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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Going Overboard?

As in, "On the."

Going Overboard?

I was in the supermarket the other day approaching the check-out line when I ran into a frantic young woman. She spoke only a word or two of Spanish and was unsuccessful in her attempt to ascertain the ingredients of some package she was holding. The woman at the cash register didn't speak English and didn't seem particularly interested in this gal's eating disorder. I was right there so I couldn't help but come to her rescue. She had some sort of mixed salad thing wrapped in plastic like you might see in the display window of Starbucks. I had never noticed anything like this at the supermarket. Turns out she was British and a vegetarian, not necessarily in that order. I read the ingredients of the dressing and it contained anchovies. I bid her good luck in her meatless quest. Spain isn't the best place for a vegetarian, unless you happen to be the sort of vegetarian that consumes lots of pork products.

I wouldn't feed my pet turtle the funky looking salad that the cute Brit girl was about to have for lunch. Lettuce has got to be about the most useless thing you can put in your body. Turns out my turtle eats veggies after all. I thought that he only ate his little fishes but I have a basil plant right next to his tank and a few leaves fell in. He devoured them. I think he just likes the basil as a sort of palate cleanser between helpings of fish. I haven't found out whether or not my turtle eats pork, although he will eat pieces of a tortilla de patatas.

Being a vegetarian has always seemed a little extreme to me—extreme and not very healthy. I have met many women who are vegetarians; on the West Coast vegetarianism has reached epidemic proportions. I think that for the most part being a vegetarian is a type of eating disorder. It is simply a control mechanism for people obsessed with weight issues. Pretty silly to deny yourself something simply to keep off a few pounds. It's even more ridiculous when I do it.

There's a great old joke from the movie Airplane where shit keeps falling down around the Loyd Bridges character and he begins by saying, “I picked a bad week to stop drinking coffee,” and ends up with, “I picked a bad week to stop dropping acid.” I have voluntarily decided to go on the wagon the last two weeks of August. This is not the result of some court order after I crashed the school bus I was driving while intoxicated; this is purely by my own volition. I didn't even come to this decision after I found myself face-down in my own filth in a dank prison cell after a night of debauchery (Shit, I wish I had a nickel for every time THAT has happened). No, I decided to deny myself the ecstasy of a cold beer after a hot bike ride strictly on the basis of vanity: I want to try to get a six pack on my stomach instead of inside of it. A sissy-ass reason to quite drinking but I just had a birthday and I am curious if I am even capable of having some sort of underwear model body at this advanced age (50).

You may be asking: Isn't that a little extreme? Hell yes it's extreme. I would go so far as to say that it's kind of creepy not to be able to have a glass of wine with a bowl of olives, but it's only two weeks. Two weeks of brutal and unrelenting sobriety. Two weeks of a merciless lack of change in my consciousness. I only have five days left and I still haven't received any calls from Calvin Klein so I may have to extend my self-imposed exile from Boozeville. I still impulsively buy wine. I figure that I am not going to punish my friends by not having alcohol in the house when I have people over for dinner, and I don't like for people to have to bring anything when I invite them over. I also haven't had a cigar in three weeks or so. I hate my life.

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