Fat & Drunk
A friend, whose height has nothing to do with his weight – and not in an anorexic way – and who loved Marlboro’s would diffuse the tension when visiting a new doctor for the first time by looking the physician in the eye and immediately asserting, with conviction:
“I’m fat, and I smoke.
As a BMI challenged person who does not smoke, I find the realities of overeating and occasionally having a drink, or 3, an intriguing conundrum. I do not drink to get drunk or eat to get fat. Fat and drunk are the undesirable collateral consequences of very pleasurable experiences. However, inevitably, I get affected by alcohol and eat too much.
A reader responded to something I wrote that asserted that no one I knew smoked dope because they liked the taste. The reader’s response was that he/she loved the taste: then proceeded to say that she/he didn’t smoke it: just ate and vaped it: After receiving this negative declaration I resisted declaring “I rest my case”
I love great food, but I can also mindlessly eat junk to self medicate via the full-bellied reptile brain glow of surfeiting. But I never drink to feel altered, but occasionally do. The acts of eating and drinking are fundamentally blissful, but not when the pleasure center of my brain turns off the Type A Control Center. Like the rats that starved to death when offered cocaine or food (and chose the coke), the feelgood of food and drink has dangerous potentialities.
When I eat 47 Triscuits watching “Chopped” – not only is the irony obvious, the laziness, boredom and lack of self-love are mirrored in the tighter clothing. When an exquisite combination of flavors happens to contain ethanol and I have too much, too quickly my brain becomes a mini-Black Hole: bending light, sound and my tongue into contortions of embarrassment.
But it is clear that the danger inherent in eating/imbibing can channel my inner Al Haig: “I am in control here” was just as valid for him in his powerless state after Reagan was shot, as it is when the third drink appears or I have dessert. The danger of overdoing it is part of the act of focusing so lovingly upon those flavor bombs.
The best alcoholic experience I have ever had was after a long hot summer day. I was early for a meeting of friends at my beloved Temple of Ethanol, 116 Crown in New Haven. Sitting alone at the bar, silently, without query, a Manhattan was slid over to me. That one sip allowed every muscle in my near 60 year old bag of flesh to relax: my blood alcohol level probably went up .000001%, but I was deeply loved in that taste.
Would that deep delight be there if 68 more sips would render me a slobbering jackass? (Versus my 24/7 state of sober jackassery). Would the ecstatic ingestion of the 6 course dessert dinner at Field House Farm I had 2 weeks ago be less ecstatic if the contents had no calories? Does risk focus attention?: duh.
Why would anyone, ever, ride a motorcycle if the attendant risk was not thrilling? Do the risks of gluttony and getting drunk resulting in obesity and killing or embarrassing yourself (and others) make eating and drinking at a potentially gross level more thrilling?
Humans tend to wreck beauty (think black velvet art) and Bacon-Flavored Lays potato chips and Bud Lite are heinous corporate simulations of the beauties of food and booze intended to make more money via encouraging mass-consumption at a seductive price point. The greater truth is the potentials for alcohol poisoning and gout derived from over-indulgence are greatly reduced when the delivery systems of alcohol and animal fats are a bit pricey, as are 6 dessert dinners and drinks at 116 Crown and for this, I am both grateful and sad.