I never knew what real frustration was until I married a glutton. Growing up, I was always told, “If you don’t have enough food to share with everyone else, then you don’t eat it.” I assumed everybody was taught this lesson as a child because every person I’ve dated or kept company with throughout my life followed this rule of etiquette . . . until I met Roy.
While Roy and I dated, he was a normal consumer of food. He ate a modest amount and offered to share anything on his plate, down to the last morsel, with me. But, after we got married and moved in together, Roy began to evolve into an ugly monster known to mankind as a glutton.
The first sign I noticed that Roy was turning into this god-awful piggish beast, appeared shortly after our honeymoon, during a friend’s party. After the hostess announced to her guests that the food was ready, the sweet as pecan pie woman approached me with a look of worry and shame embedded in her aqua-blue eyes. She placed her hand gently on my arm, leaned towards my ear, and said, “Janet, if you don’t mind, would you please have Roy go to the end of the buffet line? If he doesn’t, I’m afraid there will not be any food left for everyone else.”
Soon afterwards, there were my two back-to-back pregnancies. I was very sick and unable to eat most foods. My stomach was ridiculously fickle in what it would allow me to consume. I was very vocal to Roy about it, fearing he’d eat the food items I so desperately needed to keep on hand for myself and our unborn child. Despite my pleas, he ate my emergency food stashes – ALL of them – so I was only able to gain a mere eleven pounds for each of my deliveries! After the babies were born, and awakened for feedings in the middle of the night, Roy decided he would eat during the night as well; a habit he still has today . . . ten years after the birth of our last child!
Over the years, it has been nearly impossible keeping the refrigerator and pantry stocked. As soon as I bring in the bags from the grocery store, Roy races to rip the packages open, eating all he can get his hands on until there’s nothing left but wrappers and crumbs. I do my best to hide items that do not need refrigeration, but he has uncovered all the possible hiding spots in our modest 800 square-foot home; a tiny house I will probably be living in until the day I die since the high grocery bills kill any chance I have to save up for a larger home.
Family functions have become nightmares. Whenever we attend any get-togethers, he embarrasses me with all he consumes, not caring if anyone else gets a burger or spoonful of potato salad. When it’s our turn to host them, he humiliates me, not caring if anyone else gets a piece of chicken or sliver of birthday cake. And thanks to this piranha-mouthed creature, I’ll never make my highly-requested, world-famous lemon bars ever again because there were two times when he managed to vacuum the whole batch down his throat somewhere between loading the car and entering the front door at my friend’s cookouts!
I have tolerated my husband’s gluttony as best as I can over the years and the one and only thing that it has been good for is keeping my own weight under control. My friends ask me all the time, “How do you stay so skinny?” and I tell them that it is absolutely no work on my part. I adjusted and coped with Roy’s eating habits and didn’t think having a glutton in the house was too big of a problem until last year. That was when my children’s pediatrician informed me that my sons were severely malnourished and underweight. That was the last straw! I had to declare war against the glutton, whose selfish out of control eating habits would not cease even after being told our boys were scrawnier than twigs on a Japanese Maple tree. Even then, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t keep a gallon of milk in my house for more than three-and-a-half hours, a box of pop-tarts for more than two hours, or a rotisserie chicken for more than six minutes. My sons began to panic, and chose to fight fire with fire, eating as much as they could as fast as they could; they simply wanted to eat some of the food before it was gone. Now, I have three gluttons under my roof competing with one another, eating a week’s worth of groceries in under one day!
“Everything has escalated out of control and I don’t know what else I can do,” I confide to my kids’ pediatrician months later, who was now concerned that my children had become overweight.
“What foods do your husband and children enjoy the most?” he asks.
I wipe the newborn tear from my eye. “Usual stuff, you know. Pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast, soups and stews for lunch, meat with mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner, ice-cream and pudding for dessert. And it’s impossible for me to keep any milk or soda in the house.”
“Perfect,” he smiles, “I have the perfect antidote.”
Months have passed since my children’s last check-up and things have gotten much better with our household food crisis. I think I’ve finally won the war on gluttony since I’ve been secretly sprinkling fiber into my family’s food and drinks. Now, instead of fighting over the food, they’re fighting over the bathroom.
— Kelly O’Callan