Monday, January 13, 2014

The Elimination of Knowledge

One of the downsides of eating better is there is less reading time in my day.

See, your body knows what it needs - and everything that it doesn't, well, just moves on down the line. So eating nutritiously means less leftovers in your system, and that means less trips to the bathroom, no more 40 minute elimination marathons, and ipso fatso, less time reading.
So my body is getting healthier, and my spare tire is deflating, but my brain cells are slowly withering away. Mind or body - pick one.

My four food groups used to be Glaze, Caffeine, Super-Size and anything with 'Chip' in it. And so I would spend a considerable portion of each morning, afternoon, evening and middle of the night engaged in 'throne reading'.

And my bathroom was a shrine to Cerebral Elimination: There was a reading lamp on the wall and candles nearby, depending on the mood. I made serious research in tracking down one of those wondrous Japanese heated toilet seats. (A serious boost to civilization in my opinion.) I had a rotating system of snooty magazines, classic literature, edgy graphic novels, History, and of course the daily mail. There was a desk in the next room, but it was mostly just storage. The actual work was done in the porcelain cubicle.

Also, eating bad means you have less energy (or at least, more of it is directed internally) and so I was never bored by my part-time job of dredging the alimentary canal. Kitchen-Couch-Potty: the Bermuda Triangle of the American diet. What disappears is your waist. I hadn't had one in 25 years.

I don't miss lugging around the spare tire, but I miss reading. See, part of losing weight is you gain back that internal energy. Your body just wants to move more, partially because it’s easier to move without a 4ft. wide butt dragging you down. But excess energy is not easily burned off with a copy of Dostoevsky, or Herman Melville. Toss me Tolstoy or Dickens now and I am much more inclined to do 3 sets of 15 reps with it than actually open it.

Nowadays books move too slow for me. Reading anything longer than a CD booklet makes me feel like I'm wasting time. And that’s wrong: books were - are - a deeply satisfying, educational, entertaining and enlightening pastime. And for me there was nothing more fun than eating five dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts and eventually heading off to the bathroom to spend some quality time with the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - the eight volume edition.

I can recall an entire summer of partially thawed frozen cheesecakes and the works of James Michener. My toilet seat had more creaks and groans than a basement door in a horror movie. My thighs had permanent red divots from where my elbows would rest.

Perhaps I'm confusing literature and junk food. Maybe the pleasure of the formers intake is getting mixed up with the sublime satisfaction of the latters egress.

A 1999 study published in the Dental Register (1,100 pages, 225,000 words) revealed that the very worst food in the world is a Hostess Sno-Ball. The study declared the humble sugar tribble to be nothing less than "a complete waste of digestive juices".

But after eating a dozen or so packages of these (in assorted colors) I had the time, and the inclination to actually read something like the Dental Register.

So there ya go: Sugar or smarts. Pick one.

Angus McMahan

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