BLIND TEST

As I mentioned in a previous column, my wife was away for a week recently and I knew I would have some problems in the kitchen. I had no clue how to operate the microwave or turn on our new dishwasher. One night, I kept answering my cell phone until I realized it was the fridge making a ringing noise because the door was left open.
I had occasion to drive my wife’s Toyota Prius while she was gone and I had no idea how to use all the high-tech controls on the dashboard. I wanted to listen to my favorite radio station, so I turned to what I thought was 90.1. The station did not come on, but it sure got hot in the car.
When Mary Ellen returned from her trip, she asked if I had kept to my diet. I admitted that I had gone to two all-you-can-eat buffets and I consumed too much because everything looked so good.  That was the wrong thing to say. Apparently Mary Ellen read an article on the plane that one way to lose weight is to eat your meals while blindfolded.  In several experiments, people who had their eyes covered ingested 22 percent fewer calories. That number was actually much higher, but researchers decided not to count all the food that fell on the floor or dribbled down people’s shirts.
The theory behind this is simple. When you can’t see what’s on your plate, scientists say you’re “more apt to listen to your stomach.”  I am someone who does listen to my stomach, and so does the entire congregation at the Heartland Church on Sunday mornings.
When subjects were taken to an actual restaurant (rather than dining in the lab) and then blindfolded, they finished about half of what was on their plate—unless they peeked and saw they were in Chipotle. Then they consumed 100% less.
I wanted to test the theory of not viewing the food I ate for lunch the next day while my wife was out shopping. When she arrived home, I told her that I had been doing a little experiment on to see if this calorie-reduction plan was legit. Mary Ellen looked at the ketchup all over my face and  shirt and said: “Okay, now tomorrow see what happens when you eat blindfolded.”
Researchers also claimed that cutting off any one of your senses enhances the taste of food, which leads to less consumption of unneeded calories.  I wondered what effect it would have to wear earplugs.
 “
This is crazy,” said my wife. “Covering your ears will not make you eat less.”
“It’s worth a try, Mary Ellen. What are we having tonight?”
“Well, I’m making your favorite: oven-fried coconut chicken, twice-baked potatoes and creamed spinach.”
“I wish you had waited until I put in my earplugs to tell me that.”
“Why?”
“Because that sounded really good.”
The bottom line is that I have tried covering my ears, my nose and my eyes and I have not really lost any weight. Next week, I’m going to try something I should have thought of before: I’m going to try covering my mouth.

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AUTO NEUROTIC

I purchased a new car last week, the first in almost 10 years.  It comes with a 250-page instruction book, plus three additional manuals to guide you through the high-tech accessories, but there is no key. I always liked the idea of having a key. “Hey, Dad, can I have the fob to the car tonight?” Sorry, that doesn’t have the same charm.
The car also comes with Bruce, the sales guy at Hyundai, who said he will “always be by my side.”  He didn’t literally mean that, but he did give me his cell number in case I had any problems. Unless, of course, the problem includes using the Bluetooth cell phone technology, in which case I could drive back to the dealership. That is, if I remember how to start the car.
Bruce was very patient with me.  He told me that “before you bring this baby home, you need to know how to take care of her and understand exactly how she operates.” This is pretty much what Mary Ellen’s father said to me the night before our wedding. 
My new steering wheel has 12 buttons on it. That’s more than a corset from the Elizabethan era, and probably just as difficult for an inexperienced guy like me to manage. There are also four buttons on the rearview mirror, including a garage door opener, which Bruce told me I would have to sync with my old garage door opener. Or was it my computer? No, maybe it was my smart phone. No matter.  When he said sync, I knew I was sunk.
One of the apps I can purchase for my smart phone allows me to disable my car if someone steals it. But why not just call the guy?  After all, he has all this new Bluetooth stuff in the car now.  Let’s see if he can figure it out. There are lots of ways to thwart a crook.
“Hello?”
“This is Dick Wolfsie. Who is this?
“Oh, hi, Dick! I’m Joe. How are you?
“Why did you steal my car?”
“Sorry, I didn’t know it was your car.”
“This sounds like a Seinfeld episode.  Now, I’m going to tap this little app and disable the vehicle. Then I have another app that tells me exactly where the car is.”
“Okay, but this is a pretty bad neighborhood. You won’t have any wheels on this vehicle when you do find it. By the way, this is a great car, but why didn’t you opt for the on-screen GPS? It’s hard to avoid the police without it. Anyway, I’m outta here. Thanks for the ride…and all that loose change.
Hyundai also provides assistance if you have a crash and your air bag inflates. The brochure says that within minutes “help will be on the way.” I don’t know what kind of help an automobile manufacturer can provide in a situation like this,  but I’m hoping they send a paramedic or a neurosurgeon, not some  guy from body and fender repair.
I’m so dense I never know whether something is really broken or if I’m just stupid.  Last night I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. reading about the camera that is mounted on the back of the new Hyundai. I memorized every word so that in the morning I’d remember how to adjust the lens angle, and fiddle with the contrast and brightness.  
I did forget one thing: I hadn’t ordered that accessory.

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