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More Scruples than Mom Turtle

My mother is mad at me. She thinks I spend way too much money on food. "For what you spend eating out every single day," she says, "you could have raised six grandchildren, I mean children." When I point out that those children could no more exist on what is in my refrigerator--photo chemicals and 1998 party favors--than I could, she has to yell that maybe I could go to the market or something crazy like that. But my problem is I do go, I just can't get myself to actually buy anything. And it's all her fault. I mean, after all, she taught me to read. She taught me listen to doctors. She took me to the allergist.
      I'm allergic to everything. Everything. I mean it... wheat, corn, water, oxygen. Here's an example. I want to buy a loaf of bread. O.K. so I've learned to ignore the wheat allergy--it was only 9 on a scale of 10, and a turtle has to eat something. But corn was a 10 so I'd like to avoid that. Also soybean oil. I've read that's bad. Lots of pesticides, and poor farm workers, and butterflies killed, and airplane downings. I don't know. You can't buy anything with a good conscience.
      First of all, everything has high fructose corn syrup in it. Fruit drinks, sodas, crackers, everything. Lipgloss, shampoo, sneakers, everything. The corn lobby must pay every new manufacturer in the U.S. a subsidy to include corn syrup in its product. They stand against the wall outside the patent office going, "Psst, hey Buddy, I hear you got a new (say) heat shield for the space shuttle. Ever consider slipping a little corn syrup in there? Nobody'd know but you and me."
      Why a loaf of wheat bread needs corn syrup, I don't know. From what I understand, you only need about three ingredients for bread. At my local superstore, in the half-acre devoted to bread products, not one was made without soybean oil or high-fructose corn syrup. Not one had an ingredient list that would have made sense to my grandmother.
      And then I read that too much fluoride was bad for you. Our water is already fluoridated, so I thought I would get a non-fluoride toothpaste. Nope. Can't do it. You can have a fluoride toothpaste with 50 strange ingredients in it, in a plastic tube, in a cardboard box, shrinkwrapped, or you can gargle with water you schmuck. Oh, and your water has MTBE in it. And the bottled water is all in plastic bottles that leach toxins and mimic hormones and on and on. Or you can buy the water in a glass bottle, if you pawn your watch first.
      Plus, I noticed on my toothpaste where it says if you swallow some toothpaste you should immediately call Poison Control. I'm thinking, my God, I'm brushing my teeth with poison. Talk about tempting fate. It's like using handgrenades as loufas. One minute you're in the bath, polishing your feet (those rough things on the side of the grenade really take off the dry skin), next thing you know, that's it. The pin got caught on the drainpull and it's all over. When you live by yourself you have to think about these things.
      But really, what kind of civilized people brush their teeth with poison? A very confident people, I guess. The toothpaste says I am supposed to supervise young children, when they are brushing. But how about skip a step and just not give them poison to brush with in the first place? Is that just rash?
      I suppose I am not a very good consumer. I am afraid to buy anything. I am afraid I won't know what to do with it when I'm finished with it. I feel very guilty about trash. I am afraid some innocent little animal with big sad eyes is going to crawl into that cereal box I couldn't re-cycle and have a terrible bout of claustrophobia. Or a nice little baby whale who never even got to see its daddy will swim into that horrible bag I just got back from the dry cleaners and not like it at all. Why can't they just give you stuff without boxes and bags? Are people's cars really so filthy they can't drive home from the cleaners without ruining their clothes? Let's face it, people with open mayonnaise jars and piles of doghair all over the back seat are not the same people getting their suits starched.
      But my mother is still mad. She has to say, "Oh, and I suppose they only use holy water and unleavened bread at these restaurants you go to, and they have no boxes or bags?" I don't know what they use. I am afraid to ask. I am afraid they might be honest and say, "Look, pal, what do you want for ten bucks, real food? We've got to support the economy here. What do want to do, put people out of work, you miserable compassionless worm?" So I live in denial. I try to order organic stuff when I can, but mostly I shirk the responsibility. I was going to tell you about raisins, but it's really too much for me right now.
In a pile
Upon a log
Over the water
Third from the bottom
Secreting my own hard shell
Tom Turtle

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