By Rick Fromm
By Rick Fromm

Despite my growth and “maturity’ (okay, gimme a break) I still despise the sight, texture and taste of lima beans, I’d probably starve to death if I had to eat coconut to survive, and don’t even bring up the subject of hummus. The mere thought of that pureed tree bark is enough to make me gag.

Yes, I realize hummus is off the charts popular at the moment, but don’t count me among the enthusiasts of that ghastly stuff. In fact, I’d consume just about anything before I’d let hummus tickle my taste buds. And I do mean anything.

But that’s not to say I won’t evolve and actually learn to like the aforementioned edibles before my stint here on Mother Earth is over. At this moment in time, I can’t imagine that ever happening, but life can be strange and so unpredictable. Over the years, I’ve tried to learn to never say never about anything, but who knows what the future will bring? Regardless, the mere thought of consuming large amounts of hummus makes me nauseous.

Want some examples of how my likes and dislikes have changed over the decades? You got it. At the top of my list of least-preferred foods were asparagus and Brussels sprouts. As a youngster, I’d find creative ways to hide my uneaten portions of those ghastly repulsive vegetables – like putting them under the mashed potatoes – but that didn’t fool my mother for a second. As a result, I was forced to choke them down with a giant gulp of milk.

Other things that brought a scowl to my face at supper time were mushrooms, onions, sourdough bread, skim milk, oatmeal cookies (of any variety), hot tuna casserole, grapefruit, iced tea, Ginger ale, cauliflower and peas (yes, peas). It should be noted however that I loved early June peas, but despised the large, not-so-early-June variety that were hard to chew and rather disgusting.

However, with the passage of time and the development of my palate, I changed dramatically over the years. Asparagus and Brussels sprouts now rank among my favorite veggies, I don’t think you can name a mushroom I don’t like, onions are a constant staple of my diet and I can chug more iced tea than you can possibly imagine.

In an effort to put things in proper perspective, it should be noted that my “likes and dislikes” were not confined to just food. Not by a long shot.

On that note, I have to confess the thing I probably hated the most as a youngster was being forced to take a nap. I hated naps with a passion and fought my parents every step of the way when it came to the required naptime. After all, I had much better things to do, like playing with a toad, or participating in a rousing game of hide-and-seek or building monumental structures in my sandbox or burning around the neighborhood on my tricycle.

Not only did I have to take a nap after lunch each day during the summer of my prepubescent years, the “day nursery” school I attended forced all students to lie down for a while each and every afternoon. If you couldn’t fall asleep during this “down time,” you were required to keep your mouth shut in order to not disturb any of the other kids. Following that rule was not my strong suit.

As time marched on and I grew a bit older, the thought of wasting part of each day with a nap just didn’t appeal to me – at all. I was just too active to sleep when I could be outside playing or getting into some real, bona fide mischief. This attitude greatly upset my Mom and teachers, and believe me, I paid the price for my stubbornness. Big time.

And then it happened. Seemingly from out of nowhere. About 15 years ago, I actually laid down for a nap and found it exhilarating and rejuvenating. I usually awoke with a fresh outlook on things, and my energy level had been restored to my “pre-nap” status. Oh joy, oh rapture.

When I found out that many great people I admired – from JFK to George “Papa Bear” Halas -- made it a point to take a “power” nap each and every day, I was totally convinced: Naps are the answer.

Upon doing some research on the subject, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the countless experts who expound about the many attributes of napping. To wit:

“Napping increases awareness; improves learning and working memory; prevents burnout and reverses information overload; heightens your senses and creativity; improves health; improves mood; and saves money (Instead of spending $30 a week on Five Hour Energy or Starbucks, take a nap and bolster your energy the natural and more effective way.)

   Not only that, “a study done with Greeks found that those who took a 30-minute nap at least three times a week had a 37 percent less risk of dying from a heart-related condition. Among workingmen, their risk of death was reduced 64 percent. So not only should you dance like Zorba the Greek, you should nap like him, too.”

It’s interesting how our thoughts and desires change so dramatically over the years, and I suppose that’s a good thing. It makes us more “well-rounded” and accepting of our brothers and sisters.

But I’ve got no time to think about that now. It’s time for a quick snooze.