You are, in fact, what you eat. That’s an inescapable molecular truth. Every cell of every tissue and organ, every particle of your physical being can be chemically traced directly to whatever it is you’ve been shoveling into your pie hole. There is no other source of matter. There is no photosynthesis to fall back on, no airborne nutrients to be absorbed through the skin, there’s only the food in front of you. Consider that.

The reason I’m so preachy on this subject right now is that, after a few days of eating rally cuisine at Sturgis, I awoke to find that my skin had turned to sausage casing and I was sweating mustard. This was a cause for some concern. Not so much because I had transmogrified into a link—I smelled delicious—but because I’d be going home in that state and My Personal Nurse would doubtless notice the change and have a few choice rebukes to deliver on the subject. And I’d be defenseless.

See, I’d had my cholesterol levels checked last year and I expected a glowing report since I’ve always gotten good grades, but the results showed that I was, as they say, “borderline.” So I’d made a few lifestyle changes, including no longer eating sausage except late at night in the closet, and My Personal Nurse, who takes medical matters more seriously than most, made it her mission to improve my diet—not in any extreme way, mind you, but just to moderate my intake of allegedly lethal and tasty crap. It was sweet of her and I played along.

But now I’d fallen off the wagon and been living a lie at Sturgis, eating perversely and denying it when My Personal Nurse would ring me up to chat and ask with affectionate, perfectly reasonable interest, “How’s your diet?”

“Healthy as hell, dear. Damn near macrobiotic. So… how’s your weather?”

“The weather’s lovely. What have you been eating?”

“Vegetables, mostly. I’m thinking we should get a puppy. Would you like a new puppy?”

“Sure. What kind of vegetables, Terry?”

“Oh, you know… the healthy ones. Potatoes. Onions. Pickles. So… how are you set for shoes, darling?”

It was a feeble deception, I realize, but I’m getting better at it. I began to carry a list of really healthy vegetables in my wallet that I could whip
out any time the occasion
demands and recite. But I was
well and truly doomed on my
return from Sturgis and would
have to face the music, though
in all fairness I will point out
that riding off to Sturgis is
like going off to college,
where the yoke of overweaning benevolent family concern is suddenly lifted and anything
goes. It’s a cholesterol holiday, the way I see it, and now that I think about it, the more apt analogy would be running off to join the circus. The simple fact is, there’s nothing considered healthy to eat at Sturgis and never has been, and My Personal Nurse has been there herself enough times to know it. There’s a reason inveterate bikers are indistinguishable from inveterate carnies.

From a culinary standpoint, Sturgis is essentially a county fair where the primal palate temptations of fat, salt, vinegar and sugar comprise in one form or another the sum of all offerings. The only difference, really, is that nobody hangs out at the county fair for days on end except delinquent youth, and they can handle it just fine.

But I digress, and probably on purpose, because none of this makes me feel any better about my sausage-skinned self. I know I’m in denial about my age and the fallibilities that come with it, and I know I’m an ingrate for evading My Personal Nurse’s selfless concerns for my diet. Cholesterol has long been characterized as a phantom menace, some kind of oleaginous gunk nobody knew about a generation ago, and one that I was always convinced I could keep well in check with liquid solvents. Eat a bratwurst, chase it down with a boilermaker and live forever, that was my life-extension strategy, and it always made perfect scientific sense to me.

It just doesn’t show up that way in the blood panel numbers, and I came to find out it was considered by medical authorities to be a perfect recipe for a bum ticker and the liver of a French goose. Who knew?

I know now. And I vow to be more conscientious about my eating habits at rallies, even if it means being laughed at by my bros as I push leaves of arugula around my plate and question the firmness of my tofu while they chomp lustily on mustard- slathered footlongs and cram down thickets of delicious ketchup-drenched French fries.

(Are you reading this, baby?)

It’s all right here in the diaries…


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