Beware of sinister plots that involve good food

January 17, 1994|By MIKE ROYKO

Mike Royko is on vacation. In his absence, we are reprinting some of his favorite columns. This column was originally published on May 16, 1978.

I recently wrote about a young man who was considering remarriage and gave him advice on how he could be sure his female friend was the right person for him. I called it the "click test."

Since then, a large number of other young men, married and single, have responded to my offer to provide mature and worldly counseling in matters of the heart.

At the same time, many female persons have written that my "click test" was unfair to them and have demanded that I refrain from giving further advice.

I will deal with the female persons in a later column. Hopefully, I will make them realize that they are being silly ninnies.

At present, I will take up the problem of another young man, who has been married about five years.

His problem is that he has been steadily gaining weight during the last three years of his marriage.

"When I first married, I was on the lean and athletic side. But about three years ago, my wife quit working and took a course in gourmet cooking. Now I'm not lean anymore. I have gained about pounds and I almost waddle when I walk.

"She is a terrific cook and is always making some elaborate Italian or French dish for dinner. And when I get up in the morning, she has a farmer's breakfast on the table. She makes pastries and keeps them around the kitchen, where I can't help finding them and giving in to my weakness for sweets.

"If I would eat normal portions, I would not have this problem. But I am weak and eat too much because it is so good.

"To make matters worse, she makes teasing remarks about my weight. She calls me her Abominable Snowman, or Big Foot.

"How can I convince her, without hurting her feelings, that all that rich food isn't good for me?"

The problem here seems quite clear: Your wife is trying to murder you.

I don't know what her motive is since I do not have sufficient information. It might be your insurance or another man or that she wants to be free to develop her own personality.

But there can be little doubt that she is out to get you and is doing a clever job of it.

It's the old calories-cholesterol-criticism trick. Thousands of guileless men are done in this way each year by clever women who escape unsuspected.

Playing on your weakness for good food, she first stokes you with calories and cholesterol. This shoots up your blood pressure and makes your heart overwork.

Then, as you become fatter, she makes sly remarks about your girth, which causes you stress. Your temples pound and you find yourself short of breath. So you worry, which makes it even worse.

Unless something is done, one of these days you are going to be sitting there eating a third souffle and your eyes will roll up into your head and that will be the end. She will cash in your insurance policy, take dancing lessons, and go off on a world cruise.

So what can you do to defend yourself?

There is no point in going to the police. Under our laws, you cannot bring criminal charges against her for over-feeding you.

And don't accuse her outright. She'll just have you committed, which will accomplish her ends.

But don't be alarmed. There are ways you can save yourself, if you act quickly.

You could just pack up and leave, of course. But that would ruin your marriage. I assume you don't want to do that, since she sounds like a good wife in most other respects.

Nor do you want her to know that you know. This could provoke her into taking drastic measures, and there is no way you can protect yourself in your sleep.

So you must appear to be going on as usual, docilely eating those murderous meals, stuffing yourself into an early grave. But in reality, you must begin doing just the opposite.

The first thing you must do is begin eating large quantities of yogurt to dull your appetite before returning home each evening.

Then get yourself a dog. Not any dog, but a breed called the Gluttony Terrier. It is a tiny thing, not much bigger than a squirrel. But it has an astonishing appetite and a metabolism that permits it to eat 20 times its weight each day without gaining an ounce.

When you sit down to eat dinner, have the dog concealed on your lap. Then, instead of spooning the food into your mouth, let it fall. The terrier will snap every morsel out of the air. Don't worry about being tempted to eat the food yourself. When feeding, Gluttony Terriers are vicious, and if he sees you eating, he'll nip you fiercely on the belly and you'll soon learn to resist temptation.

Repeat the procedure at breakfast.

Soon you will begin losing weight while appearing to be eating the same huge meals.

As the pounds fall away, your treacherous wife will grow nervous and cook even richer foods in greater amounts. Since she eats her own cooking, it is inevitable that she will begin gaining weight.

Eventually, you will be lean again. But one day it will be her eyes that roll into her head as she collapses into her own souffle, the victim of her own plot. Justice will have been served.

Then you can cash everything in and take the world cruise.

Or you might meet another woman who strikes your fancy. If so, write me again and I'll give you further advice.

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