Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Saving my daughters from junk food made me a neighborhood big shot

By Larry Alan Brown, For the Deseret News

Published: Tue, April 29 4:45 p.m. MDT

 Four sisters act like crazed piranhas as they battle each other for sweets. Dad locks the freezer and takes control of their junk food.  A martyr for his family’s health, he gulps down their goodies and becomes a neighborhood celebrity.

Four sisters act like crazed piranhas as they battle each other for sweets. Dad locks the freezer and takes control of their junk food. A martyr for his family’s health, he gulps down their goodies and becomes a neighborhood celebrity.

(Shutterstock)

There are four sisters who I’ll call Slurpo, Burpo, Muncho and Mouth. They love to gobble goodies and are fiercely competitive to see who can cram the most cookies, ice cream and candy down their throats. I know this, because I am the father of this gluttonous gang.

Our family is famous for its “No Sweets Left Behind” policy. If you tossed an Oreo into the air, it wouldn’t hit the floor. The girls would swarm the airborne morsel like crazed piranhas, jaws clacking and teeth gnashing, until the cookie was a cloud of crumbs.

My wife and I couldn’t blast our daughters out of bed with dynamite to catch the school bus. But early on Saturday mornings, they’d bound out of bed and run over each other to see who could be first to stick her head into the freezer and claim the half-gallon of ice cream. Mouth was the fastest and usually got there first. But she was also the smallest. Her big sister Slurpo would shove her out of the way and wipe out the Cookies and Cream before it left the fridge.

One morning, Burpo and Muncho got the jump on their sisters, wedged their heads into the crowded icebox at the same time and froze their ears together. By the time Mom and Dad freed them from their frosty cage, they looked like the iceberg that sank the Titanic.

Mouth was tired of being left to lick the carton. One Saturday, she tip-toed into the kitchen, quietly slipped the Mint Chocolate Chip from the fridge, and hid under an end table in the living room so she could slurp her prize unchallenged. Her undoing was when she turned on the TV to watch her favorite show — Japanese sumo wrestling.

Slurpo, Burpo and Muncho bolted from their beds when they heard grunts and groans coming from the TV. They thought Mouth was making the sounds. After a lot of running around, they found their sister’s hiding place and bawled when they saw a melting puddle of chocolate chips slobbering down her chin and dripping through the seams of the empty carton. For once, Mouth’s siblings were the ones fighting over who got to lick the box.

The girls’ eating was getting out of hand, so I found a way to discourage them from stalking fat foods. For example, when Muncho had her tonsils removed, she asked, “Dad, what do the hospitals do with the tonsils?” I said, “They sell them to the pizza shops.” Muncho hasn’t eaten a mushroom or pepperoni since. On another occasion, Slurpo was wolfing down a cup of tapioca pudding. “Do you know what tapioca really is?” I asked. Before she could answer, I said, “Pureed banana slugs.” That pretty much cured her of that treat, which left more for me.

I put a lock on the freezer and gulped down all of the girls’ junk food. I was a martyr, albeit a paunchy one, sacrificing myself to improve the health of my family. Even better, I became the neighborhood sumo celebrity. With a little more ice cream, I might even make it on TV.

Larry Alan Brown is a resident of Alpine, Utah. Email: larry@processproud.com

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