Greed and Stomachache

When I was four, I was attending a local YAMAHA music school. Apart from myself and my two childhood best friends who used to live in the same community, there were about seven other children in our class. Once a week, in the late afternoon, we would attend an hour-long group electone lesson together.

One day, after the lesson, somebody suggested that we should all sit together and socialize over a meal. The YAMAHA school was located inside a shopping arcade, and we all walked to the nearest McDonald’s together.

My mother usually didn’t buy a meal set at any fast food shop, but that day, it was dinner time, and she generously bought two burgers and one L-sized box of French fries to be shared between us. I was particularly delighted to have a big box of French fries in front of me. French fries were my favourite, and yet, I rarely had the chance to eat them in a large quantity.

Adults were mostly mothers, and while they chatted, I munched on my food and played with other children. I played, came back to eat my French fries, went back to paly, then came back to eat again. At one point, my mother cautioned me.

“Sweetie, don’t eat too much, okay? Otherwise, you might have a stomachache later.”

“I know, I know!”

I answered and reached for more French fries.

Sometime later, my mother stopped me again.

“Sweetie, you don’t have to finish all of them. I can help you, you know,” she said, a little concerned.

“No, I don’t need help, Mommy. This is my French fries! I can finish them myself!”

Rejecting any help offered, I continued eating my big box of French fries. When the bottom of the box started to become visible, my mother gave me a final warning.

“Sweetie, I think you should stop. Leave the rest.”

“No!” I shouted. “I want to eat all of them!”

Thus I finished the entire box of French fries almost just by myself. For sure, it was quite an accomplishment for a four year old.

Later that evening, back at home, I started to experience a severe case of stomachache. I groaned with pain and ran to the bathroom. It was a typical symptom of indigestion.

“You’re having a stomachache?”

My mother asked me as she accompanied me to the bathroom. I nodded. I was in so much discomfort that I could barely talk.

“I told you to stop eating the French fries, but you didn’t listen to me!”

I knew my mother was right, but it was no time for remorse. First, I needed to be free from the stomachache. I crouched over the toilet, groaned and strained for a very long time until everything I had eaten that evening came out of my body and I was finally clear of the pain.

“So, sweetie,” said my mother once I was back in the living room quiet and weak from the labour in the bathroom. “Do you now agree that you shouldn’t eat such a big box of French fries by yourself? Would you listen to my warning better next time?”

Strangely enough, I don’t remember what I answered to this question. Even though I didn’t enjoy the painful stomachache of that evening, I still liked the idea of having a whole box of French fries with me and eating them as much as I wanted. And that night was certainly not the last time I suffered from the consequence of overeating.