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The Healthy Gut


balzacPerhaps the pending repast of sweet potatoes and green beans has clouded my eyes.  The perspicacity of my mind often falls short of the woeful perspicuity of my prose.  Nonetheless, when logic dovetails so gracefully with intuition, I know I cannot be wrong.

I was sitting in court, madly scribbling down chicken-scratch notes as I listened to lawyers drone on and on and on about semantics and semiotics, semicolons and syntax. One attorney wore a gray suit, the other a blue.  Both had red ties.  Both still had most of their hair, although it had receded far back on the pate.  One was ruddy, the other livid.  Although their jowls were substantial, they did not sway, droop, or wobble in the slow-circulating institutionalized air.  They were ample of frame.  Plump, rotund, heavyset – these men had guts.  Not the shimmering bloated monstrosities that befoul our fair nude beaches and completely swallow the belt line in a single fold of fat and then ominously threaten to envelop the genitalia in a humongous adipose morass as well – no, not those, gentle reader – just solid, natural guts. And it suddenly struck me – a blinding bolt of illumination, or a happy ray of sunshine, so to speak – as I gazed out on these prosperous successful men engrossed in their work, quibbling over the precise definition of a compound sentence, that having a gut is a wonderful and salubrious thing – not a harbinger of impending doom, not a jutting finger of warning of endless days of dialysis and midnight coronaries, of piercing chest pains after lumbering up a flight of steps – no, not that, but rather a joyful hallmark of vitality and of good health to be celebrated and toasted, a sign of solidity, prosperity, and contentedness, of godly benisons, an old friend to be patted with satisfied sighs after a fine meal and cherished.

I realize Science says otherwise.  Men are supposed to suffer through miserable mean little meals of raw vegetables and whole grains – or meat buried in slick slimy pads of butter – whichever appeals to you less is doubtless the one that is Good For You! – and to spend countless hours upon hours in a sweaty, smelly, uncomfortable and monotonous “exercise.”  I have become convinced Science is wrong.  All the admonitions and chidings, all the somber counsels and righteous clucking, about diet and exercise are so much hokum, bunkum, hogwash, balderdash, a gargantuan snooker – in a word, bullshit.

Recall, if you will, the push-ups you doubtless performed at the behest of a paunchy balding middle aged man in high school.  Recall how you were told that exercising a muscle makes it stronger – and how, after performing enough of these dreadful calisthenics, lo and behold! you noticed the faint outlines of a tricep lurking underneath your “thick skin.”  Now consider your heart, ceaselessly pumping blood through your arteries and veins.  If your arteries and veins are clear of obstructions, your heart is deprived of any meaningful exertion.  It will grow flabby, weak, and die.  Now consider the man well-endowed with a healthy gut.  First, due to sheer bulk, the heart must pump the blood a greater distance.  Second, due to obstructions within the circulatory passageways, the heart must work harder to pump the blood.  Think about it: this exertion must create a strong, healthy, and powerful heart, the foundation of a healthy body.  Being fat is not merely “good for your heart,” it is essential to cardiac health.

Truly, the gut is capstone of psychic contentment and cornerstone of physical health.  So eat lustfully, drink another beer or two, and settle into a BarcaLounger – do it for yourself, do it for your health.

“Let me have men about me that are fat
Sleek head’ed men and such as sleep o’ nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry luck;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”
– Julius Ceasar, Act I, Scene II

“Where youth grows pale, spectre-thin, and dies”
– Ode to Melancholy (Keats was obviously referring to the lack of a gut)

January 15, 2009 1:05 pm

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