Friday, April 12, 2013
The Day of Nutritional Disasters.
Yesterday, I attended a morning meeting about fundraising for a huge project, and I made the foolish assumption that I shouldn't bother eating breakfast since the Development folks, whom most of us assume are rolling in dough and exceedingly sensitive to refined tastes, would have some healthy things to eat. Usually, our morning meetings at school include granola, unsweetened yogurt, maybe a scone and some fruit, along with coffee, juice and water. When I got there, however, I saw tidily laid out on the table, next to a regiment of promotional brochures and a big honking box of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, an assortment of gooey pastries—eclairs and the like—all small enough to fit in the palm of your hand but plentiful enough to help a man pack on about 25 pounds in the space of an hour. They were arranged like weapons in the armory of a medieval king: lethal little cream puffs and candy colored cakes concealing malignant motives.
Thus began my two day descent into the nutritional underworld. I stuffed about 9 or 10 of these shitty little things in my mouth before I noticed I was the only one eating. A little paper plate overflowed with crimped tissue linings over the course of an hour. Truth be told, one or two of these things may have been consumed by my colleagues, but my sweet tooth took control and I soon found myself bloated and irritable. Much worse, I wanted more. Much more.
No problem. My 11:00 o'clock meeting with a student turned out to be a surprise party for my assistant and me staged by an extremely affectionate and thoughtful group of our seniors who'd set up the appointment as a ploy to get me into the office for the party. While it was an impossibly touching gesture, I once again faced near criminal indictment in my consumption of Doritos, Oreos, Starburst candies and donuts. Every thank you was punctuated by the pop of another cookie or chip into my gluttonous pie hole.
Near death, I was sent reeling in a cloud of depression and lethargy. I swore off eating for the rest of the day, but no sooner had I made this promise than I was in yet another meeting. This was dinner fare, and it was full of creamy sauces, heavy breads and desserts. Oh, there was the half-heartedly prepared lettuce salad, given the gratuitous corner of my plate, but the die was cast early in the day and nothing was going to stop me. And more than 24 hours later, the momentum staged by the gastronomical engine of eclairs so early in the morning is still humming. I've somehow had an absolutely insatiable craving for potato chips all day. Something tells me there's an insidious plot afoot by the the USFDA, Frito-Lay and Little Debbie, because I've seen this pattern before: get me started and I can't stop if the fare is sweet, fatty or salty. It's the weirdest thing, and it's pretty depressing, literally. My blood sugar plummets, I get gloomy and pissed off, and a glimpse in the mirror instantly reveals the grotesque effects.
I don't know where I'm getting with this, other than serving up a public tirade of the ruinous effect this crap has had on the past two days. I'm not lying when I say I can totally see how excess Twinkie consumption drove an enraged Dan White to shoot up San Francisco City Hall way back in 1978. The Hostess-Snoball-Straight-to-Hell effect precipitated by that first bite is devastating for me. I can't run, I feel like shit, and I remain unmotivated throughout the day, slogging through work. It has little to do with my bulging belly bulk (although that's tragic, admittedly); it's more about the way some foods make me feel: like a five-foot-ten silicone implant with a gyroscope whirring inside, perched on stilts and flailing machetes.
In about 15 minutes I leave to have photographic portraits taken for a school-sponsored project intended to inspire, cheer and fortify diversity our community. Last night's dinner meeting presented an opportunity to write some material to orient the photographer before our session, so that he'd have a better sense of who I am. God help the poor man. He's soon to find out.