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

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: ESP Miles Davis

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

13 comments:

Matthew Brucolli said...

Poor Zelda burned to death in an insane asylum.

Brian in Mpls said...

I think we all have an Eddie in our life.

Cheri said...

I remember that episode hahaha. Quite nasty but the poor woman, living that way.


Hope you're having a good trip!

RRN said...

All I could think of while reading this today were two different songs by the band Kittie. The first song being 'Spit' and the second 'Pussy Sugar'. Strange , as I haven't thought of the band or their music in sometime.

The reflections our society casts upon females and the potential effects of said can be highly disturbing at times.



I love eating pizza.

~~~

Anonymous said...

Maybe she was an Iron Maiden fan. The band's mascot, Eddie, was a skeleton.

Lana Gramlich said...

"Intervention" is a train wreck of a show to me. I'm horrified, but can't look away. I can't help but imagine how my mom (a long time alcoholic & prescription abuser,) would have responded to such. Not only would she have told us all to go f*ck ourselves, but I probably would've ended up with one hell of a beating once we got home. When death finally showed up she couldn't tell it to go f*ck itself, anyway...

the walking man said...

ahhh sweet addiction has finally hit the big time. A television show all it's own. The times I have seen this show I could tell who would make it more than a year and who would probably leave the rehab before it was complete. Wonder why?

Personally Michelle I would have changed the channel and ate my pizza, gone to a true crime show where murder is is the subject of the moment as opposed to slow suicide.

I feel great pain for addicts of everything but I have known too many of them to help (enable) them in anyway, not even with words because they are all too self absorbed and them that want help will find it and them that don't can't be forced into it because all they will think about is "when this is done, I can go get some crack or whatever."

7 years sober now, but I do take a hell of a lot of pills hah hahah hahaha.

Peace

mark

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana watches this show. I usually can't take the pain.

Scott said...

Strangely enough, I happen to have caught a part of this specific episode while over at a friend's house, recently. I didn't watch the whole thing, but from the little bit that I saw I can remember thinking that in this case, all the people who were acting so concerned and were trying to get her help, were probably 90% of the cause for why she is the way she is. This is a horrible reason to put people on tv and, much like Jerry Springer, sensationalizes this kind of dysfunction, encouraging people to try to exploit rather than fix their problem, because it might get them extra attention. Might even get them on tv.

Fucked up self-rightous people who think they're helping other fucked up people with their "intervention."

But we wouldn't want people going around fixing their own problems before they pretend to fix other people's problems. That doesn't make for good tv.

Ashley said...

I found your blog after Googling "chew and spit" for a research paper. I've seen that same episode of Intervention. I believe that her name was actually Andie. Also, I'm sure she called her eating disorder by the name Ed because it stands for the initals of Eating Disorder. EDs frequently are given names. Many anorexics call their disorder Ana and bulimics call theirs Mia.

Anonymous said...

she called is "eddie" because the abbreviation for eating disorder is "ed"

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Anonymous said...

Eating Disorder = ED.
eddie.