The Saddest Thing I Saw Today

I saw the saddest thing today while on my way home from work. I wish I hadn’t been on foot, so that I could have had enough time to grab my camera and preserve that moment in a picture. Then again, why would I want a picture of something sad? Maybe so you’d believe that it actually happened.

Under the shadow of an abandoned building, a man sits with one leg resting on the pavement, and one knee up so he can rest his arm on it. He is unkempt, and he looks exhausted and half-starved. He must be homeless. Close to him is an almost empty Coke Zero bottle.


When I saw that I wanted to cry. My brain went on hyperdrive and started composing realistic scenarios that could rationalize what I saw. I figured either the half-starved man bought the Coke Zero himself or someone gave it to him. Either way, the last thing that man needed was a drink with no nutritional value whatsoever.

While I sat morosely on my way home, I kept thinking about the hummingbirds that used to die from water sweet with Nutrisweet (Their hearts gave out from working with a zero caloric intake diet.). I kept asking myself why food like Coke Zero would even exist. Surely it’s not just because people want to stay on their diet. Surely there are better reasons to have zero nutritional value food. But if there are any, I cannot come up with one.

I guess I walked away from that experience with more questions than answers. What is food for? What does hunger really mean? What value is there to zero-calorie food?

If you have answers, I’m (kind of) happy to hear them.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ahromada
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 01:14:51

    Your heart is bigger than you are and I love you for it.

    Reply

  2. sm1tt3nk1tt3n
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 01:49:48

    If I had the gift of drawing, I would draw it. I am going to bed with the emotions I felt from seeing that.

    Reply

  3. Caitlin
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 12:37:23

    This really is sad. You know what’s even worse? The irony between this huge hunger problem in our country and the tabloids on every newsstand featuring size-zero celebs and their starvation diets. Wealthy stars like Kate Middleton and now Kim Kardashian are starving themselves on purpose.

    And it doesn’t end there. My parents drink diet soda all the time, hoping that it will keep them trim. The sweeteners these use – typically aspartame and sucralose – are horrible for your body and have been known to kill brain cells.

    I just take issue with the whole food-and-diet thing in this country. People take it too far. They’re either complaining about Michelle Obama eating a 1,700-calorie meal or freaking out about some model who died of cardiac arrest because she wasn’t eating. They’re two extremes, and I’ve had enough of them.

    And here is where my rant ends….for now.

    Reply

    • sm1tt3nk1tt3n
      Jul 15, 2011 @ 06:57:29

      Well said.

      I do agree that there are incredible extremes on the issue of food-and-diet. But I think it goes to show that those who have, money or otherwise, hold power. That’s why when people who have access to food choose not to eat, it’s a diet; otherwise, it’s starvation.

      My problem with all of this is that they claim food shortage and world hunger, when our planet is big enough and rich enough to sustain us, everyone. But if people insist on controlling production (ergo, prices too), and if people insist on investing on “diet food,” the problem of hunger is not gonna go away.

      *angry*

      Reply

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