Pondering the “paleo” diet?

It’s time to hog the spotlight, to cast swine before pearls, to wallow in a swill-filled existential sty as I contemplate the backyard pig roast I attended last weekend in New Jersey.

I am rendered nearly inarticulate. Why? I think it mostly has to do with my love for the bus-driving and steam shovel-operating animals who populate Richard Scarry’s Busytown, where I’ve wanted to live since I was four years old and where, other Busytown devotees may recall, the traffic cop blowing his whistle and directing Busytown’s traffic was a jolly, friendly pig.

Add in several readings of “Charlotte’s Web,” several viewings of those movies about Babe the Gallant Pig, and countless hours of wasted youth spent watching Porky Pig cartoons (and listening to Porky sing his version of “Blue Christmas”), not to mention a recent weekend spent at a country fair where we saw lots of portly but pulchritudinous prize-winning pigs, and it’s a wonder that I managed to even look at that poor 80-pound porker with its cute little snout and its curly little tail and its innocent half-smile as it sat there all brown and crispy on that big platter, never mind how I managed to take part (along with several-dozen other carnivores) in quickly devouring that poor beast.

Perhaps I was distracted by a conversation I had with a fellow carnivore who, as we stood there waiting for our chance to wiggle our way into the feeding trough, revealed to me with great enthusiasm that he’d embarked about a month before on the so-called “paleo” diet, which basically involves eating no foods and drinking no beverages unless they were available to Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and all of the other cave people.

I stood there and gazed at the barbecued pig and pondered the relative merits of eating what cavemen and cavewomen ate. On the one hand, those early people were the forebears of humankind. On the other hand (or so I pondered as I enjoyed my second or third helping of pulled pork), cavemen hit each other over the heads with clubs; they weren’t exactly Rhodes scholars, if you get my drift; and they were considered really old if they lived to be about nineteen years old, which was their normal life span unless they died young because they’d encountered an Ice Age or a saber-toothed tiger.

No, I decided as I also enjoyed a glass of non-primitive white wine and some delicious non-paleo pasta salad, I’ll lay off the brontosaurus burgers and continue to eat modern food — pausing occasionally as I travel life’s path to stay in touch with my caveman roots by munching on some poor not-as-evolved-as-me animal cooked primitively but to crispy perfection over sizzling hot coals (thank goodness Fred and Barney discovered fire!)

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