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more Tom Turtle
Scruples than Mom Turtle
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Third from the bottom
Secreting my own hard shell
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