Cowboy Food

by Nic Olson

My parents used to tell me that tuna was brain food. Recently that has led to repetitive jokes about how dolphins are nearly as smart as humans, and about how they masturbate, and about how eating cans of tuna is brain food because we are really eating the flesh of thousands of genius dolphins. For some reason eating dolphin makes people upset more than an ugly tuna fish. I haven’t eaten a can of tuna since I heard that tuna are endangered from overfishing and that dolphins masturbate.

I have never lived anywhere near the natural home of a dolphin or a tuna. To me, the natural home of tuna is in a casserole next to macaroni noodles and green peas, carefully prepared by my mother, or a rippin’ sandwich prepared by my father. Dolphin, I mean tuna, must be one meat product that is most commonly eaten out of cans, at least where I come from. Spam is popular in some trailer parks, but is frowned upon by most non-trailer dwelling humans. It will likely be the can of choice when America bombs North Korea bombs Iran bombs Libya bombs The Soviets.

I also used to eat Cowboy Food as a child: macaroni and ground beef casserole, what real cowboys eat. And Hockey Player food: cornbread and syrup, how Gretzky got to be The Great One. Along with my brain food: mayonnaise and canned tuna, Einstein. I have become a master of all things Cowboy, Hockey Player and Brains because of my early youth as a professional eater.

Among these family delicacies were Leftover Restaurant nights, where our parents would trick us into having fun eating those goddamned leftovers. My sister and I would write up a menu so that our parents and older brothers could chose from one of the four things we already ate that week and so that we would think leftovers weren’t the worst thing on earth. The restaurant quickly ran out of each dish.

Stupidity is inevitable.

These days, spanning from semi-adulthood to the stages of late adulthood, instead of allowing our parents to trick us into eating food we didn’t like with names and games, we find new ways to allow stupidity to be a major part of our lives. Stupidity is inevitable, and it is our duty to find ways to avoid it. That is the main struggle of decent human beings, although many are even far from finding out that they are actually stupid. I’d be glad to tell them.

I try to find out how stupid I am daily. Delving into books, browsing photos, jamming to music, all show me how stupid I am, but all encourage me to evolve my high levels of stupidity into what I hope to reach someday: low levels of intelligence. Realizing stupidity means progress when you don’t accept it as permanent and constant.

As our parents used our stupidity to get us to eat healthily, today our ignorance is used against us and it is our responsibility to identify it, change it, and improve upon it. Our stupidity is inevitable, but what is not inevitable is our want to change it.