Yesterday, I did something I have never done in my entire long life – I purchased a Slim Jim.

We – CA, Ruth and I were at Target (Ruth’s favorite shopping spot: wide aisles, nice people and bright lights) replenishing Ruth’s weekly supply of TV dinners, which she loves and are easy for her to do herself – which is a major piece of her sense of self sufficiency. She can navigate the whole store in her GoGo scooter and loves that independence as well. The outing drains her but it is essential that she get out as long as she can.

So we are in Target and I am with them in the grocery section when I look up and there at eye level is a brace of Slim Jims. Now, I know about Slim Jims. It’s not like I just discovered them. But I have this flash of inspiration: I should try one. Yes, dear friends, I have never even held one in my hands. They always remind me of the excrement of some exotic woodland creature. OK, it’s the way my mind works – OK?

I have friends of questionable judgement who love them. I see fat butted kids waddling down the sidewalk with a Big Gulp (a gallon sized sweetened drink) in one hand and a Slim Jim in the other. It isn’t hard to connect the dots here. Anyway, I shudder when I see what most kids eat in public.
However, if you go to you see the characters there are all, well, slim. See?

I have this “thing” right here on my desk. I have been checking out the label. I do this all the time. Even if the manufacturer is fudging the truth, and I personally believe they do this all the time, it is rather scary.

“Beef, mechanically separated chicken”(now that conjures up some interesting images) and a bunch of other ingredients, extracts, spices and preservatives. There are fats, saturated and trans. Calories 150 – from fat 120. And 430 mg sodium! What got my attention most of all, however, was the “Best By:” date. Spring next year. What kind of alchemistry is necessary to keep this pseudo food substance safe for consumption on an unrefrigerated, unfrozen shelf for most of a year?

I was all set to worry until I got to the big “US Inspected and Passed – Department of Agriculture” seal. It’s a good thing we have someone in government looking after our snack food industry since it alone accounts for the largest part of the national diet. Thank God for the US Department of Agriculture.
No, I have not yet brought to bare courage to actually try it by mouth yet. It may not happen. I have until next year anyway. I think a more appropriate name for this thing would be Fat Jim. Just buying something called “Slim” would take away some of the danger wouldn’t it? It might even make me slim. Marketers. Bless their black hearts.

Jerry Henderson

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