Saturday, November 5, 2011

RIP Andy Rooney

I was always a huge Andy Rooney fan. When I was a young kid, we'd eat Sunday dinner at my grandparents house and, seated in the living room with our "TV trays", we'd watch Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and Disney. Sandwiched between those two kid-favorites, was 60 Minutes - I didn't watch the news segments, but I loved Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney as much as the adults.
If Andy Rooney had been a blogger or tweeter, he would have been one of the best. His writing was clear and concise, humorous with a point and a lesson, often moving.
The following is one of those pieces that you read now and think to yourself "This guy's a genius!!!". At least I do. Thank you Andy for all the wonderful wit and wisdom you've given us over the years.

The Andy Rooney Upside-Down Diet
   The biggest sellers in any bookstore are the cookbooks and the diet books. The cookbooks tell you how to prepare the food and the diet books tell you not to eat any of it.
   The quickest way for a writer to get rich is to write a diet book. A cookbook is more difficult. With a diet book all you need is one bad idea and a lot of statistics on what has how many calories. If you want to make the book thicker, you put in a whole series of typical meals that adhere to your idea.
   As someone who's been eating too much all his life, I think I'm as qualified to write a diet book as anyone, and as a writer I'm twice as ready to get rich. Not only that, I have an idea. My book would be called The Andy Rooney Upside-Down Diet Book.
   My theory is based on the idea that the average overweight person has to change his eating habits drastically. The overweight man or woman has fallen into a pattern of eating that is making him or her fat, and the only way that person is going to lose weight is for him to turn his eating habits upside down.
   The appetite itself (I'll say in the Foreword to my book) is a strange mechanism. Our stomach often signals our brain that it's ready to have something sent down when our body doesn't really need anything yet.
   As I understand it - and you don't have to understand things very well to write a diet book - the appetite is depressed as the blood sugar level rises. The trouble is that the blood sugar level rises slowly as your digestive processes start taking apart the food you've consumed, so that you can still feel hungry for quite a while after you've had enough because your blood sugar level hasn't caught up with your stomach.
So much for theory. Here, in brief, is my diet. You'll want to buy the book later, I imagine.
   Basically, what I'm suggesting you do is reverse the order in which you eat things at a meal, and change the habits you have in regard to what you eat for what meal.
   Forget cereal, pancakes or bacon and eggs for breakfast. We're going to start the morning with a bowl of chicken soup. Chicken soup will serve a dual purpose. It's nourishing, not fattening, and because it's a hot drink you won't need coffee. If you don't have coffee, you won't need sugar. No one is going to be tempted to put sugar in chicken soup.
   The beauty of the diet - and I want them to make this clear on the jacket of my book - is that you don't have to deny yourself anything. Eat absolutely anything you feel like eating. The magic of my diet is in making sure you don't feel like eating much.
Before dinner many of us consume what we call appetizers. Don't take appetizers off your diet if you like them, just don't eat them first. In our Upside-Down Diet Book we'll be laying out more than one hundred weight losing model meals. A typical breakfast might consist of half a grape, a bowl of chicken soup and plain butter, no toast.
   Lunch might consist of ketchup, a Fig Newton, two Oreo Creme Sandwiches and lukewarm Ovaltine. In other words, Eat All You Want, but Change What You Want.
   Your main meal will be dinner. Classic cuisine has called for an appetizer first, soup, a fish dish, meat, vegetables and potatoes, followed by cheese and then dessert. We're going to ask you to shake that up if you want to lose weight.
   Each of our Upside-Down Diet meals will start with a bowl of ice cream or a chocolate eclair. Follow this with a small fish dish or oyster, clams or shrimp with a chocolate sauce. This will have the effect of raising your blood sugar level abruptly, and by the time the main course of oatmeal, corn flakes or Fruit Loops with buttermilk comes, you might not want any at all.
   I don't want to be greedy, but after the book is published I have high hopes that it will be made into a movie.

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