That bologna sandwich turned eating into a miserable production. From that moment on, I deconstructed and reimagined the eating process of every food set before me with both diligence and border-line mania...
I blame Mike Shelley. Mike Shelley in my first-grade class. The only kid who sat with me at lunch. He told me to eat the bologna first, and not only that but then tear off the crust and eat the bread, turning it with each small bite in a circle until it was all gone. That’s how Mike Shelley ate his bologna sandwiches, and I did too—for a REAL long time.
That bologna sandwich turned eating into a miserable production. From that moment on, I deconstructed and reimagined the eating process of every food set before me with both diligence and border-line mania. With a bowl of cereal, I drank the milk then ate the crunchy, barely sodden flakes. With a bean burrito, I licked the beany, brown paste then rolled up the tortilla and ate it dry. I was an abomination at dinner gatherings and family holidays, yet at home I remained a model of innocence. Behind closed doors and out of the public eye, oddities were permitted to slide. So long that I cleared my plate, my folks didn’t care however which way the food passed down my throat. But what they took for misaligned creativity was positive obsession. I don’t remember when I started counting bites—but when that became a part of it, I was truly at my worst. Food became a shackle. Appetite twisted into torment. A child eats a birthday cake with zeal, I ate mine one sprinkle at a time, licked the frosting, and ate the cake, naked. Yeah, both me and the cake as bare as can be—but more on that in the next chapter.
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