God has a funny sense of humor. He created our bodies so that our spinal cords cannot repair themselves, and neither can our brains if they’re damaged in certain ways. And amputations — you can’t come back from that.
But taste buds, those little bumps on your tongue that you rarely ever think about, God makes sure everybody has those no matter what. Of all the things in the body he could’ve made tough as nails, it’s strange that taste buds were his choice.
For those who believe in evolution, this taste bud prominence makes complete sense. The taste buds are part of the mouth, which is one of the most important parts of the body for staying alive, which explains why taste buds are so resilient. Duh.
Ok, maybe they’re right, and Thank God. Can we just celebrate for a moment the amazingness of taste buds? Emeril Lagasse once said, “God I hope there’s food in heaven” (I say this every night). Taste buds take gray everyday life and put a rainbow right through it, with glitter everywhere. And taste buds are the one thing hasn’t changed despite my spinal cord injury.
The banana bread I loved as a kid, warm and straight from the oven with butter melting on top, is still exactly the same as I remember it, even though I’m 33 and a C6 quadriplegic. I can’t say that’s true with a lot of other things in life. I love spices, and discovering crazy foods. Am I a foodie? Hell yes (salt and pepper must be on everything. Always).
I once met a woman who had no sense of smell because of a car crash, and it greatly affected the way she tasted food (even though her taste buds were still intact). I always felt bad for her (but not too much since she was completely able-bodied otherwise). It’s interesting…the prospect of going through life and not really loving food.
Of course, being in a wheelchair, you always have to be careful with the whole overeating thing. It can be a hard though, with Cinnabon dreams and chili dog cravings. And you have to consider some secondary issue related to your disability that you’d rather not even have to think about.
Food can help you feel better, take your mind off things. It can even make you feel more alive — especially if you eat something spicy (so true). I love love love my taste buds. For me — along with my family and reading and writing — they are what make life still worth living.
Do you love food? How do you enjoy it more than the average person?