All Aboard The Sugar Train; Or, Huh. I Never Knew I Had So Much In Common With Lamar Odom
It’s not like I set out to subsist on bite-sized Snickers bars.
A few years ago, I reached a turning-point in my consumption of refined sugar and refined sugar products: there were tiny mylar wrappers all over the floor of my car, they were littering the back of the pantry, and overflowing from my wastebasket. Most nights, I would wake up after midnight for the sole purpose of eating one or two bite-sized Snickers bars, and then I’d go back to sleep. Each morning, I would get up, brush my teeth, stuff a couple bite-sized Snickers bars in my mouth, and head to work. Sometimes I would stop at Starbucks on the way–but the caffeine was optional at the time, and the sugar was not.
Photo by fieelgh
The habit had started out innocently: a little too much bread here leads to a little too many sweets there. Then the sweets become specific: in the beginning of graduate school, I ate all plain M&Ms, or all red cinnamon bears; in the mid-nineties it was all Red Vines (these are like Twizzlers, but better, for those of you from east of the Rockies), once I even tried all Hershey’s Kisses, all Cadbury Fruit & Nut Bars–then there was the time I went to London and discovered Cadbury Crunchie, that crazy English chocolate bar with a honeycomb center. . .
You get the idea. By late 2004, I was basically only eating bite-sized Snickers bars, mixed in with the occasional order of pancakes on the weekend, and any cake that I might happen upon. As you might imagine, I had a pretty low energy level. Except for those times WHENIHADASUPERHIGHKINDAFREAKYHIGHENERGYLEVEL!AAAAH!! Inevitably, I would find myself crashing in the early afternoon, or wanting to go to sleep at like 8pm. And I kept telling Mr. Right-Click that I would cut down on the sugar, but it never really panned out.
Until the day that Mr. Right-Click came to pick me up after work and I was sucking on a Jolly Rancher. I guess after a few months of seeing me eat almost nothing other than sugar, he had just about had it. So he reached into my mouth and pulled out the Jolly Rancher and threw it out onto Wilshire Boulevard, where it was crushed to pieces like so much trash. The metaphorical HFCS gauntlet had been thrown down. And after that, I had to start detox. I weaned myself off sugar by eating a small amount of chocolate chips each day, slowly lowering the number until I was down to nothing. And after that, I felt a lot different.
I felt like warmed-over shit.
This lasted for a while. Then I got over it. And today, I still eat too much sugar, but I’ve never since repeated the horrors of the Snickers Wars of ’04, thankfully.
Last week Mr. Right-Click and I are watching this little web video on Lamar Odom. I would expect that most of you don’t know who Lamar Odom is. That’s OK. All you really need to know is he’s the 6th man on the Lakers, who should be an all-star but for some reason his playing is very inconsistent. Like there are nights, like last week, when he’ll come out and just play super awesome and everyone’s like LAMAR IS AWESOME why have I never realized HOW AWESOME LAMAR IS?! And then there are other times when you’re like, was Lamar playing tonight? Who is Lamar again? Oh yeah–what the hell happened to him? And if you’re big on sports or listen to Outraged Sports Guy in the wee hours of the morning (whether by choice or otherwise), you know that this is just one of those standard questions in sports: why does Lamar Odom play well sometimes and not others? What’s his deal?
So we’re watching this video on ESPN about Lamar and we find out the dude has a major sugar problem. They interview his teammates, who explain that he’s constantly eating candy. He brings it on the plane, he has it in the locker room. They cut to a shot of Lamar walking into practice while eating a bag of Gummy Life Savers. He even has his personal assistant go to the grocery store while he’s at practice, and then come back with a sugar stash, and lay it out carefully in the backseat of his car so that he can eat it right after practice. Odom even admits that sometimes he has to wake up in the middle of the night to eat his candy. The video goes on and on. And it’s like I’m looking into a mirror, except that this mirror is reflecting back a six-foot-ten bald black dude.
But don’t you see? At heart, Lamar Odom and I are the same: because sugar, that fickle whore, has made us both her bitch.
And so Mr. Right-Click and I are looking at each other, and we realize this is it! The ANSWER. This is why Lamar is sometimes so fantastic and other times so forgettable. It’s his sugar high/sugar crash schedule. On the nights when he gets the balance right, he hits a high right in the middle of his playing time. I don’t know, maybe he loads up at halftime or something. Maybe he should tape a bar of Hershey’s White Chocolate Cookies ‘n’ Cream under the Lakers’ bench, so he can grab it at the last second, like Michael Corleone’s gun taped to the back of the toilet in The Godfather.
I thought about writing about this last week, but then I thought, “Eh, my readers don’t care about basketball.” Because it was a major revelation and everything, here at the Right-Click household, we felt like fucking Sherlock Holmes and Watson, to have teased this one out, but I thought, nah–they don’t care about that. I’ll tell them about the Sandinistas instead.
But the joke’s on me now, because today I see that this upstart doctor has gone and told the goddamn LA Times the same stupid theory. Rat bastard usurper! Like he came up with that on his own. Oh, look at me, with my fancy pants MD–well we are a two-doctoral household over here, too, Mr. Fancypants MD! And what’s more, I have gone toe-to-toe with this particular demon, so I possess what you lack, my well-educated friend: street cred.
And that’s why this fancypants doctor is suggesting that Lamar needs to get off the sugar. That, if he gets off the sugar before we play Orlando (snicker) in the Finals this week, then he’ll play consistently better. Foolish medical practitioners! I happen to know that to detox from this particular substance requires dedication and time. Time to feel like warmed over shit for a couple of weeks. So what I am saying, I guess, is LAMAR, DON’T QUIT THE SUGAR JUST YET. I don’t care what the fancypants MD says, we don’t have the time! We don’t have time for you to feel like warmed over shit until after the finals are over. Save your detox for this summer–you’ll be glad you did–and so will we!