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Funny Times April 2015 Issue

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The “I’ll Be The Dog” Diet

By Ray Lesser


“I will not order the cheeseburger and fries, I will not order the cheeseburger and fries” my friend George begins chanting to himself, as we survey the specials board at our local lunch dive.

“Are you trying to diet again?” I ask, watching George’s head swivel as a platter of steaming barbecued ribs goes by.”I know I need to eat healthier, I keep telling myself that all day. But then comes the thirty seconds when it’s time to actually order lunch and all my willpower breaks down. If I can just master my mind for those few seconds, I’m sure I can lose weight.”

“You’re not trying one of those fad diets again, are you?”

“The South Beach Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Russian Air Force Diet”

“What was the Russian Air Force diet?”

“The food was so bad, that it was impossible to overeat. It was also impossible to stick to the diet.”

“I hate to remind you of this, but the secret to losing weight is really pretty simple,” and George joins me in reciting our ultimate weight loss tip, “Eat less and exercise more!”

“That sounds so easy,” George says. “Why can’t we come up with a diet explaining that and make millions selling it to people?”

“I don’t think we’d be very good examples of how well our diet and exercise ideas work,” I say, trying to rub out a charlie-horse I’ve gotten from balancing all my weight on one leg.

“My problem is my upbringing,” complains George. “I was raised to feel guilty if I didn’t clean my plate. The starving children of China always cast a pall over family dinner. So, not only do I eat everything on my plate, I can’t stand it when my kids leave perfectly good food on their plates. I always wind up finishing it for them.”

“Maybe you should get a dog.” I suggest. “Then the leftovers won’t go to waste, plus you could burn off calories walking the dog.”

“My wife is allergic to dogs, and besides, the food the kids don’t eat is much too good to waste on a dog. How about I’ll be the dog. I won’t take any food on my own plate, I’ll just sit and watch my kids eat, then my dinner will be whatever is still left on their plates.”

“You can call it the “I’ll Be the Dog Diet.” What the heck, it sounds worth a try and it’s sure to be cheaper than getting a dog.”

“I’ll buy myself a collar and take myself for walks.”

“Just keep your paws off the mailman.”

A few days later I ask George if he’s tried out his new diet idea. “Yeah, I took the boys to McDonald’s for dinner after baseball practice last night. I just ordered a drink and sat with my tongue hanging out and my tail wagging, waiting for their leftovers. I kept begging, “Are you done with that hamburger, yet? Are you gonna finish all those fries?” I couldn’t believe it, they ate every last bite. I went to bed so hungry, even a bowl of kibble would have tasted good. I’m gonna have to rethink this diet.”

A couple of days later he tells me his new strategy. “I started making food that I thought the kids would hate. Things like spinach salad and spicy Indian curry. That way, I figured there’d be plenty left over for me.”

“What happened?”

“Turns out the kids love spicy food. They ate it all up and asked for seconds. There wasn’t even anything left to lick in the pot on the stove. Plenty of leftover spinach salad, though.”

“So, the “I’ll Be the Dog Diet” is working!”

“Maybe I should try combining it with the Atkins diet. I won’t eat anything but meat that’s fallen on the floor.”

“Would you like me to buy you a rawhide bone to gnaw on, when you get hungry?”

The next time George and I go to lunch I ask again about his diet.

“I’m excited,” he says. “I’m down below 220. According to my doctor, that would be my ideal weight, if I were 7’6″ tall.”

“So really, you have two choices: You can either lose more weight, or you can grow taller.”

“I’m thinking of buying a pair of those gravity boots, that you hang upside down in. Or maybe I’ll go into the clinic for traction.”

“I don’t suppose you want to go someplace for burgers today?”

“Whatever you like; I think I’ll just keep you company. Then afterward maybe you can walk me over to the park and I’ll chase the squirrels and pigeons for a while.”