One of my very occasional part time jobs is to work as an event rigger. I get to walk on beams way above the ground use long ropes to pull cable and chain up to create a network of suspension points that are used to lift lighting trusses, etc for big stage shows. It was at such an stint of employment last Saturday night that i has a unique experience that involved a tin of sauteed asparagus and gave me hope for humanity.
My fellow fitness buff and neighbor Ryan and I were finished with the fun part of the job and waiting around to see what else had to be done when a crew member from the show brought out a few aluminum foil baking dishes full of leftover food from the catered meal the talent must have enjoyed. One had some sort of oily breaded fish, one had marbled roast beef, and one had the asparagus. There were also some half empty cases of soda, some cream filled wafer cookies, and a few bags of chips. It was after 2 am and everyone (there were about 8 of us standing around) was hungry. Most of the other guys, most of whom were not particularly healthy looking, had already opened sodas and were digging into the cookies. Ryan and i weren't interested in that stuff and the asparagus looked untouched. Yum.
Ryan acted first - he removed the celaphane cover from the asparagus tin and started to dig in. I followed his example and picked up a handful of spears with my fully filthy hands. What happened next was both unexpected and remarkable. The cookies were set aside and forgotten about. Everyone started eating asparagus. It was pretty crazy - i'd have wagered that most of these other guys may never have eaten asparagus - some of them may not even have been able to name it had i asked them what they were eating. But surprisingly, within minutes, all while sipping Dr. Pepper and talking about crystal meth, all of the asparagus got consumed (roughly 5 pounds i'd guess). We were almost fighting for it.
So this got me thinking - maybe we're so unhealthy as a society because we make easy choices - not necessarily because we don't want to be healthy. Maybe (thought experiment here) if all other things were equal and people had the same access to junk and good food, we'd be surprised at how many people would choose more good food. Of course this doesn't solve any problems because junk food is still the easiest to get (it comes in the biggest variety of packages), but it does, for some reason, make me feel somehow better about the health problems our world is facing.