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“Junk Food Junkie,” by Larry Groce

Culture | January 22, 2018

Woman Eating Junk Food (Original Caption) Jessica Musumeci eats the food that she likes. (Photo by mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Nutrition is not a new concept and has, in fact, been studied for centuries. Early studies were on the right track but not that scientifically or significantly useful. As Americans, we are known for enjoying our overindulgence's, to a fault at times. In this day and age, though, we now have a better understanding of the importance of nutrition. Some people take more stock than others in eating right but for the most part, we all at least WANT to be healthy.

I’m sure, as a child, we were all told to eat our vegetables and clean our plates. After all, there are children starving all over the world. Those starving children would've loved to have had my liver and I wish I could have given it to them. Also, I think, but I wouldn’t swear to it, that it was an official sin to eat dessert before dinner. I’m sure I will have plenty of company in Hell so I’m not that worried.

Larry Groce has not exactly been a well-recognized, household name. That is not to say, however, that he has nothing to offer. Groce is a singer/songwriter and radio host who has enjoyed modest success throughout his career. One of his gigs was as a performer at a coffeehouse that served healthy, organic food. This proved very profitable for Groce as his insight ultimately led to his 15 minutes of fame.

One of Groce’s specialties was recording fun, novelty songs. In 1976, he released a song called, Junk Food Junkie. The song spent 15 weeks on the U.S. music charts. It was Groce’s one and only song that ever made the charts and was a Top Ten hit. I guess that makes Groce a one-hit wonder!

The song really hit home with listeners, which is obviously the reason it made the music charts. Although people weren’t proud to admit it, they could relate to the lyrics. The song, Junk Food Junkie, told the story of a man who was, essentially, leading a double life. Not as a criminal or a crossdresser, but as a junk food addict. By day he was the picture of discipline; eating nothing but an all-natural diet of nourishing and healthy food. In reality, though, once he was alone, his dark secret was revealed in the song’s lyrics.

About the time Junk Food Junkie came out, Baby Boomers around the country were hitting that mid-life crisis age and stressing over their youth and fitness. It should come as no surprise then that the country was in the midst of a healthy lifestyle kick.

People began trying to eat healthier and exercise more. Health food stores started popping up everywhere; it what a real craze. Merchandisers realized that food products sold better if they were labeled, “health food” or “100% natural”.

Like a lot of fads, some people took the health food craze to an extreme. That was all the inspiration Groce needed to get the wheels turning. He brilliantly exploited the health food kick and put himself on the charts with his clever song.

“Mr. Natural” is what he called himself. Out in public, people saw him eating plain yogurt, drinking hand pressed cider and having a carrot stick for dessert at the “Whole Earth Vitamin Bar”.

As soon as he was alone, though, he went to his closet and got out the strong box with his secret stash. After looking carefully, to the left and to the right, to make sure he was really alone, he would break it out and overindulge to beat the band! Hidden inside, was a junk food junkie’s dream come true.

The secret box contained his forbidden vice and he declared, “Then I sit back in expectation of a genuine junk food high”. Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Pringles, Fritos, Moon Pies… it was all in there! Next, he washed it all down with a Dr. Pepper. He felt so naughty that he asked, “Good Lord have pity on me.”.

Of course, Junk Food Junkie was a song poking fun at the health craze that was sweeping America at the time. People were so gung-ho to eat healthy and reclaim their youth. When Groce released his song, it caused America to step back and laugh at themselves. It was also a good excuse to indulge in a Big Mac or two!

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.