Prose Header

An Immodest Proposal

by Edward Ahern

With apologies to Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”

Johnathan Swift’s logical solution to the Irish potato famine is unfortunately dated. Humans now deform eating and drinking, among the most mundane of activities, into unsustainable luxuries. Current eating habits focus on unnecessarily expensive and environmentally dangerous diets, ludicrous when one considers that the race is capable, along with rats and cockroaches, of eating almost anything.

Water, free and tasteless, is adulterated with artificial fruit flavors, sugar, sugar substitutes, carbonation, food coloring, non-natural vitamins, preservatives, and assorted chemicals of uncertain origin and usefulness. For a small serving of these witches’ brews one pays a premium of at least a dollar and throws a plastic bottle into the trash.

Bread — in essence ground up, leavened and baked cereal grains — has an average of twenty yards of shelf space in supermarkets. But for several thousand years, humans survived with no choice at all, gnawing on whatever locally grown plants the local baker could process with no extra charge for millstone grit.

White, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, seeded, flavored and sugar-iced absurdities are offered in pockets, loaves, muffins, buns, baguettes, croissants, brioches, and pastries. To say nothing of cakes and pies. It bears remembering that an adequate diet for prisoners was once considered to be muddy water and maggoty bread. Were they not perishable, designer breads would be even more expensive but, even so, one pays several dollars more for indistinguishable fiber to line his stomach.

Beer, a staple drink for the common man since at least the ancient Egyptians, is merely alcoholic, liquid bread, and acts the same way on one’s waistline. But there are now more brands of beer than residents in several small countries. Lager, stout, porter, ale are clearer or darker, stronger or weaker, lighter or heavier, flavored or unflavored. Many inexpensive beers, often brewed from rice, must be drunk cold, because frigid drinking masks the poor flavor of the offering. Some beer companies charge extra for this deficiency of taste and body.

Meat — once a luxury only the nobility could afford to eat regularly — is now consumed at most if not all meals. Knowingly in the case of pork, beef, chicken, mutton, turkey, goat, venison and goose. Best not knowingly in the case of various stews and dishes where the ingredients are often roadkill, rat, monkey, squirrel, possum and various small birds viewed as cute.

With meat, one enters the realm of the absurdly expensive. Kobe beef comes to mind, as does the prices charged by high-end steak restaurants. But meat in large quantities is arguably unhealthy for humans, and the thirty-two ounce steak consumed at an expense-account meal will probably worsen rather than enrich one’s life experience.

This listing could be continued, but the point is hopefully clear: the human race consumes bogusly differentiated foods while pillaging both flora and fauna. There is a modest proposal to correct this aberration — the Neanderthal diet.

Neanderthals were hunter-gathers who neither sowed nor reaped. They drank water and ate seeds, insects, nuts, fruit, shellfish, carrion and, perhaps on occasion, other humans. They didn’t farm, and they certainly didn’t use a credit card at a juice bar. They were also minimalists in housing and clothing, but these are subjects for other treatises.

Requiring the world’s populations to follow this diet would have immediate beneficial effects on the environment. Dogs and cats would resume being of use to humanity or resume their place on the menu. Woods would replace fields, wild predators would flourish, global warming would abate, and natural childbirth would reign supreme.

The multiplier effect of this diet would also occur quickly. Given the relative shortage of these naturally occurring foods, most of the world’s population, especially in urban areas, would die off. This would accelerate the positive environmental effects mentioned above.

Other benefits would crop up. Food allergies would disappear, as those susceptible would starve. Because most of one’s waking hours would be spent looking for food, complex economies would collapse, and modern warfare would be impossible. Cosmetic and hair-removal products would disappear, and the race would enjoy a renaissance of hairy legs and nostrils, pungent aromas, and help in lice-picking. Those few who survived this process would have strong natural immunities.

Given the current world problems, the adoption of this diet seems inevitable. Humans with the best access to these naturally occurring foods would have the best chances of survival. This writer encourages the readers to band together, acquire knives and hatchets, commandeer sugar-laden and artificially preserved foods as bridging rations, and occupy farm and woodlands by driving off the civilized.

Refuse wanton misnourishment and again become one with nature!

Copyright © 2015 by Edward Ahern

Proceed to Challenge 617...

Home Page