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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Actuarial skills – 57 varieties

If your home houses a picky eater, you may find yourself spending an unnatural amount of time with fictitious conjectures into the future. [translation = my own food fetish] If your picky eater is also autistic, then the problem magnifies itself into catastrophic proportions. In my son’s particular case, he is the worst kind, worse than a picky or fussy eater. He is a neophobe. That’s right, he’s afraid of neo’s. “What pray?” I hear you cry, “is a ‘neo?’” For current purposes, we’ll say that it is something ‘new,’ which means that he is phobic about eating new things.

A neophobe eats less than 20 different items of food. Currently, he eats 9 'foods,' a considerable improvement on he previous 3 foods, although it has taken us 3 years to reach this staggering pinnacle. Parents should note that it is cheating to count different varieties of Milano cookies. It is cheating to count different brands of cookies that are like Milano cookies, but hopefully cheaper. It is cheating to count Saltines or other crackers. Why does he have such expensive tastes? Who was the idiot who first gave him one of those biscuits? [translation = cookies]

Yes, life is very unfair for the parent desperate in the desire to re-catogorise the primary food groups of the world. If you can call ‘cookies’ a food ‘type,’ [please?] then, whatever configuration they might take on, they still only count as ONE.

For the sake of the mathematically challenged, such as myself, I feel it’s safer to round up, to be cautious. Certainly more optimistic than to round down. So lets say that he’s six years old, give or take a couple of months, so that’s not too much of a stretch. Hence if a six year old manages to consume one new ‘food’ during a three month campaign, this would mean that, all things being equal, during the course of a whole year, four additional foods would be added to his diet. Ergo, by the age of 18, projecting forward, we might reasonably expect that he will have achieved a diet of 48 foods. If we add those foods that he has already managed to acquire during the prior six years, and we must, ‘add’ that is, that would reach a grand total of 57 foods. Could that really be possible? Maybe I should ask "Mr. Big brain,", but since he is also a Brit, I think that automatically disqualifies him, as 'Beanz Meanz Heinz' ain't gonna cut it.

I glug another bottle of Ensure, strawberry flavour, to nourish the body, if not the soul. If I continue to consume my current 5 flavours of Ensure, I guarantee that I will die of terminal boredom. Why are there not 57 varieties of Ensure? Would be possible to survive on 57 flavours of Ensure for an additional 12 years?

However, such projections as to his future gastronomy, fail to take into account risk; risks of failure, unexpected hurdles that can’t be overcome, which wouldn’t be a very thorough job.

Keeping the food seasonal might help with both establishing realistic goals, as well as minimizing costs, as strawberries in February, even in California, are not to be encouraged. My experiments with spinach and brownies have been a culinary coup, but when eccoli invades the crop, the campaign disappeared down the drain very swiftly. There again, the chance of me getting him to eat a vegetable, let alone something green, is probably still several life times away. I wonder how many leap years there are in the next 12 years? Perhaps I should count in light years?

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