I had lunch with a so-called friend the other day who was more excited than I had ever seen him because he has discovered the perfect diet. He doesn't eat.
Let me embellish that by saying he almost doesn't eat because he will take a little soup if there is nothing in it, which is to say no meats of any kind and certainly no vegetables, not even a snippet of broccoli nor a strand of carrot. Only broth.
"The fat will just melt away," he said proudly.
"You will just melt away," I said skeptically. "Man does not live by soup alone."
Call him Justin. He will not allow use of his real name because he plans on copywriting the diet and doesn't want anyone to beat him to it.
"You are going to copyright not eating?"
"As soon as I come up with a snappy name for it. Any ideas?"
"How about 'Suicide With Soup'?"
"No," he said, "that won't do."
"I was kidding," I said. "How about just 'Death?'or ' The Death Diet?'"
"That won't do it either. It has to sound like fun."
"There is no fun in starving to death."
Justin already has a corpse-like quality about him. He is tall, toothpick skinny and as pale as talcum. One can easily imagine him on a slab or in an open coffin, looking all nice and powdered with rouge-rosy cheeks and a thin layer of lipstick. Farewell, Justin. May God take your peculiar soul, Justin. Flowers and memorial cans of broth would surround his coffin. Some attendees would snicker, but none would cry.
Justin, however, may be on the right track, ridding our diets of, well, food. We are already in quest of eliminating salt, sugar, meat, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, cholesterol, lactose, dyes, drugs, sprays, flavor and scents from what we eat. So doing, we are creating a new race of humans that will consist only of tall, pale, skinny people with small mouths.
There will be no reason for food critics or chefs in the thin new world, no smacking of one's lips in appreciation of a new sauce and, in fact, no new sauces. Only soup.
"We would drink more water," Justin proclaimed. "Water is good for us."
"But gluck isn't," I said, "and our water is becoming increasingly contaminated. Gluck flows from the faucets of America. The tang of water is the taste of Standard Oil."
Justin finished his broth and left. I haven't heard anything more about his diet. Not a word in Facebook where he intended to introduce it. Not even a teaser on Twitter. I hope he abandons the absurd idea and fasts for global peace instead. I would rather see a world without war than without salt, but that just isn't included in an ultimate diet. Looks, I guess, are everything, but not for me. Pass the butter, please. Lots of it.