I’m having one of those nights. You know the ones where you’re irrationally angry and you want to drive six hundred miles and beat somebody senseless with a shovel? One of those nights. It can’t be PMS, I just survived menopause. And it’s not my life because I’ve gotten a lot of good news this week. Like the letter from my mortgage company saying they were raising my monthly payment by $400, except it turned out to be a mistake. That was good. And I got my first piece of prison fan mail, the last romance writer in my crowd to get some, but he sounds very nice except for the religious fervor, and he’d like to know more about my cats, which let’s face it, beats a lot of other stuff he could have wanted to know about me.
Overall, I’m up for the week.
Then there was the incurable disease I was diagnosed with last week. Sounds like a houseplant: ‘And over in the corner we have a lovely variegated polycythemia vera. Grows to a height of six inches, flowers in the spring.” But that was good news, too. It’s incurable but probably won’t kill me and the treatment is a snap. Actually, it’s an ancient snap: bleeding. My bone marrow’s making too many red blood cells, so to thin the herd, whenever the count goes too high, they take a pint. That’s it, that’s the whole treatment. My doc said I could learn to do it at home, and I’m visualizing myself leaning over the garbage disposal with a paring knife trying to figure out when I’m down a quart. Risk factors are strokes and heart attacks, but I’m 55 and overweight, so I was already in line for those anyway. As a friend of mine said, if I had to get an incurable disease, this is the one to get.
More than that, it’s an orphan disease, so I am very, very special. Depending on which website you frequent, it hits either one in one hundred thousand people or one in a million. Which means no telethon. Of course, that was in the cards when it turned out not to be fatal, although everybody who said that is going to look pretty dumb if I stroke out tomorrow. Which is a possibility because I just ate a pint of Caramel Pecan Perfection Ice Cream made by those pimps at Dove.
Here’s the thing about Dove ice cream: They cover it with ganache. The ice cream is great, but the ganache is truly sublime. The crack cocaine of frozen dairy. Twelve hundred calories per pint, six hundred and eighty of which are fat calories. This is not a dessert for a woman who has polycythemia vera. Now I not only have blood that’s too thick, my arteries just got narrower because they’re lined with ganache. And you know, it didn’t really help. Well, there was the sugar rush while I was standing at the sink shoving it in my face, but then it was over and I felt . . . used. Like a cheap pick-up the Dove people seduced and abandoned in the kitchen, leaving me with sticky hands and an empty cup, still wanting to drive six hundred miles and beat somebody senseless with a shovel.
Which brings me to my final question: Why in God’s name do we turn to sugar and fat when what we really want to do is unleash rage and mayhem? What primal instinct buried deep in our DNA says, “Don’t express your anger, eat something that will kill you”? I know carbs are supposed to sedate you—and if that’s true, why didn’t the crime rate soar during that Atkins fad?—but I’m full of fat calories and I’m still searching through my garden tools.
So I have decided, in the clear light of hindsight, not to do that any more. I will not dull my anger with criminal food.
I will find my car keys, drive the six hundred miles, and solve the problem the old fashioned way: With my bare and sticky hands.