Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”
The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.
Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!
1. The Helpful iPlate of Doom by Marina Fontaine
“Hello. I’m an iPlate, here to help you make healthy food choices. Please deposit acceptable food and wait for green light to start eating.”
2. The Bachelor Bears by Dennis Maley
Three bachelor bears lived communally in a cabin deep in a national park. One bear was undersized, another was a middle-sized bear, and the last had been overserved. The large bear was almost too big for the front door of the cabin.
3. Goldilocks and the Three Bears Coffee Co. by Jack Morgan
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Progressistan, there lived a girl named Goldilocks, who was considered beautiful by the outdated standards of the white-supremacist, heteronormative patriarchy. Goldilocks lived in government subsidized housing on the edge of an enchanted forest and she would venture out into it to commune with the Earth Goddess daily.
4. Hillary Steinem: Kid Community Organizer and Detective by Dean Anderson
Knock, knock! There was a knock on the club house door. Hillary and Makayla were studying in the clubhouse Hillary’s Grandma Betty had built for her. (When Grandma Betty built the clubhouse, she made sure to follow all of the appropriate city codes and filed for all of the appropriate permits.) Hillary opened the door to see it was Billy! Billy was taking a big bite out of a very large cookie.
5. The Obedient Courage and Open-Mindedness of Healthy Herbie by Erich Forschler
Healthy Herbie and his neighbor, Selfish Face, played together in the backyard sandbox at Selfish Face’s house. “I’m gonna make a castle and then the knights are gonna have a war!” Selfish Face exclaimed. His eyes shimmered with racist hatred as he filled a small plastic bucket with sand.
6. John Henry Goes to Washington DC by Nick D’Orazio
GRANDDAUGHTER: Did Big John fight the steam drill?
GRANDFATHER: No he didn’t. He marched right up to the government and asked for unemployment. And you know what? He got it too! Because big John Henry was the best there ever was at getting things.
7. Welcome to the Club by Colin Blake
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.
8. The Emperor’s New Accomplishments by Frank J. Fleming
Long ago in a faraway land lived an emperor named Obama. He was the greatest emperor the people had ever known; everyone knew he was the smartest and the most capable emperor that had ever existed. The only problem was that he had no accomplishments to show for his greatness.
9. Johnny and Margie Meet Auntie Sam by John L. Scot
“I don’t like Aunt Samantha,” said Margie. “She’s too bossy. Why do we have to pay her tribute?”
“Because Auntie Sam gives us everything,” Vanna replied. “She pays for your education, for our medical care, for retirement, she keeps us safe, and she even tells what to eat so we can stay healthy.”
10. The Good Hood Fairy by Jack July
Once upon a time there was a girl named LaQuisha who lived in the ghetto outside of Philadelphia. She was watching TV and smiling while imagining her life as a character in an episode of the Cosby show. Her little brother was in bed and her Momma wouldn’t be home from the factory till morning. As she reached for her glass of green Kool-Aid, shots rang out from somewhere outside. She dove to the floor like her Momma taught her spilling her Kool-Aid.
11. Abuela’s Healthy Porridge by George Tobin
Ernesto and Herve laughed and held hands on the way to the house ofthe kind old woman they called “Abuela” or “Granny.” Today the growing darkness from the North seemed far away. Today was made for celebrating with whole grains and organic fruits. Today they had no concerns but to enjoy being young, Sandinista and gay.
image illustration via shutterstock / ORLIO