Monday, June 4, 2012
Rationing Oneself for good or ill
JAN BROGAN - A woman I play tennis with told a story last week that I can't get out of my head. She was never allergic to almonds or nuts of any kind. She ate almonds her entire life, and then one day, she ate something with almonds in it and she swelled up like a balloon. Every since, she can't even brush an almond to her lips or her lips get suddenly puffy and itchy. And now, she has to carry some sort of antidote in case she eats one by mistake because she could die. She went to the doctor and he explained it like this: With certain things it is like filling a cup. You eat almonds, you fill the cup. Then, one day, when it gets one almond over the cup; WHOOSH, you are allergic.
That made me think: A lot of things are like that, when you think about it. I love tennis. But now because of deterioration in my cervical spine, I have a limited amount of smacking-the-ball-as-hard-as-I-can left in me. I don't want back surgery so I've started to limit the amount of times I play tennis and who I am willing to play tennis against (men WHO HIT heavy TENNIS balls with a lot of spin are on my boycott list). I have self-rationed.
So how about the rest of you, are there things that you love - like almonds - that you love so much you'd be willing to ration yourself for the rest of your life? Any area of your life that makes you wary of overfilling your cup?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN : What? Can this be true? (Isn't there that Will Smith or (someone) movie, where he's told he can only say 1000 more words for the rest of his life? If he hits 1000, he'll die? I thought that was a kind of cool story idea...)
One almond over the cup and you are Allergic? No. NO. I cannot believe it. How many is too many? Anyone? Anyone? Does this make sense?
Okay, rant over. Janny, I know you were asking about something else entirely. Frankly, I feel as if I already do that, ration myself. But I eat almonds every day, you see, and now I'm starting to itch. No, really, I'm not kidding.
HALLIE EPHRON: So weird -- that is what happened to me with mussels. I ate them for years and then BLAM just a taste and I get violently ill. If it had happened with almonds I'd be bereft.
RHYS BOWEN: I already have a love/hate relationship with nuts. I love them but they don't love me back. So I've learned to chew a cashew very, very slowly, once in a while. Hank, I don't think I could ration myself to a certain number of words (but what a great story idea!) I'd probably die not shutting up. When I was a small child I was horribly allergic to berries. Two strawberries and I came out in giant blisters. Strangely enough I outgrew this.
I would have no problem with any kind of food or drink. I'm quite disciplined about what I eat--but only one episode of Downton Abbey a year? Only half an hour of As Time Goes By? Or worse still--only ten minutes of reading a day or my eyesight might go? Those would be super hard for me.
JAN: Rhys, I hadn't thought of Downton Abbey, but that's what PBS seems to be doing to us, rationing us on our favorite program. Come to think of it, I have DVD copies of both the old Pride and Prejudice and the Keira Knightly one and ration myself to once a year. I'm afraid I'll get bored (maybe because I already know every line by heart) and one day, I won't get the same thrill out of watching them.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: And of course my first thought was....hmmmm,.... she's gonna save herself a lot of money in injectable filler treatments in the years to come if all she has to do is rub a nut on her lips and they swell up like Angelina Jolie's. But I guess I digress.
The hard part for me here is the defnition of "fill my cup." Or we talking death or other unpleasant experiences? I always feel that I have to ration myself when it comes to cheese - and peanut butter. my husband has taken to hiding the cheese (who moved my cheese?) because I don't know when to stop. Same thing for peanut butter. Oddly enough if the package is sealed or the jar unopened I don't mind. But once it's out there, I will eat it until it's all gone. Unfortunately when it's over I have the same thin lips.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm not allergic to anything, thank goodness, and tend to be moderate about foods that I do like. But oh, I would hate to have to give up tea, or cheese, or eggs, or lemons--I am addicted to lemons. And olive oil. The list goes on, but none of these are things I'd sit down and eat pounds of.
I think Rhys has it. The worst thing to have to ration would be reading. I do, in a sense, because I almost never read fiction during the day, or I'd get even less work done than I do now. But if I could only read five or ten minutes a day? Or only read a certain number of words? Yikes. Lots to be thankful for, right?
LUCY BURDETTE: Ro, you gave me the best laugh for the day! For me it's cheese too, and milk. I'm one of the few weirdos who drinks milk with dinner and always with cookies or cake. My father was deathly allergic to peanuts and eggs that weren't hard-boiled. We were all well-trained to put the jelly on a sandwich first and then the peanut butter, so the jelly would never accidentally become contaminated. But I digress too:). I'd hate to have to go gluten-free. I adore bread and cake and biscuits and pizza...but reading would be worse. We went shopping for my mother-in-law who can't read normal print very well (and hasn't totally mastered her ipad.) The large print book department is really quite appallingly thin....
Oh wait, wait, I forgot one more...if I became allergic to pets, it would be a true tragedy!
JAN: So come on, we all self-ration in one way or another. To keep your cup from running-eth over, what kind of discipline do you impose on yourself? And in what areas?
And don't forget to come back tomorrow when social media expert and my new guru Glenn Miller (not the big band leader) gives us the best advice ever on how to ration our social media energy.