As I watched her pour a packet of Splenda into her coffee, I practically had a conniption. “What are you doing?” I said. “That stuff is poison! I read that it actually makes you gain weight by screwing with your metabolism and ruining your body’s ability to count calories. Why do you use that s**t when you know it causes cancer?”
My friend gave me a cockeyed look and said, “I don’t live in your world.” As her words hung in the unsweetened air, I said, “Look, it’s no picnic for me either. You think I like being mayor of Doomville?”
She was afraid she had offended me, but she had fueled an epiphany. Was it possible for me to not live in my world too? Could I leave Doomville and move to Mayberry? Could I bust out of these cerebral walls and live a carefree, oblivious existence, devoid of all common sense, empirical evidence, scientific data and the ability to recognize advertising hype?
“My grandmother lived to be 97,” Ms. Splenda said, all cocky. “She ate bad stuff and never exercised. It’s all about the genes.” Ah, the genes. That’s where it went so wrong. Mine were high-strung and skin-tight on both sides. If only I could get new ones. Stonewashed, relaxed-fit genes that wouldn’t fall apart or fray when rubbed the wrong way. They’re making new scientific discoveries every day. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
And to think that if Ms. Splenda had put evaporated cane juice, honey, stevia or refined sugar into her beverage, I wouldn’t be sitting here planning my getaway. But now I want out.