I was once in a particularly campy version of “Anything Goes,” put on by a local community theatre group out in the boonies, where–I swear on my children’s heads–I had to drive past a field full of sheep to get to rehearsal. These sheep were part of a research program at the local university. As part of whatever experiment was being visited upon these poor animals, it was necessary to demarcate them in a way more readily visible than conventional ear tagging. And so, I didn’t just drive past any field of sheep on my way to rehearsal every night. I drove past a field full of pink and blue spray-painted sheep each night.
(The painted sheep are not at all germaine to the tale at hand. I’m just incapable of passing up an opportunity to share about them. Because, sheep! Spray painted! In a field! It’s better than cow tipping, because you don’t even have to DO anything for it to be funny!)
Anyway. “Anything Goes.” It’s a Cole Porter musical; it involves a lot of singing and tap-dancing and tangled love interests and minor intrigue. I don’t remember a whole lot about it other than that it was a very amateur production, I had to pretend I could tap dance, and that I played a character named Virtue and had exactly one line.
Even at my tender young age at the time (16 or so, I believe), I appreciated the irony of the main character and her groupies. Reno Sweeney is an evangelist turned nightclub entertainer and is flocked (constantly) by her “angels” Chastity, Charity, Purity, and Virtue. These gals have a deep love both for Jesus and showing some skin. Nothing could’ve amused me more than to take this role of good/bad girl with such a meaning-laden name and play up the ridiculousness of it.
You’d think that–seventeen years later and maybe even smarter–I would just KNOW BETTER than to try to seriously undertake anything with VIRTUE in the description. I mean… I’m a little old for tap dancing, now. Without a healthy dose of parody, virtue and I aren’t really on speaking terms.
Alas. I was hypnotized by the promise of pretty, pretty shoes and somehow found myself under an evil spell wherein I signed on for 20 Days of Virtue in a show of solidarity.
20 days of no refined sugar. 20 days of no simple carbohydrates. 20 days of despair.
No. No! 20 days of taking control of my diet and my health! 20 days of maybe breaking my addiction to sugar and not feeling so tired and crappy all the time. 20 days without a yeast infection, maybe (you’re welcome for sharing)! It’s a good thing. Really. I swear that’s what Joshilyn told me while she had me in a headlock and made me promise to participate.
Yesterday was easy. Well, pretty easy. Today was a different story entirely.
First, I was at work happily drinking my water and my coffee, and a coworker showed up with bagels from Panera. They were still warm; I could smell the cinnamon crunch ones in my office. I gritted my teeth and refilled my water and wrote a quick, friendly email to Joss. (“There are bagels and I am here at my desk crying. Hope you’re happy.”) She responded with some sage wisdom. (“Virtue’s reward is a smaller ass!”) and I clung to this comfort all morning as I drank liter after liter of water.
For lunch, a nice romaine chicken caesar salad, light on the dressing, no croutons or bread. Hey, this isn’t so bad! I can do this! No problems! Wait… is that… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
An employee birthday. Chocolate strawberry buttercream cake from the GOOD bakery. Jesus wept.
I retreated to my office and shed bitter tears of hunger and jealousy into my herbal tea, while gnawing on one of the legs of my desk. Another mail to Joshilyn. (“SO. NOT. FAIR.”) Again, she saw me through the challenge. (“SMALLER ASS. And someone will have a stinking birthday on day 21.”) I practiced deep, cleansing breaths inbetween running to the bathroom to pee out the twelve gallons of liquid I’d consumed and refilling my mug with tea and my bottle with water.
There is no way to adequately convey the trauma of a sugar-free afternoon. By way of illustration I will say only this: I got more done today than I have in weeks. I had to concentrate REALLY HARD to stop fantasizing about the peanut M&Ms calling me from the kitchen. DO YOU HEAR ME, JOSHILYN?? I was so unbalanced on this regimen, my productivity went way up. That’s just frightening.
After work, I ran some errands, then came home to fix myself some dinner before the kids came back from their dad’s house. Cottage cheese… fresh fruit (aaahhhhhhh sugar… but fructose, not refined sugar!)… and a hard-boiled egg. And! More water! Hooray! I feel great! Really, really great! And by “great” I of course mean “cranky and wanting chocolate!”
I joke. Actually, it’s not so bad. I was okay right up until Chickadee suggested that we start eating more ice cream, on account of recent events require that she go to a relatively soft diet. I, of course, lovingly replied that there will be no ice cream in this house for a month or so, and if she were to argue this point I would call the tooth fairy and suggest she skip our house from now on.
I feel healthier already! Oh… wait a sec. Hang on. Whoops! Sorry, I meant I feel more evil already. I always get those two confused. My bad.
Anyway, onward towards virtue! This is going to be really great. Really. Or I am going to drive to Joshilyn’s house and beat her with her pretty shoes. While eating chocolate. Oh dear. I might be crossing the line between fantasy and hallucination. Can you flood your brain with too much water? Wait, don’t answer yet! I have to go pee. And slit my wrists.