45-Year-Old Spends Life at Dining Room Table
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PELLA, IA Todd Gordon has been confined to his parents’ dining room table for the past 39 years. And he doesn’t plan on leaving any time in the near future.

Thirty-nine years ago, when Gordon was just six years old, Rachel Gordon, Todd’s mother, served Brussels sprouts. Determined not to eat the vegetables, the youngster said nothing but, “They’re yucky.”

Rachel Gordon, now 68 years old, has tried everything to get her son to eat the sprouts. She tried telling him that he’d never grow big and strong like his dad if he didn’t eat them. She told him that even Superman eats Brussels sprouts. She tried flying the airplane into the hangar—but Todd couldn’t be fooled by the flying sprout.

In a moment of desperation, Mrs. Gordon launched the full attack, warning her son that she’d make him sit by the table until he ate four whole sprouts.

And Todd looked away and said, “They’re yucky.”

He’s been there ever since. Todd has spent his evenings at the table, only allowed to leave for school (and now for work at the Pella Stop and Shop) and for sleeping. He spends the rest of the time staring at a plate of dried-up Brussels sprouts. The sprouts just keep looking yuckier and yuckier as the years pass, but Todd is convinced that he will never give in.

“It was pretty tough growing up,” said Todd. “I mean, summers were really long. And I tried to date once, but she wasn’t too fond of the idea of hanging out at my house all the time. But I’m not ever going to eat those things. Ever.”

Through the years, Todd has tried to escape his punishment numerous times. He’s tried paying his siblings to eat them. Now he tries paying off his nieces and nephews. He’s tried sneaking off the chair and hiding the sprouts in potted plants. He’s tried feeding them to the dog. And he’s just tried throwing them. But they always end up back on his plate.

Said Todd’s mother, “I can’t just give in. Then he’d never learn. I made the threat, and I have to go through with it. I don’t care if he is 45. He’s going to learn to take me seriously.”

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