My wife, Anne, and I went to a local diner for breakfast this past Saturday morning. (The establishment shall remain unnamed lest it become the target of harassment or forced closure by The American Heart Association, The American College of Cardiology, The American Medical Association, and PACE (Politicians Attempting Control of Everything).

On the menu, I noticed an entry (or entrée) called the Artery Dam Special. This item comprised:

  • Three eggs, any style, cooked in bacon fat
  • Your choice of toast, muffin, bagel, or English muffin (with butter)
  • Home fries
  • Two slices of bacon
  • Two sausage patties
  • Two pancakes
  • Two slices of french toast
  • A Belgian waffle
  • A wheelchair
  • Two defibrillators
  • A four-pack of do-it-yourself stents
  • A gift certificate for LIFE STAR.

Nobody ordered it while we were there. Nor were there any ambulances or helicopters in the parking lot. But since we’re always fashionably late, we were considerably behind the early-morning breakfast rush.

Have a Heart

I couldn’t believe the Artery Dam Special was on the menu. Here’s why:

No one could eat a breakfast like that and survive, except my maternal grandmother. She thought the three major food groups were gravy, ice cream, and Manhattans, in no particular order. She fried everything from steak to bread dough, from chicken livers to mince and peas in bacon fat. She ordered onion rings with a side order of grease. She thought jellies, jams, and fruit preserves were an obscene abuse of buttered toast. She thought bacon and pork rinds were the eighth and ninth wonders of the world. She couldn’t be convinced they came from pigs. And she ate like that, drank like that, and out-everythinged all of us until well into her 90s.

As she got older, everything about her eventually failed — her eyes, her hearing, her legs, her mind — everything, that is, except her magnificent heart. That thing beat like a trip hammer until the very end. It gave up, no doubt, in complete disgust because everything else in the system it supported had already packed it in.

I told Anne that story about Grandma’s heart as we ate. She cried a little because her heart is as big as Grandma’s was.

Anne knows, as I do, that no one else’s could be as strong. After all, we’re only human.

Image by geralt, courtesy of