Chips or French Fries?

Originally published May 31, 2012

Fresh-cut french fries

Fresh-cut french fries

Recently, I received an email, with a picture of a sign – of a famous fast food chain – which read:

“Saying your kids are fat because of us….. is like saying it’s HOOTERS fault your husband likes big boobs!”

Now I don’t want to upset you if you are one (or more) of the following:

a)  A parent

b)  A parent with a fat kid (or kids)

c)  A kid with fat parents

d)  A fat kid with fat parents

e)  A person addicted to fast food

f)  A person addicted to HOOTERS

g)  A person who flips burgers at a famous, fast-food chain

h)  A person who flips burgers at HOOTERS

i)  A waitress at HOOTERS

j)  A regular customer of a famous, fast-food chain

k)  A regular customer of HOOTERS

But you are what you eat – or at least that’s what my Grandma Puffer used to say.  She also used to say “Show me your friends, and I’ll know what you are”, but I’m not sure that that has much, if anything, to do with being fat.  

Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with a treat now and then.  My parents never ever took us out to restaurants – but the day that the new A&W opened on Simcoe Street in Oshawa, we were all crammed into our family’s 1955 Poncho (it’s what we called Pontiacs back then) and ordering Momma, Papa and Teen Burgers – with fries and frosted mugs of Root Beer.  Car Hops (waitresses) would come to your car – smile – take your food and drink order and then bring it to you on a tray, which hung on the outside of the car window.

Now anyone who ever knew my Mom would agree that she was a great cook – she had over 100 ways of cooking hamburger meat but almost never on a bun.  But there was nothing like a Teen Burger, Fries and an ice-cold Root Beer.  But we didn’t go there very often – and we remained a skinny and healthy family.

Then Kentucky Fried Chicken opened on Simcoe Street in Oshawa.  But it wasn’t a restaurant or drive-in.  Nope, it was for take-out or delivery only.  You ordered your chicken in a large bucket – fries and coleslaw were packaged separately.  The chicken was deep-fried and the crispy coating was a secret recipe of herbs and spices – invented by none other than an old Colonel in a white suit.   My mom sure didn’t cook chicken like this – in fact, we never had fried chicken – let alone, chicken with a crispy coating.  But every once in a while – probably on my Dad’s payday, we would get a treat of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Funny, but that crispy, greasy and golden chicken skin was the best part of the chicken!  But the treat wasn’t often and we remained a skinny and healthy family.

As I got older, and started to earn money (delivering newspapers, shoveling snow, mowing lawns, cashing in pop bottles etc), I would sometimes buy french fries from the “chip truck”, that parked outside of the ball park.  We never called them french fries in those days – they were always called chips (as in fish and chips).  The chip truck used fresh-cut potatoes and fried them right there in the back of the truck.  They served them piping hot – in a white paper cone.  They would sprinkle on some vinegar and salt and then added a toothpick – which you used as a fork and then later as a toothpick.  But the chip truck wasn’t always around, so I remained a skinny and healthy kid.

As a teenager, I always had a part-time job (but you probably already knew that if you’d read my previous blog posts) but I seldom spent my money on food – I was interested in girls, buying clothes, girls, buying cigarettes, girls, buying beer, girls and buying records.  Did I mention girls?  After dances, we would walk downtown to the Globe Restaurant – a great Chinese Restaurant – but we never ordered Chinese Food.  Nope, because they had the best “shoestring chips” in the city. They would bring you a large plate of shoestring chips and a bottle of Coke for 50 cents.  But I didn’t go to the Globe very often and I remained a skinny and healthy teenager.

I didn’t start to gain weight until I was in my thirties.  About the same time that I started to drive everywhere instead of walking; eating all of the foods that I never had as a kid – and always having a second helping; and driving everywhere instead of walking; and drinking several hundred bottles of beer each week; and driving everywhere instead of walking; and then, sadly,  it was too late.  I awoke one morning and just as I was about to shave, I looked into the mirror and saw a giant man staring back at me!  I ran screaming into the hallway – filled with the Fear and tripped over a large box of Krispy Kreme Donuts that were laying on the floor – rolled down two flights of stairs (similar to the guy who rolled over Niagara Falls in a barrel in the ’60’s) and then came to an abrupt stop beside Jesse James, my German Shepherd dog, who was fast asleep on the floor.

Over the years my weight has been up and down – but mostly up – way, way up!  I am not a genius but I’d bet money – any amount of money – that lifestyle controls weight.  I was living proof.  I was so heavy,  chairs used to scream “Get off of me!”

And although I gave up smoking several years before getting throat cancer – the damage was already done.  Smoking will definitely make you sick – just as burgers, large fries and gravy will make you fat.  Been there – done it!

I am no longer the “fat” guy I used to be – but only because I lost 100 lbs during my radiation and chemo treatments and haven’t been able to eat solid foods since the summer of 2009.  But I’m not complaining – simply trying to “learn you something”.  Oh, and did you know that if you have a diet pop with your fries and hamburger – it cancels out all of the calories?

By the way, I have only been to HOOTERS twice in my life and both times on the same day.  But that’s another story and you probably have to leave anyway….



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An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor living in Vancouver, BC (as in almost pregnant). His other passions include: patient advocate (he had Stage 3 Throat Cancer) ; daily power walks at the Promenade in White Rock; and of course, spoiling his dog Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).

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