Saturday, June 17, 2006
Satan Wants Me Fat!
As a gymnast, I've tried every diet known to man, including, but not limited to Atkins (when it wasn't fashionable), Susan Powter low-fat hell, Beverly Hills, Scarsdale . . . the list could go on, but I can't. Everything I couldn't eat was always what I wanted, every season was a misery, the weigh-ins and fat belts (thick pieces of elastic to keep our waists in) had beaten me down. I wasn't a great gymnast, by any stretch, and only sheer determination kept me going long after the cold facts told me to give it the hell up. How did you hurt yourself today? was a question that most of my family and friends had taken to asking me, my hands were tore up with what we called rips, blisters that had opened from the uneven bars, and if I had stayed in any longer, I would have not been able to date men way too old for me, my favorite past-time as a teenager. Still, the dieting habit stuck a little too long, no movie of the week anorexia, I'm dancing as fast as I can stuff, but more the mundane calorie counting, fat-reducing, I'm going to slurp vodka and eat nothing but popsicles this week sort of deal.
My favorite diet book ever, Satan Wants Me Fat!, showed up like grace in Recycled Books and Records in Denton, Texas when my friend Priscilla and I were doing our usual Friday night graduate student perusal of the goods on the clearance shelves. Satan Wants Me Fat! said that people were fat because of demonic influences and that it was safe, advised even, to speak out against Satan when tempted to snack. Examples included "I will not have those potato chips, Satan!" Priscilla and I had tried damn near everything, but not speaking against the ex-Angel of Light. We nearly died laughing, but I remembered a woman named Wendy from my youth who was married to a charismatic youth minister (the glamor job in Christian ministries -- all those young girls, swooning after you, dying to be your wife if only you didn't already have one), and he was having an affair. She'd decided to go on a fast (per the Bible verse about some situations only changing through prayer and fasting) for Jesus in order to make Adulterous Youth Minister Boy change his unholy ways. Well, it didn't, but she got so thin that she nearly died and had to take a class at the church about curing eating disorders through spiritual means. Satan, it seemed, did not want her fat, but wanted her very thin, Karen Carpenter thin, and her husband wasn't going to stop cavorting with his mistress no matter what -- he'd lost his job, the swooning girls, the respect of the elders, and on and on. Seems that having sex with a gorgeous woman had trumped all of that. Of all the things Wendy had to swallow as part of her recovery, this must have been the most difficult. Satan Wants Me Fat! went back on the shelves, and Priscilla and I went out to dinner, a demoralizing affair always, me with a big heaping plate of steamed rice and Dr. Pepper, her with Diet Dr. Pepper and some stir-fried vegetables, but we had good company in each other and the knowledge that we could talk back to Satan whenever we felt like it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The biggest victory Satan has is making us not believe in him." C.S. Lewis
Cowgirl With A Twist
25 ml chilled peach schnapps
12.5 ml Bailey's Irish Cream
A shot garnished with a peach wedge. Eat peach wedge after the shot. Layer the schnapps first.
Benedictions and Maledictions
The Other Woman
There's always one, even when there's not:
the childhood sweetheart, the one that never
loved you, your mother's beautiful friend. Or
maybe there is someone, all flesh and blood,
and you see her around Christmas, that doomed
nostalgia that sends you running into her
bed, every meeting a child's peek-a-boo
game, Will I see you again? hanging
in the air like a noose while you search
for your clothese, reassemble yourself
without thought, noticing the colored
lights in someone else's window shining
all for you through no effort of your own.