The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

BLOOD, NEAT AND EXTRA SWEET: The problem with being a diabetic here in our happy little burg is that invariably everyone in town finds out about it. Now it's nice that so many people take an interest in your health, if only for the opportunity it affords for them to talk about their health, but frankly after a while it gets annoying; I decided when first diagnosed that I was not going to one of those morose diabetics who go around looking balefully at other people's lunches and declaring that if I had one slice of that pie I would drop dead on the floor with the crumbs still on my lips. First, it's not true, and second, as a rule I look at these pie-eating people and call them sadistic bastards. But the people who bring my problem up do tend to go on and on about how lousy they feel and how the doctors say that they're not sure what's wrong with them and how they've survived mystery illnesses that have killed tens of thousands of poor unsuspecting wretches somewhere in Africa, and how about them Yankees, guy? I usually don't mind discussing my problem, if asked, but I try not to let it rule my life, and I can do without the long and very graphic descriptions of how your best friend's sister's cousin's brother in law's Uncle Martin's feet were amputated because he couldn't do without his daily dose of whipped cream slathered pineapple upside down cake and a coffee with three sugars.

The other problem I have with everyone knowing is that everyone feels the need, no, not the need, but the obligation, to tell me that something I am about to eat is not good for me. People who wouldn't dream of commenting on my political opinions feel no compunction whatever about having an opinion about my lunch. Lunch has become something akin to a baseball game, with color commentary of what I am eating paired with a play by play of how my Subway Veggie Delite is probably no good for me unless I chew each and every bite at least thirty-two times in order to extract every last bit of nutrition out of the vegetables. And, you know, I used to like lettuce, both romaine and iceberg, but now just looking at a head of the damn stuff gives me a case of the chills. I can't even cheat a little bit; maybe a Yodel here or a Ring Ding there; all the storekeepers in town know about my problem and will be the first to rat me out to my family if I so much look at a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and then once the family knows the news will be all over town before supper time. If I want to cheat I'd have to drive all the way over to Danbury, where no one knows me or cares to, and where I can buy a Hershey's bar without the censure of the entire town coming down on my head.

Of course, I could always turn to the streets, to the dark and dangerous trade in junk food for diabetics. I could meet a sugar pusher in some dark alley and pay twenty dollars for a bite of a Yodel the pusher stole from some kid on his way to school the day before. Then when I have ruined my life with junk food and pizza, when even my pusher will no longer sell me an M&M (chocolate, not peanut), I could go through the twelve steps of Sweeteners Anonymous, recognizing that only the intervention of a higher power can save me from my craving for sugar, cornstarch, and partially hydrogenated fats from anyone of several vegetable oils, and I will return with joy in my heart to a regimen of jabbing my fingers and abdomen with sharp objects. As long as I don't have to eat anymore damn lettuce, I'll be fine.


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