I’ve lost my appetite. Lately, I’ve been going to the gym on my lunch break, and therefore spending my precious free time in the strangest way imaginable. If you traveled back in time and told my seven-year-old self that in twenty-one years I would be spending lunchtime (every kid’s favorite time of the day) running on a glorified hamster wheel and changing in a locker room full of naked men, I would punch you in the gut and run screaming into the nearest cave. But, alas, here I am: sweating bullets on the treadmill and trying to avoid eye contact with Super Hairy Guy while millions of lucky youngsters are washing down crust-less peanut butter and fluff sandwiches with a cold carton of Hood 2% in elementary school cafeterias around the world. By the way, kids, congrats on the recent legislature proclaiming pizza a vegetable. You little tykes must have some real weaselly lobbyists in your back pockets. Seriously, impressive work. Anyway, I guess that’s life. One minute you’re rubbing elbows with the other second graders over tater tots, the next you’re crammed between two burly behemoths wearing hand-towels around their waists and chortling about how “Dallas couldn’t cover the spread.” On the plus-side, I get to eat lunch at my desk. Yep, there’s nothing quite as thrilling as eating and working at the same time. Look out, world! We’ve got ourselves a real adrenaline junky over here! Don’t try to tame him! He’s pure rock and roll!
Pinch me. I’m having a nightmare and can’t wake up! Actually, this nightmare involves a lot of pinching, so forget the first thing I said. My nightmares tend to be quite textural. There’s a lot of scratching, and scraping, and chewing; none of that wimpy, I’m-being-chased-by-a-wolf-through-a-molasses-factory-and-I’m-wearing-high-heels stuff. That’s for little girls and over-worked molasses factory workers and diabetic wolves. No, I’m talking about the kind of nightmares in which you bite into a crispy french fry and discover it’s filled with hair, or your mouth fills up with popcorn kernels faster than you can spit them out. I guess the second one is my own fault, since I routinely shove as much popcorn into my mouth as humanly possible, and my subconscious is probably just trying to teach me a lesson about “having dignity.” But a french fry filled with hair? The horror! That’s way worse than dreaming you’re on top of the Space Needle and being robbed at Cars II DVD-point. And not only are textural nightmares horrifying and downright disgusting, but they are almost impossible to describe to another person, or group of people, without causing shame and embarrassment. “I had the scariest nightmare last night! I was eating marshmallows and all my teeth fell out!” [awkward silence, rest of football team stares at me in locker room] THEY MAKE YOU SOUND LIKE A FRUITCAKE, is what I’m trying to say. Therefore, I suffer in silence, and the world shall never know of the hair-filled french fries, the mushy popcorn kernels, and the bewitched marshmallows that relentlessly haunt my dreams. Or, wait: now it does. Nevermind.