Fat is the new thin

whaleben2

 

My mother always emphasised the importance of developing the mind. “Be careful what you put in it,” she would say. From a young age, it was my second favourite organ – of course I was going to look after it.

Then the internet was invented and, over a relatively short period of time, my fit, healthy mind degenerated into little more than a grey lump of meat fly-blown with feckless trivia and irrelevant inanities. I try to read as much as I can but the rot is irreversible and contamination continues apace.

I am, therefore, giving up on the mind. Hopefully, this will be a temporary state of affairs. Once you leave the mind to its own devices, it can either lose itself or take you to places you do not wish to be. Right now, it’s just not doing enough to earn its keep. Where are the brilliant get-rich-quick ideas? Stupid, lazy mind.

My attention will forthwith be focused on the body.

Wherever I go, people are talking about Tim Noakes and the Banting diet. Noakes is either Caligula’s cousin or the next Jesus. It all depends who you speak to. One thing’s for sure, though. If the sheep and the cows and the pigs ever get together, Noakes had better double lock his doors.

I’m a firm believer in high fat food. I’m also a firm believer in food high in carbohydrates. The trick is to buy plates big enough to accommodate enormous portions of fat as well as carbs. It’s a balancing act. Carbs on one side, protein on the other and a wodge of pudding in the middle. Maybe, on a side plate, a loofah for fibre.

Noakes says it’s fine if you eat an elephant for lunch. The mistake big-boned people like Khulubuse Zuma make is that they have a slice of toast with their elephant.

Acknowledging that it would take more than a high-fat, high-carb diet to get my body back to the chunk of chiseled marble it once was, I went out and bought a copy of Men’s Health magazine. I struggled to get it out of the plastic wrapping but, after a little lie-down, I felt strong enough to start turning the pages.

Cristiano Ronaldo is on the cover. Shirtless, naturally. The photo made me wonder what it would feel like to rub baby oil on his hairless chest. Nice one, mind. I leave you alone for a minute and this is what you come up with?

Ronaldo was surrounded by shouty pledges of bigger muscles, better braais and hotter women. “Are you the next MH cover guy?” Sure. Why the hell not? I’m taller than Ronaldo. And I beat him on the scales, too. By a good 20kgs. Also, I have blue eyes and speak proper English. Squeeze me into a pair of tight denims, varnish my hair and spraypaint my teeth and I reckon I’m in with a fighting chance.

The magazine gets down to it quickly. Right off the bat, there’s a competition. You can win a smartphone, a watch, a fragrance or a black man in a checked shirt and skinny jeans. A fragrance? Don’t men wear deodorant or, at a push, aftershave? Apparently not.

“With notes of lime, green leaves and dark liquorice, this is the perfect fragrance for the guy who feels like making a statement.”

I still remember the days when men who felt like making statement would strap explosives (with notes of nitroglycerine) to their bodies. Quite frankly, I don’t know what’s worse. The day that suicide bombers start wearing a fragrance is the day I check out of here.

The smartphone has “a floating arc design that makes sure it rests comfortably in one hand”. Unlike other phones, which often take two hands and the help of a bystander to hold comfortably. I think the “floating arc” reference might be a subliminal message to the people in Cape Town who are starting to believe that the rain will never stop and someone will build a boat and they will only be able to get on it if they have the right kind of phone.

Over the page, the magazine gives voice to a question that crosses my mind every morning. “How can I give my cereal a nutritional boost?” Noakes might suggest you mix a packet of bacon into it and put it through a sieve. Then give the cereal to the dog, wrap the bacon around a block of cheese and eat it between two slices of steak. Have a sack of offal for dessert. You’ll lose weight in no time at all.

Someone called Jamie Chung says, “There’s nothing worse than a cute guy with really bad breath.” I may be wrong, but I think if you’re a cute guy with really bad breath and you’re about to behead someone because he’s not altogether sold on the Islamic State, then I think it’s probably worse.

A section called “guy food” tells me how I can punch up my brunch. No mention of magic mushrooms or hash browns made from real hashish. To their credit, they do provide instructions on how to make a proper Bloody Mary, which is nothing like the half a glass of tequila topped up with warm tomato juice I’ve been drinking all these years.

There’s a page on gardening. If you have a snail and slug problem, you’re advised to open a few cans of beer and sink them into the garden. Gastropods apparently love beer. “And when they go for a sip, they’ll slip in and drown.” Yeah! We don’t need no beer, let the motherfuckers drown! Drown, motherfuckers, drown! What a waste of beer. Wouldn’t tiny landmines be a better idea?

There’s an advert for a pill that promises to protect my entire gastrointestinal tract. Against what? If it doesn’t protect me against bullets and knives, I’m not interested. Furthermore, I do not wish to be reminded that something as vulgar as a gastrointestinal tract lurks within my temple.

What the hell is this? The Guide to Denim 2014? Hello, denim? 1984 is on the line. It wants you back. Denim jeans are fine. You wear anything else made of denim and you deserve to be hauled before the World Court on crimes against humanity.

Right. I’ve reached page ninety-something and it’s turning serious. “Get shredded! Fast!” Growing up, when me and my buddies decided to get shredded, the day wouldn’t end with us joshing in the gym showers and flicking towels at one another’s bare bottoms. It would end in hospital. Or the police cells. Or face down between a pair of obliging thighs.

Now, if you want to get shredded, you apparently have to do deeply unnatural acts like the barbell squat, the bench press and the box jump. The “instructor” for this section is Leigh Halfpenny. A bit of a girl’s name, if you ask me. He plays rugby for a living. He’s not doing this because he thinks a hot bod will help him pick up chicks. He’s doing it because if he doesn’t have a tackle-smashing torso, he may well end up in a wheelchair because a Maori madman took a chunk out of his fourth vertebra.

Us normal blokes? We just want to be fit enough to have sex without risking cardiac arrest.

Terrible things can happen in gyms. Personal trainer Tara Gadre has her own horror story that she bravely shares.

“I was in my local gym on the weekend and a guy started chatting to me while I was on an incline leg press in the middle of a set!” I only hope security got there quickly and broke his arms before he could break Tara’s concentration.

There’s a whole page devoted to the sit-up. Inexplicably, they make no mention of alcohol. Many men will recognise the words, “Why don’t you sit up?” and “Just try to sit up” and “If you don’t sit up, I’m leaving you here.”

And a picture of a grinning muscle man selling an “efficient amino acid delivery system”. I will probably go to my grave never knowing what an amino acid is or does. Don’t get me wrong. Me and acid, we go back. But I’d rather not end up in a bar next to Rictus Ronnie with him talking amino and me talking lysergic.

As I neared the end of the magazine, a headline barked, “Who’s making you fat?” I didn’t even have to read the article. There are only two possibilities. It’s either the woman who cooks for us every night or it’s the slack-jawed mouth breather at King Pie.

Personally, I think it’s the ANC. The EFF will keep eating carbs until Jacob Zuma pays back the money. The longer he prevaricates, the fatter Julius Malema will become. And one day, when the NPA once again lets our leader off the hook, Juju will walk into parliament, ram a muffin into his mouth, give a muffled cry and explode. Even the backbenchers will be picking bits of red onesie out of their hair for weeks after.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a bream …

I find it best not to move around too much in winter. Body heat and energy need to be conserved at all costs. Expeditions from my desk to the kitchen are fraught with danger. There’s a reason you don’t poke a bear with a stick while he’s hibernating and tell him to get off his hairy arse and find some food for the family.

That’s why I have had a bar fridge installed under my desk. I went foraging earlier in the week and my little metal friend is now stuffed to the gills with beer, cheese and chunks of boiled pig. According to Tim Noakes, this is all I need to live a long and healthy life. I even have a slab of duck fat that I rub on my face to keep the warmth in and the diabetes out. It’s a trick I picked up watching a video of Lewis Pugh swimming to the North Pole.

I also have an ichthyoallyeinotoxic fish that I take out and lick now and again to offset the carbs in the beer. Another beneficial side effect is that it makes me hallucinate. I’m surprised Noakes hasn’t mentioned this in his Banting diet. It’s a species of bream called sarpa salpa, although in KwaZulu-Natal he prefers to be called Karanteen. Down the south coast, where the holidaymakers hang out, he goes by the more informal name ‘Strepie’. However, he can’t speak Afrikaans so don’t waste your time trying to strike up a conversation. Club him, cook him and eat him. Enjoy the trip.

On my desk is a computer, a printer and a fax machine in case someone from the 1980s needs to send me a document. I have an array of remote controls within easy reach. One for the hi-fi, two for the TV and three to alert the armed response company that I am being attacked by a swarm of flying wombats. I have since cut back on the bream.

When I pause between sentences – because every good writer takes a break between sentences – I flick between CNN, Sky, BBC World, eNCA, al-Jazeera and Russian Television. I know everything that happens anywhere, sometimes before it even happens. And when I pause between words, I flick between Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes I pause between letters and check my email.

If I were a child, I would have grown-ups fighting among themselves to get Ritalin down my throat. If I could tear myself away from my computer and the television, I would go to a doctor and get my own Ritalin. No, I wouldn’t. I would never make it. I’d log on to Twitter while I was driving and plough into someone’s house. Into their lounge. Where the TV would be on. The paramedics would find me bleeding and tweeting and when they tried to strap me to the stretcher I would resist and scream, “Fuck off! The Israelis are bombing kids on the beach! Leave me! Save the Palestinians!”

There is too much information coming in and not enough going out. Something’s got to give. But it’s not just information. Facebook, a bottomless reservoir of inconsequential froth and mawkish inanity, is heroin for the easily distracted. Like the collapse of a star – and I don’t mean Lindsay Lohan – it creates a gravitational force that sucks you in. And the deeper you go, the stupider you get. It won’t ever spit you out. You have to climb out by yourself, minus several IQ points, clinging to the ephemeral tendrils of … aww, cute! A Husky wearing sunglasses! What was I saying? Oh, yes. The effort it takes to drag oneself from the suck-hole of Facebook is often … Oh, no! Kirstin has lost her iPhone! It’s midnight and Vuyo can’t sleep! A miniature horse! John is going to Mauritius! A talking cat! Ravi just had an ice cream! Ooh, a test to see what kind of dog I am!