Mayor Michael Bloomberg's food paranoia is getting worse. He's flipping out.

At this point, he wants New York City to outlaw any sugary soda over 16 ounces. This would be the first such law in the country. He says it'll help the obesity problem.

So if you visit the Big Apple you'd be denied a large soda. You still can order a 40-oz. beer. You also can order a 40-oz. fruit juice or a milkshake the size of Godzilla. Bloomberg thinks those drinks have no calories. It's only Coke and Pepsi that make us fat.

But here's how to deal with this silliness. If you want a large soda in New York, simply order two 16-ounzers.

No wonder they're calling the mayor ''the New York soda jerk."

This illustrates the problem of nanny-state mentality. What comes next? Will Bloomberg decide to ban ice cream? Will he outlaw hamburgers and hot dogs and force people to eat broccoli?

To what extent should government control what we eat, and should they regulate the size of our portions?

In Pennsylvania and across the country, there's been a move to overhaul school lunches.

The Department of Agriculture says lunches subsidized by the federal government should be reduced-sodium, low-fat milk and chock-full of whole grains. New guidelines are based on recommendations by the Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences.

That's fine. But it makes me feel that government is becoming increasingly more intrusive in our lives.

I was halfway through my schooling before cafeterias were introduced into the public school system.

I remember entering eighth grade with a new realization we kids would no longer be allowed to walk home at lunchtime. Many students didn't like the idea. As I recall, some didn't want to stay in school the entire day. They likened it to being in prison.

But school lunches became the law.

We stayed in school all day long and paid 35 cents for lunch. Back then, the meal was simple. There were few choices. Some days they served pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches. Normal food. But other days they'd slop out some kind of grayish patty smothered in gravy. We weren't actually sure what it was. We called it mystery meat. The school fed us mystery meat often. Our parents, the World War II generation, probably would call it S.O.S. If you're too young to know what S.O.S. is, sorry ... I'm not allowed to tell you here. I'd get in trouble real fast.

Anyway, I can still remember my first day in the school cafeteria and the sanitized smell.

For me, homemade cooking was so much fresher than the school's mass-produced, institutional food. School food seemed unnatural. But school lunches were the law of the land and so we complied.

Hopefully, school vittles have improved since then.

But the bottom line is that I'm grateful to have the freedom to control my own diet. I don't want to be bottle-fed by Mayor Bloomberg. Besides, I've heard that he guzzles down plenty of junk food himself. He's known to put way too much salt on everything. He puts salt on Saltine crackers. And he likes fatty stuff. He probably puts mayonnaise on aspirin. Yet this guy is going to tell the rest of us how to eat?

I don't want a politician telling me my ginger ale is too large or what size candy bar I can enjoy.

I want to make those decisions on my own. If I want to be told what to eat, I'll tune into Rachael Ray.

Otherwise, I'll select my own food and eat what I want. I'm an old man. I've earned that right. Besides, when I gain weight, my wrinkles disappear.

So gimme a jumbo soda with those fries. And a two-pound burger. But hold the mayo. I'm on a diet.