I recently had a long conversation with an activist, and it got me to thinking about some of the really big problems and what I can do to help. I can’t make a meaningful difference with monetary contributions, as I manage to spend my entire paycheck on myself every month, and a little introspection revealed that I won’t be able to provide manpower because I hate bugs, and developing countries always seem to be full of bugs. What I can offer is my Careful Thinking [TM], and so today I dedicated an entire subway ride home from work to this problem, and just when I was approaching my stop and ready to give up, it hit me. We, the philanthropic, have been thinking about world hunger all wrong.
The problem isn’t that there isn’t enough food for everyone, the problem is that the people in developing countries are eating their available food too fast. We need to slow them down, encourage them to chew. The way to do this is put braces on everyone in the third world. Remember how deliberately you ate when you had braces? It took me 30 minutes to get a turkey sandwich down. And braces turn even the smallest spread into The Meal That Keeps On Feeding, as in little bits of lunch from three days ago – like an extended release tablet. Lastly, I find that orthodontists are underappreciated and underpaid at home, and could use a morale boost – in the form of a couple billion new customers.
I even have an inspirational slogan: Brace Yourself.