Is there really any nutritional value in corn?
That is not a rhetorical question. It is a pet peeve of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. A major pet peeve, outgrowing its pants, getting too big for its britches, too old to go trick-or-treating, too big for a kid's meal, now paying full price at the cinema, able to enter R-rated movies, and eager to buy lottery tickets and cigarettes.
You would think that such a massive issue would be confronted. Dealt with. Resolved. But that's not how we do things in Hillmomba. This overgrown problem pet peeve would be swept under the rug if only we could find a loom large enough to supply such a carpet. It is the elephant in the room. The eggshells upon which we walk as we search for a suitable dune in which to bury our noggins.
For 12 of the last 13 years, I have lunched with a certain member of the faculty. We joined the Newmentia crew the same year. We teach the same students. He is like the lunch table paterfamilias. I bear him no ill will. But I am approaching my breaking point.
Every time I sit down to lunch, on a day in which the top chefs of the cafeteria serve corn (at least three times per week), Colonel Corn leans into my personal space, the 1/8 of a round table that I have commandeered for me, my paper plate, and I. He whispers conspiratorially, "Is there really any nutritional value in corn?" Every time the cafeteria serves corn. For 12 of the last 13 years.
I think I have shown remarkable restraint. I chuckle. I shake my head. My eyes don't roll. I don't suggest that Colonel Corn place a foot-garment in his oral cavity. I am not sure of my brushstrokes in the big picture. Is the Colonel inquiring rhetorically? Is he expecting an answer concocted from my vast stores of scientific data? Is he trying out his stand-up act on me?
Last week, I mentioned it to LunchBuddy, who sits to my left. How Colonel Corn can't seem to stop asking me the same question. After 12 of the last 13 years. She thought it amusing. I think her exact words were, "CACKLE, CACKLE, CACKLE--HEE HAW!" But not in so many words.
Today, we had Max Snax Tacos with a side of corn. I steeled myself for the inquisition. In fact, I waited the entire twenty-three-minute lunch period (from 10:53 until 11: 16) for the shoe to drop. LunchBuddy distracted me by revealing that she had an important question to ask me, but that she could not do so until lunch was over.
At the bell, she leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Is there really any nutritional value in corn?"