Sunday, August 1, 2010

Food and Control

Are you by chance familiar with the show Men of a Certain Age? Its a pretty interesting show that started on TNT last year starring Andre Bauer, Scott Bakula, and Ray Romano. The show centers around these men in their late 40s in various points in life (one is married with 2 kids and works at his father's car lot, one is divorced with 2 kids and owns his own party supply store, and the third is a never was actor who works temp jobs) and how they face life and what it drops on them.

The point of those post is to talk about the season finale and how something in that episode hit me pretty close to home.

Andre Bauer plays the role of Owen Thoreau, Jr. He's married with two sons and works at his father's car lot. He is also overweight and diabetic. At one point in the episode after coming home from a party with his wife she says she's ready for bed and Owen sends tells her he will be up shortly. Before going upstairs he raids the kitchen and and gorges on various snacks. Little did he know one of his sons was recording him. The son ends up sleeping under the couch with the video recorder in hand. Owen takes the recorder, yells at his son, then watches the footage of himself eating.

He and his wife have a conversation over his eating and he explains why he does it.

If you pay attention to Owen like many men (myself included) we feel overwhelmed by life and things just get out of control. And in that feeling like everything is beyond our control there is a search for something we do control. Something that's ours and no one can take from us. And in Owen's case it was eating. As a person who is trying to overcome a very similar circumstance I can say that there is something satisfying about being able to eat whatever one wants when every other part of your life is out of control and outside your own grasp.

Just like people who self injury, drink, do drugs, and engage in all sorts of other damaging (or possibly damaging) activities gorging on food like that gives a sense of pleasure. A sense of, "This is something that no one has any say so over. No one has a say over what I eat and drink."

I know it sounds sad but that's just how it is (for some people mind you). When you don't think you have any control you will reach for anything that resembles control, no matter what.

Having realized this one would think that the solution would be simple. Its one thing to say "Take control of your life." but its quite another to actually do it.

Here's to me taking control of my life.