Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Famished

The word "famished" comes from the old English word "famisshe" and it's where we get the word "famine".  It means to literally starve to death or to suffer to cause extreme hunger.

How many times have you used that word?  I'm famished.  I'm starving.  I'm dying of thirst.  But miracle of miracles, you have survived to tell the tale.  Some haven't.

I remember hearing as a kid growing up in my little town of Smock, Pennsylvania about the starving children of Africa or China.  And, I'm sure that most kids were reminded about this at the dinner table.  "Eat your broccoli."  "No.  I hate broccoli."  "Listen boy, you better eat that broccoli.  And you better think about the starving children of Africa."  "Well, if the children in Africa are starving, let's send THEM my broccoli."  And then you got some kind of discipline.  The kind of discipline that made you want to stand up the whole day in school because your back side was a bit, shall we say, tender?

Last night while channel flipping (I still have the attention span of a mayfly) I came across celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his show, "Hell's Kitchen."  Its a show where chef Gordon gets to berate and totally slice and dice young men and women who, before the show, wanted to become a chef.  After the tongue lashings and insults, I think that many of them have probably decided that cooking in a fast food restaurant is more suited to their future.  In last night's tirade of the week, Ramsay kept pushing this young lady to cook several lamb chops.  "Hurry up..hurry up" was all he could say.  When the poor girl plated the chops, they were dark red in the centers, meaning that they were "RAW dammit...LOOK AT THIS...BLOODY RAW YOU FOOL...GET THE HELL OUT OF MY KITCHEN!!!!"  But before Ramsay banished them to the life of a hot dog vendor in New York City, he made them march out to the dining area and personally apologize to the patrons.  LOOK AT THOSE CHILDREN, he said.  "THEY'RE FAMISHED."

Dammit Gordon, they are NOT famished.  Oh sure, maybe they're a bit peckish since it had been several hours since their afternoon Twinkie break, but they're not famished.  They're not even starving.  Look at them.  All dressed up with their parents, wearing nice clean clothes and some even sporting a necktie.  But famished they're not.

Yes, the children of many African and Middle Eastern nations ARE famished.  In a 60 Minutes segment I saw a couple of years ago, I found out that there are towns in Africa that have taken to eating "mud cookies".  Yep, cookies made entirely out of mud.  Dirt.  And they're dying every day.

The starving children of this world are not a joke.  I remember my military training where we camped out in various forms of wilderness and went for days without much nourishment, just to prove that we could endure much more than we thought.  But even then, we didn't starve.  Not even CLOSE to starving.

And so this little story today is a plea on behalf of those people who are truly starving.  Help.  HELP.  But many of us say, "Well, I don't know who to get in touch with about this sort of thing."  You know something?  You ought to be SHOT.  I would say that every person who says crap like this has a phone or maybe even a computer.  So go to your computer and Google the words "starving children" and you'll get TONS of addresses to send the money you may have already earmarked for your next dozen of Dunkin Donuts.  Or will you just echo the words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Confessions" and say "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"?  Come on.

Even as a kid that came from a tiny coal town, we never starved.  And if times were tough, the neighbors helped or the Company Store would extend that ever lengthening line of credit.

But what of the people of today's Africa?  You know something?  It isn't just the children who are starving any more.  Try going here and just click with your mouse;  http://www.thehungersite.com   It won't even cause you to burn ONE calorie or cause you to spend one penny.  It's FREE.

Now, was that so hard?

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