By Paul Marvin
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Just try a bite and you might like it

North Country Crock


October 4, 2018

Photo illustration by Paul Marvin

Participation in democracy is an important civic opportunity for all ages to get a taste of. Whether or not you take a bite out of a political sign is up to you.

Most kids growing up in the North Country have heard the same line from their parental units. "Just try a bite, you might like it." Stubborn kids like me had attempted not to heed this advice more than once. My opinion always made more sense than the alternative and was never based on fear. Sometimes we found success. Other occasions we sat at the dinner table until bed.

A notable exception is someone I know. Her dad, we'll call him Frank (not his real name), gave her peanut butter and jelly when she didn't like what Mrs. Frank placed on the table. As a result, this now adult someone still orders kids menu-esque items like chicken strips no matter how fancy or not-fancy the restaurant we visit is. Not only did Frank cultivate a chicken strip connoisseur, he inadvertently created a Food Chicken.

A Food Chicken is a real-life, North Country, mythical creature. Like a Lake Rat. It is someone who is afraid to try new foods.

But you didn't hear any of these secrets from me. In fact, I better cross the road and get out of here. When it comes to my wife, I'm a Chicken too. Not a Food Chicken, just the regular, scared husband kind.

Did I say wife? I meant Frank's kid.

But I'm not a chicken all the time. Remember, I'm stubborn. A Stubborn Kid is a real-life, Up-North, mythical creature. Like a Lake Rat or Food Chicken.

When Frank's kid and I first met, she wouldn't eat a certain meal. We'll call it tacos (not the real food).

I politely (not all the time) ridiculed her en Espanol and English until she tried my secret, 75 cent, store bought, packet recipe.

Guess what? She likes 'em. Like that kid Miguel and the 70's cereal. These days, we eat tacos every Tuesday (obviously)... Or any other time which ends in "day."

I'm pretty sure moms and dads who hold true to the philosophy of forcing their kids to try new things tend to produce future adults who ultimately embrace opportunities that take them outside of their comfort zones.

Believe me. Even though I don't have kids, parenting advice is my forte. Or however you say expertise in Spanish.

Since you've asked for advice about kids, here's something else. This fall, teach them the importance of voting.

I'm told barely 50 percent of people participate in democracy nationally. The percentage around here is actually quite a bit higher. Nice job, us.

Which just goes to show you, we have historically good parenting. Probably because you listen to what I say about raising kids.

Now quit being a Food Chicken and eat your dinner. And if you don't vote, give it a try. Heck, don't stop there. Volunteer or give someone a ride to the polls. Celebrate your democratic freedom as part of this great republic. Regardless of your political taste.

You might even like it.

Paul Marvin is a northern Minnesota communications/marketing consultant and artist. View his work at or


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