It’s said that humans can adapt to anything. For the most part I agree. There are a couple of exceptions. One is acute pain. Who ever created this mess called humanity knew enough to make sure we never became accustomed to pain. I am not talking about a sore knee that occasionally reminds you it’s there. No, I am talking about that knife twisting behind the kneecap pain.

Fortunately, with todays medical technology, that kind of pain is rare and short lived when it does occur.

The other thing that humans never get used to is hunger pangs. Its normal to go to bed hungry once in a while, but when the gnaw of hunger is all day, every day, its hard to think about anything else. Not even physical exertion takes your mind off it.

That hunger is why I am running right now. My mind tends to wonder when I run. Yet, no matter how far it wonders, it returns to that gnawing sensation in my stomach. It returns to hunger.

Running, along with all exercise allows me more calories, which helps alleviate some of the hunger. But with calorie rationing, the hunger never goes away, at least not for long.

Before me, a crossing arm blocks the pedestrian way, forcing me to stop. Getting run over by the high-speed commuter maglev would probably end my hunger pains. Death, I muse, the only way to escape hunger and taxes.

The speeding maglev stirs up the air, cooling the sweat that flows from my pores. I look down at my DMMC approved smart watch. It tells me that ten more minutes of running will give me a five hundred calorie coupon. It will be issued to my smart watch upon successful completion of forty-five minutes of cardio.

The train becomes a rapidly shrinking lance, racing off into the distance, the arm lifts, and I resume my run. As I regain my rhythm, my mind meanders off.

My parents were convinced that the greatest thing to happen to this country was when it finally joined the rest of the world and provided free health care to all.

Little did they know, there is no such thing as free.

Our country was late to the game. So many came before ours. By the time congress passed the Medicare for all act, Americans were fat. According to Wikipedia, something like eighty five percent of Americans were overweight, and a smidge over fifty percent were obese.

It did not take long for the treasury to feel the pinch of an epidemic of health problems related to Americans and their extra baggage. That was when Americans discovered a thing called the power of the purse. That which the government funds, it controls. Congress didn’t strip away our dietary and binge-watching freedoms all at once. It was an incremental thing.

They started with and education program. Trying to convince Americans to get off the couch, make healthier choices, join a gym. There was a bump in gym memberships for a brief period, but it did not mean they were using them.

As the heath care budgets swelled, the talking heads started blaming big fast food. It was their flashy campaigns, and colorful packaging that attracted the masses. Fast food was banned under the guise of the public good. Americans responded by going indoors, taking the time for a sit-down meal at their favorite restaurant.

Congress responded by banning all national restaurant chains.

Americans turned to the frozen food section, microwaving those things taken from them by congress. Congress responded by nationalizing food production and putting calorie limits on the populous. Once a year, each American was required to submit to a physical, and based on the results, given a calorie limit.

Americans complained to congress about how draconian and unfair this was. There had to be some sort of dispensation for those who were more active, who’s careers depended on a much higher calorie count than the average person.

Congress would not budge, stating that what is good for one, is good for all. Then followed the food riots of 2045. 130,000 people died in those dark months.

Congress responded by creating the Department of Metabolic Monitoring and Control. With it came a whole slew of programs, guidelines, and requirements for the populous to follow. And the mandate that everyone wear a DMMC approved smart device.

As my thoughts settle on the DMMC, I look down at my smart watch just intime for it to ding in my earbuds and display my calorie coupon. Bonus, I think. Then remember that basically everything about my life is transmitted through that device back to big brother. My location, my activity level, calorie consumption based on what I draw from the dispensary and blood serum levels gathered from the watch.

Some people try and cheat by baking their own “treats,” or stealing food from others. There are harsh penalties for cheating the DMMC. An uncle of mine was forced to have a device implanted that measured every calorie that came into his body.

I enjoy my exercise, but there are some mornings I just don’t want to run, or lift, or swim. I just want to sit on my tiny little patio and drink my home-made beer. Yes, congress abolished all manufacturer of alcohol shortly after national chain restaurants. I can make my own, but it goes against my calorie count.

I think I have learned to deal with hunger pangs more than most. If you’ve never had a beer or two, then you’ve never experienced what an appetite stimulant in can be. By the time I go to bed at night, I could eat the asshole out of donkey.

But that is illegal too.

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