Seniors picket for doughnuts

Doughnut
I’m a couple of decades away from retirement, but I’m already looking forward to it. I can sleep till noon, play bridge and shuffleboard all day, and stuff myself with cake and doughnuts. Well, perhaps not the latter. I’ll probably have health concerns that prevent me from eating the good stuff. And even if I don’t, I may have to fight for the right to indulge in sugary snacks and desserts, as some seniors in Putnam County, New York, are doing.

It was just another morning at the senior center: Women were sewing,
men were playing pool — and seven demonstrators, average age 76, were
picketing outside, demanding doughnuts.

They wore sandwich boards proclaiming, "Give Us Our Just Desserts" and "They’re Carbs, Not Contraband."

At
issue is a decision to refuse free doughnuts, pies and breads that were
being donated to senior centers around Putnam County, north of New York
City. Officials were concerned that the county was setting a bad
nutritional precedent by providing mounds of doughnuts and other sweets
to seniors.

"Lack of respect is what it’s all about," said Joe
Hajkowski, 75, a former labor union official who organized the
demonstration. He said officials had implied that seniors were gorging
themselves on jelly doughnuts and were too senile to make the choice
for themselves.

C. Michael Sibilia said, "I’m 86, not 8." [Link}

I tend to agree. When it comes to senior citizens and their bodies, I’m pro-choice, not pro-life. They’re not trying to kill themselves with cigarettes and booze. They’re trying to kill themselves with doughnuts and pies. What’s wrong with that?

Inside, some seniors said they missed the doughnuts, but others said they were glad to see them go.

"It
was disgusting the way people went after them," said 80-year-old Rita
Jorgensen. "I think the senior center did them a favor by taking it
away."
[Link}

Disgusting? There’s nothing disgusting about lusting for doughnuts, nothing unsavory about seeking a little afternoon delight.

"Senior citizens can walk down to the store and buy doughnuts.
Nobody’s stopping them," said Michael Jacobson, executive director of
the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington.

But
he notes that older people have high rates of heart disease and high
blood pressure and says senior centers, nursing homes and
assisted-living centers should not be worsening the health problems of
seniors.
[Link]

Jacobson is such a killjoy. Yeah, it’s true that nursing homes and assisted-living centers should be careful about what they serve ailing elders, but senior centers should give them a little freedom. After all, it’s hard to get excited about boiled carrots and beans, even if you get to sit next to Rita
Jorgensen and engage her in a conversation about the best way to clean dentures.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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