Eater Of Organic Foods Lives 'Life Of Shame'
Many Americans have been subject to increasing levels of criticism in the past decade about their food choices. For Cincinnati, Ohio resident Martin Palmer, that much is painfully obvious.
"It's...hard, sometimes, to face family and friends with some of the food I eat," he said with a haunted look in his eyes. "You feel it, you know? The stares, the snickers -- you feel all of that."
Despite warnings from his friends that he's "falling for hippie bullshit" and concerned relatives noting that his diminishing waistline is almost half of many of theirs, Palmer admits that he routinely consumes food that is branded as organic. It's a habit that he picked up some time ago, but has been unable to break.
"With my friends encouraging me, I've often tried to cut back on granola mixes and oranges, and replace them with [Wendy's] Baconator burgers and bottles of corn syrup," Palmer recalls, "but it never works. It's like there's something wrong with me."
Although they are quick to declare their love for him, Palmer's friends and family agree that he is obviously suffering from some kind of mental problem or genetic defect.
"You go to his house and he offers you a soda, and you think he's finally back on the wagon," said John Vargus, one of Palmer's friends, "and then you see it and it's some kind of bullshit with cane sugar and lemon juice and lord knows what else. I don't know what the hell's the matter with him."
Cal Hartman, another friend, explained, "I like Marty and all, but the way he eats sometimes is...well, it makes you wonder about him. Like, wonder if he isn't exactly interested in the ladies, if you know what I mean. What regular guy turns down a hot dog that I injected with hollandaise sauce and small pieces of bacon?"
Vargus and Hartmen still count themselves as close to Palmer, but others have given up on him ever eating like a normal person. Palmer's father, Jim, is one such person. The two have not spoken in over two years.
"Ain't got no son," the elder Palmer muttered from the seat of his motorized scooter. "Got one halfwit who eats food the terrorists sent over."
In addition to jeopardizing his relationships, Palmer's habit means that he does not live his life like many others do. The 35 year-old often has to travel great distances to get the food he so desperately needs -- sometimes even past the more-convenient nearby WalMart.
"My compulsion sometimes keeps me driving five, even 10 minutes past the WalMart to strange parts of town," Palmer says as we ride with him into a neighborhood that looks strange and unfamiliar, probably due to a lack of a visible WalMart. "Actually, I would walk, but that's just another problem addiction waiting to happen."
Once at his dealer, or "organic food store" as he calls it, Palmer spends massive amounts of money to feed himself -- nearly three times what one might spend at WalMart. It's money that's being taken away from his one hope for a cure: surgery designed to expand his stomach and add fat to him.
"The surgery is expensive and sounds a little dangerous, but I'm tired of being ostracized," he says over an order of McDonald's fries -- a small step in the right direction. "I need to get this monkey off my back, and then eat it."
"Fry it and eat it," he quickly corrects himself.