All Aboard The Sugar Train; Or, Huh. I Never Knew I Had So Much In Common With Lamar Odom

by anna on June 2, 2009

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.

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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!

{ 17 comments }

Christine June 2, 2009 at 5:10 am

A) I do care about basketball! B) I get the sugar thing. C) It amped up in grad school for me with Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies washed down with orange juice, sometimes three, four times a day! D) It’s somewhat under control now, but Sour Patch Kids are my downfall.

Christine´s last blog post..Joke From An Ice Pop Stick

eliz June 2, 2009 at 5:38 am

There was a summer that I lived on nothing but frozen low-fat waffles (drenched in syrup, of course), nonfat frozen yogurt (usually a really fruity, sweet flavor) and pretzels. And a lot of vodka. But it was the ’90s and “nonfat” was the buzzword, so I thought I was the very picture of dieting discipline. The refined-flour waffles and pretzels were essentially sugar, too, as is the vodka. The body processes alcohol much as it does sugar. There were nights I never went to bed, followed by two-day stretches when I couldn’t get off the couch.

jenni June 2, 2009 at 6:10 am

i also love sugar. Love it. i must eat 10 mini peppermint patties a day.

also, you feed is f-ed up. it’s not loading or updating in google, anyways. i had to TYPE YOUR ADDRESS to get here. the horror.

jenni´s last blog post..RTT: Contractors, Drug Dealers, and Dogs (Oh, my!)

anna June 2, 2009 at 6:27 am

uggh feedburner is KILLING ME. My subscriber numbers fluctuate wildly every day. grrr

bessie.viola June 2, 2009 at 7:13 am

So comforting to know that the famous share our addictions and struggles… I, too, have battled the sugar demons. In fact, I am losing to them today as I am eating a butterscotch pudding for breakfast. I feel I am headed for detox once again… ::shakes head::

bessie.viola´s last blog post..Ponderance Upon Viewing of Noggin

Kerry June 2, 2009 at 7:36 am

I am in the process of trying to cut back to just one dessert a day. It’s sucking pretty hard.

My feedburner numbers are all over too. Also, my email subscribers get my posts a full day after it hits Google Reader and Twitterfeed. It’s annoying.

Kerry´s last blog post..26 Questions People Have Asked Google To Get Here

Elizabeth June 2, 2009 at 7:47 am

I recently went gluten-free, so I’ve cut out a lot of refined/processed foods that were providing my sugar fix. And my bread fix. And my chocolate fix. Oh, the detox/rehab is killing me slowly. Since then, I’ve had bronchitis that WILL NOT go away, I’ve had stomach problems, the whole nine yards, and thanks to this post, I’m starting to think that I’m NOT dying of some weird disease but instead am suffering withdrawal symptoms. Maybe. All Hail to the Mighty Snickers Bar and the power it wields over mere weaklings like us.

Elizabeth´s last blog post..Why Internet recommendations aren’t always smart

anna June 2, 2009 at 9:21 am

I never knew so many people were sugar addicts! I was talking to somebody about this once, a nutritionist or a doctor, I don’t remember who, and they were hypothesizing that if sugar (like just plain old refined sugar) was up for FDA approval today, without all of the political lobbying, etc., there is no way in hell they would approve it. Unless it was as a controlled substance.

Seriously. It’s that bad. Don’t forget that they used to put cocaine in Coca-Cola. Just because it’s legal and easily accessible does not mean it’s healthy.

Signed,
I live in a glass house and am eating an ice cream bar right now

Kerry June 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

I was eating key lime pie while I read that warning.

I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t gamble, I got to bed at 9:15…but I am completely fueled by sugar and Diet Coke.

my year without June 2, 2009 at 11:08 am

What an incredible writer you are! You had me rolling off my chair! I had not heard about Odom but now I’m anxious to take a peek into his life. It’s interesting that such a seemingly insignificant detail of our lives *sugar* can be the constant straw that breaks our backs. Because it’s EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING I think most people don’t even think twice about it. But there is a momentum of people coming out of the pantry with the truth-they are sugar addicts.

I am one year and 6 months off of the white stuff (including corn syrups) but psychologically it is still a struggle. I WANT the desserts and the candy I see and smell. The WANT is strong and practically ingrained. It’s a freakin miracle I’ve made it this far, but it’s still a struggle with my “need” for white speed.

Looking forward to reading more of your entertaining style of writing, while sharing important facts as well!

my year without´s last blog post..Peanut Butter Pudding: Sugar-Free of Course!

sizzle June 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I self-diagnosed myself as sugar sensitive which is a nice way of saying that I ate too much sugar and when I didn’t, it wasn’t pretty. I quit the stuff a few years ago with great results- more energy, more stable moods, better sleep. It slowly creeped back into my life and now I am back at it, I am three weeks sugar free and I feel so much better. Thanks for this post!

sizzle´s last blog post..Weighing In

The Lawyer Mom June 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I was a serial candy monogomist too, for years. My longest relationship was with Jelly Belly jelly beans. Finally, I kicked the habit until . . . those little Almond Joys came along last Halloween.

The Lawyer Mom´s last blog post..Summertime, and My Living is Queasy

Juliet June 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm

The first day of bar review, the guy stood up in front of about 400 of us and said, “This is going to be the hardest three months of your lives. It’s like a marathon. You need to train. You need to be strong. If you drink, if you do drugs, if you are a gambling addict or a sex addict….well, DON’T STOP NOW! Wait and stop after.” It seemed LOL funny/crazy but that guy was right.

It’s funny how you go through phases of a favorite or signature candy. I had a sugar thing in college too for a little while. Our student store had a wall with those serve-yourself barrels of candy, yogurt covered pretzels, fig bars etc etc sold by the ounce (pound?) I really OD’d on those. I went through a coffee nip phase. Then there was a phase of those red hard candies wrapped like a watermelon that have a squishy-ish center that come packed in with Hickory Farms shipments. Oh, and I also had a thing where I’d make “my” special signature study drink of a pack of instant hot cocoa but with brewed coffee instead of water. No wonder my teeth are crappy today.

Juliet´s last blog post..Thankfully Simple Giveaway Winner Announced!

NGS June 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I just bribed one of my high school students with a Cookies and Cream Hershey’s bar. I told her if she finished all her incomplete homework assignments, I’d give her one. She did them all. And got the bribe. Sugar is a miracle worker.

NGS´s last blog post..45 x 365 #164

Amber Warren June 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm

WOW funny. You have Odomitism. That’s what we should call it. I say we because it looks like every commend on here is a fellow junky. I have thought about cutting down on sugar but it only lasted until my next craving and then I realized what a ridiculous idea that was. I tell myself as I’m working out that I’ll get my fix through fruit. But it’s just not the same. Not the same at all.

Amber Warren´s last blog post..Facebook Quiz Revelations

anna June 3, 2009 at 10:56 am

Yeah, I guess there really is something to this whole social media tribe thing–if you all come here to read, we must have all kinds of wacky things in common we haven’t even discovered yet.

The Mother June 3, 2009 at 11:55 am

I have a child who does the sugar thing. I wonder if that has anything to do with the ADHD thing?

My personal addiction is wine. Probably not healthy, either. Luckily, I don’t play basketball, nor earn a MILLION DOLLAR salary to suck every other night.

The Mother´s last blog post..The Divine Mother and Child–NefHxMotherhood

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