Anna and Will ran inside holding a doll and a ball respectively, not realizing what a fury that was going to cause among the literati.

"I’m hungry," shouted Will.

"So am I," said Anna.

"I have a special game to play for lunch today, children. We will find foods with a chart a federal bureaucracy approves of," their mother said.

"Why do adults think calling something a game makes it one, Mother?" asked Will. "Is it drugs?"

"What’s a bureaucracy?" asked Anna.

"A bureaucracy is like a mommy," their mother said. "Except instead of loving you, it wants to keep its job."

"Oh," said Anna.

"I know," said Will. "I learned about this in school. The way to be healthy is to do what the government says. Eat from the Four Food Groups."

"Uh, no," their mother said.

"I know!" shouted Anna. "The Food Pyramid."

"Uh. Nope."

"MyPyramid?" pleaded Will.

"Afraid not," their mother said. "The Only Right Answer comes from the USDA."

"But those all came …"

"Don’t interrupt, dear," said their mother. "The USDA knows best. And they created MyPlate for us to follow. There never was another guideline."

"What is a USDA?" asked Anna.

"Why that’s the Department of Agriculture, of course," their mother said. "Agronomists know everything when it comes to nutritional physiology. Just like Senators know all about healthcare."

"Mommy, you’re scaring me," said Anna.

"My teacher said that if we did what the government said we could be part of the club" said Will. "And get a Certificate!"

"Yay!" said Anna.

"Yay!" said Will.

"Yay!" said their mother. Their mother, tragically, had no name. She was only a sock-puppet, which was sad.

Will pointed to the brightly-colored modified pie chart/Venn diagram Gantt function, which kids love. "The first group on the chart is Vested Interests. We have to find a food promoted by the USDA because of vested interests." He raced to the refrigerator.

"Wait. What?" asked their mother.

"Milk is good." said Will. "They have a powerful lobby. But low-fat yogurt is even better. People think it’s healthy."

"I won’t like it" said Anna, and took a bite. "I do like it! Sugar bomb! Yipeee! Yip yip yippee!"

"Stop running around," said their mother. "And stop shaking. You worry me, child. Pick one from the next group."

Anna looked at the chart. "The next group is One Size Fits All. Yipeee!"

"Where did you get that chart?" their mother asked.

"I pick whole wheat crackers!" cried Anna. "At 18 calories per cracker Will needs to eat over two hundred just to get through football practice. One size fits all! Ha ha! I like this game."

"Now Anna, it was funny when Will came home from school with malnutrition, but there’s no need to be a dick about it. Now we need something from the last group, Will," their mother said.

Will was excited. "This is easy. The last group on the chart is the Just Plain Wrong group. I have to find a food where the USDA has been proven flat dead wrong. I could pick almost anything! Butter, margarine, red meat, white meat, the other white meat …"

"Will …" said their mother.

"Coffee, chocolate, bacon …"

"Will …" said their mother.

"cholesterol, skim milk, sodium …"

"Where is Daddy?" asked Anna. "Why is there never a daddy?" Nobody knew.

Mother interrupted. "Will, Anna, the important thing is we followed directions. Directions from people who know better than us, even when they don’t."

"Yay! And Yipeee! Do I get a certificate, then?" asked Anna.

"Yes" said their mother. "Stop chewing on your leg. But can you tell me what you’ve learned?"

"Obey!" said Anna.

"Adults take drugs!" said Will.

"Sigh," said their Mother. "Give me that chart and you can have your certificate and go out and play."

"Yay!" the children cheered and ran outside with their ball. And no dolly. There was never a dolly.

Their mother called out after them. "And if someone from the government tells you they want to help, you run and tell me or a grownup you trust!"

She looked at the chart in her hand. Paw. Whatevs. The chart said: The Moral Hazard Club.

The End
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