The mostly true story of The Green Bean Man

Posted: April 23, 2019 in Uncategorized

Once upon a time, a long time ago, and I don’t mean for this introduction to sound like a fairy story, I lived in a place that had two banks on the same town square. One of those banks was mine because in that town you had to choose, just like you had to choose between two car dealerships and choose between two funeral homes and choose between two breakfast cafes. These were choices of loyalty and everybody knew you were either one or the other.

One day I went into my bank and right off noticed one of the bank officers, a middle aged man who seemed to be but a shadow of his former self. Had I not noticed the precipitous weight loss before? This was a guy who didn’t really pride himself in appearance so much and this change was conspicuous. I began to worry. Was it his health? I hoped not. Doing what you do in small towns you ask somebody. So I did and, no, he wasn’t near death’s door. He had been making use of a novel diet plan. I was curious.

So one thing led to another and I found myself in conversation with this slender rail  and asked what his secret was.

Canned Green Beans“Green beans,” he said without a bit of hesitation.” Not really knowing much about green beans other than we usually had them with meatloaf, I thought they might have magical properties, a new secret weapon that negates all the buttered rolls that had my name on them. Sadly, that was not the case.

“Why green beans,” I asked innocently.

“Because,” he said leaning with his new svelte self against the counter, “if you eat only green beans and nothing else, this is what happens.” Did I understand him correctly? Only green beans? Yes I did.

It seems that is all he ate, morning, noon and night. The canned version. He brought them to work and put them under his desk, popped the top and ate them at his desk. He didn’t go out to lunch anymore because, well, he couldn’t eat anything else on this plan anyway and it’s a little awkward eating the beans out of the can while others are munching on their cheeseburgers.

He bought them by the case. The grocery store people all knew what he was coming for and sometimes the checkout boy had carried them to his car and put them in his trunk before he was done paying his bill.

Now, I’m no nutritionist, but I have some friends who are. And even without asking I could hear them screaming from about a mile or so away that no fool can live healthily eating only green beans. Nothing wrong with green beans, mind you, but you’re not going to do well with nothing else in your diet. That is a formula for some health catastrophe. That’s what I thought my health nut friends would say. I was probably right because that just can’t be sustainable. Nothing all by its lonesome is going to work in whatever food pyramid you devise for yourself.

Fad diets in general are bad ideas because they are artificial and function on the idea of restriction. As opposed to some healthy combination that is sustainable over the long haul. Well, suffice it to say that the green bean man wasn’t in the mood to talk nutrition. The pounds were falling off him like leaves dropping from trees in the fall.

Just so you know, I saw him later. Was it a year or so later? He wasn’t working at the bank anymore and he was dressed like he crawled out of the swamp. Evidently he had run out of green beans because he had traded in that boyish figure for the puffy old model he had before. Like Jesus casting out one demon only to have seven rush in to take its place, he looked worse than before.

I wish there was a moral to this tale besides don’t go the green bean route, but I’m not sure there is. Or maybe quit looking for the silver bullet in the life that’s going to make everything better and do it in the extreme. I don’t know. Like most parables you have to find your own meaning because there’s not just one. You could sum it all up with some brilliant little moralism only to have somebody else say that doesn’t really work for them. So whatever.

As for me and my house maybe the best we’ve found so far is this: Man does not live by green beans alone.  

  1. Rhonda Thomas says:

    Love it

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Susan says:

    Tim you outdid yourself on this one! I am still still laughing. Or smirking! Thanks. Susan h

  3. Nita Gilger says:

    I can see by the ice cream pictures of late that you are choosing a much sweeter life! La Viva dolce!! Hooray for living life to the fullest yet being sensible along the way.

  4. Gloria Beranek says:

    Your descriptive way of retelling this story was most clever . . . still smiling as I write this! More!

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