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Lemon Detox for a Bitter Psyche

I take a lot of vitamins – Omega-3, B-12, Zinc, you name it – and I can be found at the gym most mornings before 7am, lifting pieces of iron and covering vast distances on a bicycle that goes nowhere. I drink a lot of expensive imported mineral water, stay away from alcohol, eat at the same five restaurants where they don’t use additives, retire early, rise at dawn, meditate, read old books and smoke two packs of Marlboros every day.

I’m about to turn 49, which is 50 in Chinese years. I should be dead. That would anger my boss, because then I wouldn’t be able to work. Suicide is illegal not because it is immoral or criminal or wrong but because it deprives the boss of a worker. I don’t smoke while I exercise but sometimes I take a cigarette into the shower with me (until it gets too soggy to smoke, despite my raised arm), and I also puff away in bed, in hotel rooms, on non-smoking floors, where you have to use a drinking glass as an ashtray. There is a smoking room at my office, one of the only reasons I stay at my job. Did Nelson Mandela and Dr Martin Luther King Jr smoke while they were in jail? Did they smoke at all? Were they criminals?

I am the healthiest unhealthy person I know. Or, more accurately, I am the most unhealthy healthy person I’ve come across. There might be less healthy healthy people out there, but I haven’t met them. If I get a cut or a bruise it disappears in a day or two. I rarely catch colds, sometimes they catch me, but not for long, thanks to the combination of vitamins, excessive hand washing and obstinacy. I have a few packs of nicotine gum on top of my bureau that I stare at and rearrange from time to time. I like taking all sorts of medications, but I am quite sure they don't enjoy being taken by me. They would prefer to be taken by someone who really needs them and takes them as prescribed. I’m Jewish but I eat pork and lack any business acumen whatsoever. I go on internet porn jags but then I get bored and become as chaste as a nun for months on end, until I see something provocative, like a lace curtain or a Guess jeans ad, then I’m back to square one.

So I decide I need to detox, to purify my body – that jumble of guts and pumps and filters that keeps me from nonexistence. I opt for a lemon-honey-cayenne pepper concoction recommended by an associate. I couldn’t find cayenne pepper so I decide to substitute it with rare earths. Little did I know that rare earths are even harder to come by than cayenne pepper these days. I don’t follow directions well, so when I couldn’t find cayenne pepper at the expensive Japanese market, I got a chocolate wafer treat instead. Then I got serious. Serious in the way that only obsessive compulsive people get serious. Which is very serious. Deathly serious.


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