Blake’s Advice Column
I have an issue with my father and don’t know where to turn. Dad is in his early 80s and — aside from poor eyesight — he’s in good health. I’m concerned because he has developed an unusual habit. He likes to look through the dumpsters behind the grocery store. Recently, I have learned that he eats some of the things he finds. I have tried telling him this is dangerous. He could cut himself digging through the trash or get food poisoning. He refuses to listen and insists that what he is doing is safe. (He is not forced to do this out of economic necessity. He has enough money to buy groceries). The situation has become critical because he is now planning to cook something he found in the dumpster for a family gathering. I told him not to do it. If he does prepare food from the trash, I told him he must let people know where it came from, so they can make an informed decision about whether to eat it. Please advise me on this gross problem.
From Nashville, Tennessee
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I have never heard of anyone with a habit like the one your father acquired. I’m torn between he has dementia, or he’s a complete idiot looking for attention through diseases. What religion does he follow? Is he a Hindu that believes in reincarnation, and he thinks he was a pig in his former life? Or maybe he’s convinced that the U.S. will be in a nuclear war in the near future, and he’s practicing on not only how to survive, but where he would get a source of food if he wanted to start a restaurant business after all the grocery stores have been looted. But on the other hand, this might be a subtle message for you. He might think your cooking is so bad, that he along with your relatives want you to know that garbage out of a dumpster is tastier than some of the swill you prepare. However to be on the safe side, inform your family at the next gathering where the food came from so they can make the decision themselves. I’m trying to imagine a table filled with various vegetables, meat, and syringes for tetanus shots. I hope this helps.