Gurney's Inn
March 28, 2007

Low Tidings

Low Tidings

Death By Poison

At first, I was in denial.

No man wants to look into the mirror and admit the sad truth, that your loved one has turned on you. It wasn't until it was too late — as I writhed in agony — the sinister truth was revealed: Karen has been systematically poisoning me to death.

It's been happening slowly, I realize now. First, it was the fresh, unprocessed nuts and raw fruit. Then, the insidious fiber. Then the pills, ostensibly filled with fish oil but no doubt potassium cyanide.

I remember when we first met I was as healthy as I could be. Beer, cigarettes and red meat. That's all real men need, virile, well-endowed men like myself.

One day I opened the refrigerator and there was nothing to drink but organic fresh squeezed juices and bottled water. "Did God stop making beer?" I asked quizzically.

It wasn't long before she started on the meat. "God's creatures," she used to say, "slaughtered." I could never understand how vegetarians successfully use this rationale.

Consider corn. One day, they stand side-by-side in a gorgeous field, sun bathing.

"My stalk is bigger than yours," one says to the next.

"You call that an ear?" another will ask. "This is an ear!" it'll display proudly.

Listen carefully as corn is harvested sometime. I mean it — listen carefully, and you can hear the anguished wails as the ears are ripped from the stalk. "Help me," the voices whisper in the wind. "Help me." Next thing you know, they're stripped naked and dumped into a pot of boiling hot water. Is this not cruel?

Who among us can honestly say it doesn't hurt Mrs. Tomato when her neck is severed as some callous farmer rips her from the vine?

On the other hand, I've yet to hear a hamburger voice any displeasure whatsoever when placed on a hot grill. They just sit there, as if sunbathing. They like it.

The final straw came the other day: oatmeal. I dutifully took a container to work, heated it up, and ate it. It tasted bad, very bad. First of all, Karen slipped a banana in. Now I ask you, do I look like a chimpanzee? But there was something else that tasted even worse.

By lunch, I felt like I had swallowed cement. By dinner, I was doubled over in pain, drool leaking from the sides of my mealy mouth.

"You must have eaten something bad," Karen said innocently.

"What was in that . . . oo . . . oo . . . oatmeal?" I whispered, near death.

"Nothing, just a banana, wheat germ and some unprocessed bran."

My limp hands tried to reach for her neck but all the strength had been sapped from me. It was the culmination of Karen's decade long macabre plan to get rid of me: transform me from a virile meat eating, cursing, Nacho chomping, beer drinking macho man into a yogurt slurping, bran eating, quiche regurgitating, limp wrist sissy boy with fish oil breath.

Slowly, as my life passed before me, I saw all the things she lusted after: my baseball cards, my truck, the Pamela Anderson video, my Little League jock from the day I hit two triples against the dreaded Park Slope Gumbas (I had saved it au natural), the Jerry Garcia genuine used roach-holder I had paid a fortune for on eBay. Obviously, she had finally figured out once I was gone these things would belong to her.

"What else did you eat today?" she asked innocently.

Like she didn't know. Breakfast, for me nowadays, is Wasa crackers with raw almond paste and organic blueberry spread.

God, I remember the good old days, when breakfast was the most important meal of the day, when Yodels and Pop-Tarts and Twinkies and soda made for a healthy heart and a hungry mind.

Nowadays I walk into work and as my co-workers chow down on bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches I have my Wasa.

"This isn't a cracker!" I fume. Crackers are Saltines and Ritz and Graham. "This is cardboard!"

The almond paste is like chalk. Whatever happened to Skippy peanut butter? Now that's good eating, especially the e-coli flavored ones (Hmm, why does it only come in chunky?).

They say that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Well, I survived the bran and wheat germ poisoning, using an age-old anecdote known only to revered gods and mystics: cognac. You see, the cognac, when fully engaged, fights through the bran and the wheat germ and the freaking oatmeal and all those steamed vegetables and the Wasa and all that other crap, fighting its way down to the kidney and liver until both are cleansed like a new baby at a baptism.

By morning I was on my feet, unsteady but alive. I raced into my office. My baseball cards, the Pam Anderson stuff, the Jerry Garcia tribute display, were all still there.

"I'm alive!" I shouted.

Later, we went to Riverhead. This time, I was in charge of the menu: Burger King for breakfast, The Elbow Room for a nice steak special, Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner. I felt great!

Just in case, though, just to be absolutely certain that which would kill me had been exorcised from my body, I had a couple snifters of brandy before retiring for the evening.

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