Apparently we have had a food pyramid since 1992. I asked around the office and a couple of our staffers said they had heard about it and generally understood the concept.

I guess I wasn't paying attention back in 1992 because my concept of a food pyramid was relevant to being allowed only one trip to the buffet. You started your food around the edge of the plate and let it lean in, gradually coming to sort of a point on top.

These skills are acquired by covering speeches at civic clubs. I also refer to this as "food for thought" if the speaker happened to be as boring as elevator music.

So it was explained to me that the food pyramid had all the really good stuff you should eat at the bottom. It tapered up to the top with the stuff that really tasted good but was bad for you. In essence, they had a lot of fiber at the bottom and ice cream and fried chicken at the top. In other words, eat less of the chicken and more of its nest.

Anyway, the U.S. government is considering replacing the food pyramid because as a nation we keep getting fatter and fatter. And they haven't said what they will replace it with. Maybe a large circle would be more appropriate or at least more poetic.

The pyramid is not just a graphic that describes what one should eat. It also details slices per serving and stuff like that. It's a little more complex than just choosing from the Oreo group or the Butterfinger group.

Eating is getting much too complicated, it seems. There is a combination of science and guilt trip applied to what was once enjoyable. The irony is that those who will eat with moderation and exercise don't need the pyramid or any other geometric device. And some of those who need it most won't pay any attention to it anyway, and eventually they will appear on the Jerry Springer Show in their underwear throwing chairs at their mates because they finally confessed to having sex with their bowling partners.

Apparently the pyramid was misconstrued, says some of the experts. Some people interpreted it to mean that the more important foods were at the top. In other words, they followed a "top-of-the-list" rationale. A similar misconception would be getting a yellow ribbon for fourth place and thinking it was a gold ribbon which obviously had to be more precious than a blue one.

Federal officials said about 80 percent of Americans recognize the pyramid. That's kind of like saying they also recognize the Sphinx but they won't be going to Egypt. " Yep, that's what it is all right."

I guess I romance a much simpler time when if someone said "carb," you would ask, "Two-barrel" or "four-barrel?"

I'm no expert on telling people what to eat, but instead of a graphic wouldn't it be much more effective to use two photos with a list of associated foods out beside them? What I mean is, for all of that high grain, high fiber stuff use a photo of Richard Simmons. And for all the bad stuff that tastes so good, use a photo of Rozanne Barr. If they want to put them inside a pyramid, a rectangle or an octagon, I don't think it will really matter.

Now I know that sounds cruel and insensitive so maybe we should be generic and just use cartoon characters like Fat Albert and Twiggy. No calculus would be involved. And the message could not be misconstrued.

Much like the war in Iraq, I'm not sure the "battle of the bulge" is one that our government is going to win.

And in addition to a new graphic to describe proper eating habits, our government wants a catchy slogan to go with it. I think there's one already out there. "If it tastes good, spit it out."

And then there's the idea of having one of those beepers at the food bar -- the kind they have on forklifts. If someone overloads his plate, it warns others in the vicinity that he or she might be backing up.

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