FLINT - My Inner Glutton got into it with my Inner Nag the other day about the proposed ban in New York City on sodas and other sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.
"This is an outrage!" Glutton said, wadding up the newspaper and throwing it to the floor, which was a foot deep with Slim Jim wrappers and empty ice cream containers. "People gotta right to guzzle as much soda as they want - it's in the Declaration of Independence!"
"I can assure you, my slovenly friend, that swilling so much soda that you're too big to pass in the grocery aisle is not in the Declaration of Independence," said Nag, looking over his half-moon reading glasses with a disapproving glance. "You'd know that if you ever stopped filling your face long enough with horrible, unhealthy food and drink to read the darned thing."
"Oh yeah?" said Glutton. "Well, if you'd come down off your high horse for once, you'd realize that I was metaphorizing."
Nag: "Metaphorizing? Your grasp of English is as good as your grasp of history, I see."
Glutton: "Lighten up, wouldja? What I meant is that the Declaration of Independence says we got certain alien rights."
Nag: "I believe you mean certain inalienable rights."
Glutton: "Whatever. The point is, we got 'em - the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And guess what, chugging a gallon of Mountain Dew makes me happy."
Nag: "Yes, so your pot belly would seem to indicate. Have you considered what all that sugar is doing to your health?"
Glutton: "No, I let you take care of that. Have you ever heard of freedom of choice?"
Nag: "Oh, I've heard of it, all right. Have you heard of rampant obesity and diabetes, which are both epidemic in this country? Besides, freedom of choice doesn't mean you can do anything you want any time you want, you know."
Glutton: "Sure it does. Freedom is freedom."
Nag: "You can't yell fire in a theater, can you? You can't own a bazooka. You can't drive on the left side of the road. Freedom isn't absolute and never has been."
Glutton: "OK, but that's all the more reason we gotta protect what few freedoms we got left. If we don't, the next thing you know they'll be telling us we can't have pizza with cheese in the crust or two patties on a Big Mac, and if that happens, I'm telling ya, life won't be worth living."
Nag: "I will admit that you make a cogent point about the slippery slope when it comes to food and drink. I, too, worry about government overreach in that I do love the occasional French fry. That said, since you're the one who's so adamant about our rights, you and your disgusting, over-indulgent friends would be well within your rights to vote out of office the people responsible for the soda ban, is that not right?"
Glutton: "That's right, all right. But that don't mean it's likely to happen."
Nag: "Really, why's that?"
Glutton: "You drink enough of them giant sodas and you don't fit so good into the voting booth."
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller.