The Gus MacDonald Diet

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Ogden Nash wrote a book of poetry entitled I'm a Stranger Here Myself which contained Curl up and Diet, a poem about women and weight loss. I haven't seen the book in about twenty years (my parents had a copy), but I'm going to make a stab at a remembering a few lines:

Some women drink too much Some women pray too much But all women think they weigh to much

By the end of the poem, some poor women has been granted the ability to lose as much as she wants - and has lost weight to the point where she looks like the shadow of someone's 14 year old brother in the last stages of some obscure disease.

Well, my friend Gus MacDonald contracted some form of liver-blood disease about a year ago (he's healthy now - well, as healthy as he ever was, at any rate) and lost an enormous amount of weight. Maybe ten kilos.

I've been sick with some kind of flu for the last twelve days it's taken five kilos off me. I'm down to 89 kilos. I'm reminded of an old David Letterman skit from when he was a stand-up comedian: "Lose weight without diet or exercise! I figure that pretty much leaves disease."

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Curl Up And Diet by Ogden Nash

Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much,
But all ladies think they weigh too much.
They may be as slender as a sylph or a dryad,
But just let them get on the scales and they embark on a doleful jeremiad;
No matter how low the needle happens to touch,
They always claim it is at least five pounds too much;
To the world she may appear slinky and feline,
But she inspects herself in the mirror and cries, Oh, I look like a sea lion.
Yes, she tells you she is growing into the shape of a sea cow or manatee,
And if you say No, my dear, she says you are just lying to make her feel better, and if you say, yes, my dear, you injure her vanity.
Once upon a time there was a girl more beautiful and witty and charming than tongue can tell,
And she is now a dangerous raving maniac in a padded cell.
And the first indication her friends and relatives had that she was mentally overwrought
Was one day when she said, I weigh a hundred and twenty-seven, which is exactly what I ought.
Oh, often I am haunted
By the thought that someone might discover a diet that would let ladies reduce just as much as she wanted, Because I wonder if there is a woman in the world strong-minded enough to shed ten pounds or twenty, And say There now, that's plenty;
And I fear me one ten-pound loss would only arouse the craving for another.
So it wouldn't do any good for ladies to get their ambition and look like somebody's fourteen-year-old brother,
Because, having accomplished this with ease,
They would next want to look like somebody's fourteen-year-old brother in the final stages of some obscure disease,
And the more success you have the more you want to get of it,
So then their goal would be to look like fourteen-year-old brother's ghost, or rather not the ghost itself, which is fairly solid, but a silhouette of it.
So I think it is nice for ladies to be lithe and lissom,
But not so much that you cut yourself if you happen to embrace or kissome.

I prefer to hear about your weight in stones, anyhow.

Hey, FS! Thank you for posting that poem! Ogden Nash was my favorite poet when I was a kid. My mother had this record of Saint Saens' Carnival of the Animals, and for each movement it had a poem written by Ogden Nash to match it - and it was read by Noel Coward. It was brilliant!

Anyway, thank you for posting. It's good to hear from you; I trust you are well.

I know the same record. I think I still have it somewhere, but it's definitely Noel Coward and Saint Saen. How are you? In Britain as well? Through some strange google search I found your blog, but it was good to find you.

James? Wow. Cool! I live in Edinburgh. Where are you?

And my email is nathan(at) Drop me a line!

I wish I had maintained my weight, but now I have to get off my oversized butt and do something about it.

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This page contains a single entry by Nate published on February 9, 2007 8:47 AM.

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