Friday, August 28, 2009

New Orleans Dieting

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
The Behinder I Get
Grease Is The Word
Okay, here I am off and running to and fro, hither and yon, plum and nelly (plum outa time and nelly outa breath) and I’m multi-tasking like a headless mo-fo chicken, like a witch out of work, like my pants are on fire and my ass is catchin’ ; I’ve got my life racing with the pedal to the metal and if I don’t eat soon I’m gonna faint pretty quick… I’m gonna faint pretty quick… I’m gonna faint pretty quick. I spot a Munchy-Lunchy-boxey -thingy at the store and for me it’s a hit and run situation... grab and go… git and split. I’m a twin pipe Papa and a bad go-getter and I stop long enough to peruse the contents before woofing it down on my way to passing Go…
…and I consume (in record time)…:
1 slice each Ham and processed (yeller) cheese on white bread with mayonnaise, a 12 oz cola, a 1 1/2 oz box of raisons, a brownie the size of a shoe sole and 4 oz of chocolate pudding. There is no nutritional information on the package. What the hell, if it’s good enough for kids to eat…
Can you imagine tooling down the road at ninety miles an hour and slamming your car into reverse? Can an injection of that much sugar and processed food send you into a physical tailspin? Can you really gain and lose five pounds in a half an hour while getting night sweats in the daytime plus dry mouth, blurred vision, a headache in your left eye and enough gas to power an eighteen wheeler cross country? You betcha.
I know that you’re thinking that a delicate flower such as I should not attempt to consume a meal that should come with warnings about the side effects and to leave such meals to those accustomed to such fare; namely, the spawn of Satan. The question arises, what are we feeding ourselves? What are we feeding our children? What are we feeding the spawn of Satan?
“My foot’s on the throttle and it’s made of lead,
I’m a fast ridin’ daddy with a real cool head’.
Buddy Holly’s on the box singin’ Peggy Sue,
My foot’s on the floor and it’s made of glue.
I swing a huey at sixty for the Waffle House I just passed,
my ride’s low and fast and it’s fully gassed.
There’s smoke from the brakes as I slam into the lot,
I want eggs over greasy and some java that’s hot.
I call to Steve the waiter “hey, gimme the works;
eatin’ like a bird is for sissies and jerks!”
… and he brings me (and I consume)…
The breakfast special: Waffle, eggs, hash browns, grits, toast and choice of meat, which I wash down with the ‘bottomless’ cup of coffee. Syrup and sugar, non-dairy creamer, Jams, jelly and whipped butter spread flying everywhere. Salt, pepper, ketchup and hot sauce for all my friends and a yard of paper napkins with the waitresses calling everyone ‘Honey’ or ‘Darlin’ and ‘did you want that pie ‘A La Mode’? What the hell, if it’s good enough for pot bellied truckers…
As you can guess, I rolled out of there like Humpy Dumpy and my speed limit was as diminished as my metabolism, my eyes were filled with that double vision and did I have sense enough not to stop for a giant malt at the soda fountain? No. Am I the spawn of Satan?
The diet gurus all tell us that a vegan diet with an eye toward nutrition is the way to a long and non-suffering life. Health officials tell us that 36% of American adults are considered obese and that the Mediterranean diet is the way to go for longevity free from diabetes, cancer and coronary artery disease. BUT, can you picture stopping off, starving, at a quick fix fast foodery for a “Hey Doris! Gimme some whole grains with veggies, legumes, extra virgin olive oil and goat cheese followed by some fresh fruit and yogurt; make it snappy because I gotta haul this here semi of sheetrock to Abilene!” Not in this lifetime.
What I definitely want is a juicy steak or burger or hot sausage sandwich. I want fried chicken. I want a baked potato with butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Everything that tastes good is bad for me. Mayonnaise, ranch dressing, butter and anything deep-fried…YUM!!! More cheese Mom!!!
I’d rather sit on a barstool, commiserating with my peers than exercise. Is that wrong? I want to stand on the corner at all hours of the night and eat Lucky Dogs. Tortilla chips with that melted cheese product and jalapenos. Chicken fried steak with biscuits and gravy. Big Muffalettas and fried oyster poor boys. Strawberry shortcake and a slab of that sweet potato pecan pie with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Would you say that I have an eating disorder?
I don’t. because if I gave in to my culinary fantasies, if I ask them to throw that roast beef and gravy poor boy into the deep fryer or if I let the words “Super Size” pass my lips I’d be rolling down the street saying “hey hey hey! “ like Fat Albert. I’m high enough on cholesterol and my blood doesn’t want the pressure of a stupid American diet of Fast food triple burgers and oil drum sized soft drinks, of candy bars and processed foods. But I love them.
And my body will not tolerate them anymore. For years, as a cook and a chef I would not have that stuff in my life or house and now I’ve reached the point where my guilty secret pleasures come back and bite me almost immediately. Instant junk food karma.
And like the fields of weed that I’ve smoked in the past; that stuff makes me slow and stupid. And at my age with all the stuff that I need to get done, I can no longer afford to be any more slow or stupid than I already am.
So to us that wear those extra pounds because of the weaknesses of our wills…I salute us. Yes. I know how hard it is to be strong in the face of a banana split. I’ve got your back. That’s me in the corner making S’mores.

Poor in New Orleans

Not sent Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Mean Green
That’s What I Want

I am blessed with having a really good life. However, there is one little detail that I would like to take care of… or, better yet… have taken care of for me; just a little something that would make this moon walk down life’s yellow brick road a bit more bearable. Make the view from my window a little rosier; allow the panorama from my porthole on the ship of my existence to open onto smoother sailing waters instead of, say, approaching ice floes.
What I’m missing is not the gut in my strut, the glide in my stride or the pep in my step. I do not have a hole in my soul or a crimp in my style and certainly, there’s no shame in my game.
I have the love of a good woman, the comfort of friends, the respectful distance of family and the welcome of several bartenders in local watering holes. I have no enemies not of my own making, a vehicle capable of seeing me through another evacuation and an adequate supply of toiletries including product for my hair. I am militant about having an inventory of toilet tissue, all my plumbing works and household chores are shared and completed in a timely and efficient manner. I drink spring water, eat mostly vegan foods, recycle my beer cans and the critters at home love and respect me; I have that. That’s not what’s missing.
I’m in good health and in reasonable control of my demons and body functions and I rarely embarrass people with my actions. Morality is not an issue and I practice kindness, consideration and forgiveness even though it weighs on my patience and nerves. That’s not what is missing from my life; like I said, I have a good life.
I’m educated, well read, artistically inclined and participate in my community to the point of working the voting polls while y’all slackers decide whether it’s convenient to cast ballot or go out for a cocktail. You might ask “what on earth more could you ask for?”
I’ll tell you: I want a bunch of money to spend! Cash, currency, funds, lucre, dough, capital, riches, wealth, I want it. I want more money than I know what to do with it, I want more than I can spend. I desire the root of all evil, that stuff that greases the wheels and cures all ills. Legal tender, coin, bucks, jing, dinero, moola. Gimme, gimme, gimme.
There are those that will tell you to “do what you love and the money will follow”. We know that that’s a load of crap. There are those that say that money will not buy happiness or love. You, above all people, know to park that one where the sun don’t shine. If money is such a bad thing, why aren’t rich people giving it away? Why do poor people want it? Why do I want it? I’ll tell you why.
Money is the great liberator, and like most of us I weary from just getting by, hanging in there and being saved by eleventh hour reprieves. If I can get beyond that ‘two steps forward--three steps back’ dance, why, that would be fine by me. Imagine not having to think about being able to pay a bill, make a payment or pay cash for something without breaking your bank and back. The way I see it, having gobs of money is a necessity and better for my mental health- I simply cannot afford to be broke any more and it’s making me crazy. As the old song goes “the best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and the bees… I need money… that’s what I want”.
Money is not inherently bad, after all, it makes the world go around (a mark, a yen, a buck or a pound) and the world is not a bad place except for the presence of people, but, that’s another tale for another time.
People with money are welcome anywhere, at least until their insipid, name dropping, arrogant, snooty, condescending and uppity personalities make you want to take them outside and fuck them up. I promise that I will exhibit none of those traits; all I want to do is give money away as fast as I can and have more coming in as fast as I do because with money you can do good things. Lots of good things and I promise that you will never know that I am a gazillionaire, you’ll just find that your tab is settled, that expense that was hanging over your head is gone and that silly item that you put on your wish list was just delivered to your door. In short, your check will be in the mail, for true.
Money talks, hell, money sings! And I love that song. I want my hills to be alive with the sound. I want it to fly through the air with the greatest of ease. I want it to rain dead Presidents; I want hay to be made when the sun shines.
Don’t you think that we all deserve more money? Of course you do! Well, it’s got to start somewhere and having worked for money for longer than I care to think about and having absolutely nothing to show for it, well, I propose that I be the first one of us to become filthy stinking rich! And when I find out how to do that, why of course I will let the secret out and soon we’ll all be rolling in dough and want for nothing!
No more picking up extra shifts because our rent is due or borrowing from mom because the cat swallowed tinsel from the Christmas tree and the vet’s gotta operate. Or missing the Stones concert, Superbowl game, Oscar ceremonies or the running of the bulls because our money is funny and we’re as broke as a piecrust. Bfstplk on being poor!