Gurney's Inn
November 28, 2007


I wrote this column a few years ago. Please note my snazzy prediction about Rudy who wasn't even being considered a candidate for President at the time.

I'm reprinting it because I'm back on a diet and feeling too mean to write anything that isn't libelous.

The three way view mirror is the tool of the devil.

It is the reason I'm on a self imposed diet: no alcohol, no salt, no bread, no nothing.

I don't know what I miss more, the booze or the salt. I guess it's the boozebecause I hate this creepy feeling of being alert and clear headed all the time. If God had wanted me to be alert and perky he would have made me into Katie Couric.

On the other hand, I crave salt all the time. The first thing people tell you when they hear you're on a salt free diet is that they never touch salt.

It turns out I'm one of the last people on earth still salting his food. I come from a family of oversalters. My dad, age 92, pours a ton of salt on everything from proscuitto to anchovies. I would get his doctor to tell him

how bad salt is for him but unfortunately his doctor died of hypertension 30 years ago at the age of 62.

My friends have tried to help by telling me all the things I can use to substitute for salt. "Try fresh pepper," someone told me. "Try sprinkling lemon," said another.

It doesn't matter. Pepper, lemon, fresh herbs do not taste like salt. They taste like pepper, lemon, and fresh herbs. Nothing tastes like salt but salt. I am amazed that this nation which can put a man on the moon and discover Viagra cannot produce a salt substitute that won't make you barf when you sprinkle it on your food.

This diet horror came to a head the other night when I attended an event at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. The event was wonderful. I was invited by Dr. Rock Positano, "Foot Doctor To The Stars." Dr. Rock is the sweetest, kindest man ever put on this earth and he was nice enough to ask me to sit on the dais where Rudolph Guiliani (who mark my words will follow George W

Bush into The White House) was to receive The Joe DiMaggio award from The Xavier School. So there I was on a dais with Henry Kissinger, basketball star, Chris Mullen, Brooklyn Dodger legend Ralph Branca, New York Daily News' great sports cartoonist Bill Gallo and many other notables. It was pretty heady stuff for me. I was honored but I was also starving. My seat on the dais was between two empty seats. On my left was an empty chair whereRudy was going to sit and on my right was an empty chair where the Mayor's

lady friend, (now his wife) Judith Nathan was to sit. Seated next to her seat was one of the top lawmen in the country, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

I was so hungry I was having trouble concentrating. Now you must know the food at the Sheraton Hotel truly sucks. If there is ever a Nuremberg Trial for serving inedible food, the Sheraton chefs are going to be hanged. The rule is eat the salad; there isn't much they can do to screw it up. Now I must admit the salad was pretty good with lettuce, two shrimp, and a little piece of cheese. I inhaled it and was still starving. Then I noticed the Mayor's lady friend's salad was just sitting there.

Both she and the Mayor hadn't arrived. Naturally I started to think how much I wanted her shrimp and cheese. Since I am your basic coward I didn't dare touch Rudy's plate.

How is she going to know there were shrimp and cheese in the salad, I rationalized? Of course I realized that I was sitting in a fishbowl on the dais. I mean you can't just reach over and take the shrimp.

I imagined the eyes of a thousand people in the audience saying, "Look at that pig he took those two shrimp and that piece of cheese from that dish."

I started talking to myself. "You're so hungry you might pass out. Isn't it better to take some food than pass out from hunger?" I decided to reach for the food. I had my fork in my hand ready to spear the shrimp and the cheese with one stroke when Robert Morgentheau reached over, fork in hand, and stole Judith Nathen's shrimp and cheese. In a flash he swallowed the evidence. I was incensed.

What kind of a country is this when a man who has sworn to uphold the law has stolen the Mayor's girlfriend's food? My first inclination was to stand up and shout, "Stop that man. He's stealing the Mayor's girlfriend's shrimp and cheese." But then I wondered if I was empowered to make a citizen's arrest. Morgentheau just sat there with a satisfied look on his face.

No wonder he's such a great District Attorney. He knows how to move fast and decisively. He was probably planning this caper from the moment they put the dish in front of that empty seat.

That night I had a weird dreams about food where at one point a gang of men were pelting me with salted pretzels. Their leader? My nemesis, Robert Morganthau.

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