My doctor sat me down the other day and told me that he had some good news and some bad news. "First of all," he said, "You're overweight, your cholesterol levels are ridiculously high, and you have to go on a strict diet."
So I asked him what the good news was. He told me he just won ten bucks on Lotto 649.
It wasn't big news to me that I was overweight. I mean, I've looked at those charts that show what you should weigh for your height. According to those charts, I'm nowhere near tall enough. With the weight I'm packing, I should stand seven foot three and be starting at centre for the Boston Celtics. So really, I don't have a weight problem so much as a height problem.
And actually, it's not the excess poundage that's the big problem here, according to my doctor. It's these little cholesterol thingies that come with the territory. The way he explained it - and it was kind of technical, so I'll paraphrase him a bit here - when you eat lots of junk, you end up with these cholesterols floating around in your bloodstream.
They're very social critters, these cholesterols. They travel around with nothing to do until a bunch of them wind up in the same place, bored silly. Just for fun, they all join together at once, drinking, partying, and having a good time at your expense. But the joke's on them, because this clogs up your arteries and BOOM you die of a heart attack.
Well, I don't want to die of a heart attack, thank you. Truth be told, I don't want to die of a lot of things, but of all the things I don't want to die of, a heart attack is right up there. And I might add, my wife is with me on this. So she's going to help me diet.
I think this is a remarkable thing for her to do because my wife is one of those people who will never, ever need to diet. We all know (and despise) her type - the type of person who can eat an entire large pizza with triple toppings and not gain a pound.
(Of course, she never does eat an entire pizza, while I have been known to polish off my pizza and half of hers. This, of course, might be a teensy factor in the overall equation. )
We sat down the other day and drew up some general guidelines. We had a copy of some diet books, and we concluded that I would be okay if followed some simple rules, such as spitting out anything that tastes like real food. If, on the other hand, I should come across cuisine with all the taste appeal of styrofoam, I'm encouraged to munch away to my heart's content.
Scottish food is not on my diet. So no more McBreakfasts, McLunches, or McSuppers. As a rule of thumb, if a food has its own nickname, you might as well just inject it straight into your heart and save everybody a lot of time and energy.
I can eat all the fish I want, which should be easy because I don't want any fish. But bacon and eggs? Forget it. Pizza? Verboten. Taco chips smothered in cheese? Hah! Instead, I get beet greens, liver, and Brussels sprouts. There will be so much iron in me, I'll set off metal detectors.
My doctor says it's something I need to do, so I guess I will. He says that if I lead a healthy life, I'll lead a longer life.
Maybe he's right. Or maybe it'll just seem longer.