Friday, January 18, 2008
Chew And Spit
Sat down to eat a piece of pizza the other night after work and turned on the television, deciding to watch Intervention on the recommendation of students and friends. All rehab and recovery shows appeal to me, the fall from grace, the struggle to get it back, the heartrending details of our private lives. The set up of this one is fairly simple -- someone with a problem relating to drugs, alchol, sex, eating, cutting, or whatever you have agrees to be on a documentary about addiction. But they don't know that their families hope to get them out of this cycle by cornering him or her, listing off various sins (although it's always referred to as behavior), and the consequences (usually cutting them off instead of providing money or love, a process known by those who adore jargon as enabling), and then the viewer is given a summary follow-up. Of course, they don't all work which gives the show its mystery. I happened upon one about an anorexic/bulimic named Amy who spent a whole lot of time dancing (she was past her ballerina prime, giving the activity a sort of Zelda Fitzgerald vibe), hanging out with her best friend (another anorexic), and hiding her "chew and spit" behavior from her live-in fiance, a sweet man with severe burns all over his face from a car accidernt. For the uninitiated, chew and spit is where someone chews food and spits it up before swallowing. Amy managed to go through several hours and many cup rinses in one night -- I put down my piece of pizza and thought better of it. I can eat through almost anything, but this gave me pause.
Amy had externalized her eating disorder, calling it Eddie (strange that it should have a male name) and drawing pictures of him, bloodshot evil monster eyes in a notebook. The notebook also contained tons of pictures of thin girls (Mary Kate Olsen was featured often) along with notes about how to better binge and purge and hate mail to herself, things like "You are a horrible fat pig." At the end of the show, she agreed to go to an eating disorder clinic (and they sent her best friend as well which sent them both into tears of joy at the idea that they wouldn't have to go alone). But she didn't get well and she married someone else. Now she has a child and continues to dance and chew and spit and all the other things that the show tried to remedy. The pink cloud at the end of the show, everyone hugging and crying and saying, I love you, was just that, an evaporation, a moment in time. Health, elusive as ever, remained far away, like a mirage, because say what you will, Eddie was real. She had the pictures to prove it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Our souls were clean, but the grass didn't grow." Van Morrison
Drinking music suggestion: ESP Miles Davis
Benedictions and Maledictions