up either blowing smoke out of my hind regions or contract some deadly disease requiring a trip to the local mechanic.

And here I thought – we have public policy in the finest tradition of a corporate democracy. As a society, we are unwilling to provide ways and means to people who are currently unable to buy healthy food. We are however, happy to spend an ever increasing percentage on an expensive health care infrastructure to try and prolong people’s lives as they contract diseases which are known to be if not preventable then at least mitigated through healthier diets. We seem to believe as a society that if we give people who are currently cash-poor more cash, they will somehow screw us all up and we will all end up cash poor. Instead, we prefer to keep that cash, then spend even more cash to try and manage people’s inevitable health problems through a centralized bureaucracy that is becoming more and more unaffordable to us all because it depends largely upon disease management through corporate manufacture of pharmaceuticals purchased via the public purse. The worst part of all this was the realization that I could think of a ginormous variety of ways through which people could end up on social welfare, but with food such as this to fuel my thoughts, I could think of none that did not require some magic or fantasy as realistic ways out – which just increased my respect for people who survive the experience.

At this point, the fumes were getting a bit heavy – so I gave up trying to think. It may have been the petroleum talking, but I could have sworn I heard the voice in my head that doesn’t understand economics saying – ‘should have bought apples instead’.

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