Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Uncanny Coincidence

We learn in today's editions of both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times that a deadline of sorts has been set for the pullout of NATO troops from Afghanistan -- 2014! Between now and then, "primary security responsibility" will gradually be transferred from western troops to the government of President Hamid Karzai. Combat operations for the former will gradually cease (or at least be diminished), in favor of training the locals.

But officials from various NATO countries apparently did not reach complete unanimity; some stated that the deadline was firm, while others indicated it might slip depending on conditions on the ground in 2014.

Amazing as it might sound, 2014 is exactly the same deadline I have set for myself for the imposition of a low calorie diet. I've had this objective since 2002, but it's always been part of a long-term strategic plan, not something I wanted to rush into prematurely. After all, my body is pretty accustomed to carrying around excess fat, and who knows what kind of damage an abrupt and significant change could cause. My stomach, for example, could issue a complaint, probably couched in diplomatic language, that could be devastating to my public image.

I think gradual is best. There is no need to go "cold turkey" on large portions of meat and potatoes. If a lot of people did this simultaneously, the result could be devastating to the meat and potato industries -- and heaven knows we need all the jobs we can find these days. Likewise, cutting back too suddenly on the whipped cream I use to top off my chocolate sundaes wouldn't do the dairy industry any good. If my cholesterol stays a little too high as a consequence -- well, that's just the price I have to pay for being a good American consumer and caring more about other people than my own good health.

So, I am reconciled to starting my diet in earnest in 2014 and working towards it incrementally by decreasing my daily caloric intake by 0.048 per year in the interim. Of course, if conditions change between now and then, I reserve the right to modify my position and postpone that diet until such time as the situation seems appropriate.

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