An Unhealthy Business
By Lee Pitts
I recall reading an article a few years ago about a man who was in a terrible automobile accident and needed a brain transplant. It had to be a true story, because it was in one of those tabloids by the checkoff counter in the grocery store.
As I recall the story, they had assembled an outstanding team of doctors to remove the brain and to transplant an unused brain, probably from a politician.
Anyway, while the doctors had left the room temporarily, the brainless man left the operating room. They searched everywhere but were unable to find him.
I just found him. He owns and operates the last health food store in America.
Just a few years ago, there was a virtual plethora of health food stores dotting the landscape. Now, just like the wok, they have vanished, all but one, which I discovered recently while waiting in a shopping center for my wife who was shopping.
The dark store reeked of rotting vegetables and dying pasta making machines. The shelves were lined with books on making the transition to vegetarianism. There was row after row of vitamin C tablets with rosehips, prolonged release iris shampoo and skin treatment, food supplements and all those other things you don’t need if you eat normal food.
The proprietor’s diploma from Herbal College was proudly displayed on the bulletin board along with a handbill announcing, “VIP – Vegetarian Inclined People, potluck supper at the Community Center, the public is invited, bring a vegetarian dish to share. No foods of animal origin. (I am not making this up) Featuring a special guest speaker, Enzing Payme, who will discuss the benefits of Rolfing (throwing up).”
The proprietor of the last health food store in America saw me reading the handbill and asked, “Interested in attending our vegetarian buffet?”
“Oh, but what would I bring?” I asked.
“We’re having a special on Eden brand organic pinto beans, barley wafers, lentil curry couscous and After the Fall Fruit juices,” he said. “I am personally taking a brown rice cream cereal and blue corn organic nacho chips.” (These are all real products by the way).
Mr. Veggie then pointed out because Mori-No Tofu is packaged in aseptic packages with a 10-month shelf life, this meant I would never have to run out of tofu again.
Then, he tried to sell me 7.5 milligrams of Bach Rescue Remedy.
“It’s of course the most widely used flower formula,” he told me. “It’s made up of 38 flowers, and I have found it to have a calming and stabilizing effect on my nervous tension, constipation, anxiety and desperation brought about by being in business for oneself.”
“Business not doing all that well?” I asked.
“You can say that again,” he replied. “I started five years ago with a sizable inheritance and I figure at this rate I can only last about three more years. The man who sold me this store told me vegetarianism was a growth business. He said 3.7 percent of Americans are vegetarians and most of them have higher income levels. He told me Americans are eating 11 percent more vegetables, seven percent more fruits and a lot more nuts.”
“Sounds like he knew his fruits and nuts,” I said, feeling a little sorry for the owner of the last health food store in America. “I can’t understand it, it seems like such a good location. You are right next door to all those fast food places and they seem to be doing a great business.”
“I know. I should have put my money into burgers. In a way though, I’ll be glad when I have to shut down,” he said.
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
He replied, “You think I enjoy eating this stuff?”