11 days of hell and I'm almost turning into a vegetable following Dr. Anderson's diet
by Jack Corbett


I answer the phone on the first ring hoping it's my doctor. It is. Somehow I know he will offer me consultation, a cheerful voice and hope. It's a Friday night and I had resolved not to go anywhere I didn't have to for the next 19 days. No beer, no tequila, cigarettes, coffee, meat, fish, salt, sugar, cooked food. Life had become a drag, devoid of all meaning. Although I was exercising hard each day, I had already started to lose muscle mass. I had already started to feel I would never have sex again. Worse, the prospect didn't even phase me. There's no light at the end of the tunnel–only dreariness, and an endless sleep without dreams.

It had all started on my birthday when my sister called me on the phone. My sister would turn fifty in a month but only looks thirty. She's one in ten million.

"How do you do it?" I asked her.

"Do what?" she replied.

"Look so young and stay so vibrant."

I was thinking of that pot belly I had started to grow even though I didn't drink half what I used to drink and had begun to feel sorry for myself for not doing it.

"I don't know," she said with a lilt in her voice. "I think eating the right things helps. "You are what you eat," she said with a laugh.

"You eat like a bird. I'd starve if I adopted your concentration camp diet."

"Hey brother Jack. You ought to give yourself a good cleanse. Get a new lease on life. You will live a lot longer if you'd try one."

"I already did. I showered last weekend and I feel the same now as I did before I hit the bathroom."

"No. I meant a good intestinal cleaning."

"I just did. Drank two pots of coffee already and I've been shitting like a mongoose."

"That's not what I meant. Hey, I tried this special diet of fruits and vegetables and I felt great afterwards. You ought to go on it. You won't regret it and you will feel a lot younger. Check it out, Jack. It's this Dr. Dementia's program and they've got a web site that explains the whole thing. He's written two books on it. You ought to start reading all about it." She then gave me the url of the web site. Moments later, I was on it with my cable internet connection while I still had her on the phone.

I bought over two hundred dollars worth of stuff. It all arrived in a nicely organized box two days later. There were bottles of herbs. There were two large plastic bottles of Bentonite and another large bottle of psyllium husk powder. There was a small bottle of electolyte capsules and a bottle of flora grow. Enough for the thirty day program. I had just bought a juicer and for the last two days I had been juicing fresh apples, carrots and all kinds of other fruits and vegetables I had been trying hard to avoid all my life.

Here's how it works.

First, the early morning coffee has to go. So instead of having all that caffeine you dump a tablespoon of Bentonite in a glass of distilled water with a teaspoon of psyllium husk powder, shake vigorously, then down while the Bentonite and pysyllium are still suspended in the water. The psyllium is supposed to make you shit while the Bentonite absorbs all the harmful chemicals and debris in your intestines which is later eliminated when you defecate. One and a half hours later you swallow three capsules of one herb compound and another three capsules of the other. An hour an a half after that you swallow another psyllium–Bentonite "shake" and an hour and a half after that you that the six capsules of herbs again. You finally can have lunch an hour and a half after that. Lunch consists of a glass of freshly juiced vegetables or fruits. And a fresh salad or whatever other vegetable or fruit concoctions you can dream up. You take a couple capsules of Flora grow at lunchtime. The Flora grow is full of "friendly" bacteria which is supposed to line the intestine. Then it's another round of herbs followed an hour and a half later by a Bentonite psyllium powder shake. There's also the electroylyte capsules to add nourishment to the body.

One can't go far from home because every hour and a half you are doing something. Restaurant meals are out no matter what you order. Even salads are out since the restaurant salad dressing is going to have salt in it. Bread is off limits, even whole grain bread. Oatmeal is okay but here's the catch. Consuming it slows down the process, which is to clean out the body. The core of the program is to dissolve away the "dreaded mucoid plaque" in the intestine which Dr. Dementia contends is the spot from which nearly all dissease originates.

"Years, perhaps a lifetime, of the wrong foods–dead foods–compact in the intestines caking them up with hardened crud that interferes with the digestive process, depriving the body of the nourishment it needs," wrote Dr. Dementia in one of his two books. "When you go through my thirty day program you will totally clean out your entire digestive system. Even your tongue will turn entirely red."

I buy a juicer and buy piles of apples, fresh carrots, celery, tomatos, cabbage, cucumbers, cantalopes and all kinds of fruits and vegetables that I hate eating. Twice a day I feed the juicer. My cutting board gets a workout since I'm slicing and dicing so many fruits and vegetables. Bananas and pears are to be kept out of the juicer since they are supposed to gum it up. Salad dressing consists of olive oil and pure Apple Vinegar–with no salt. All the goodies have to be kept out of the salads starting with the salt–the crotons, strips of ham or lunchmeat, and cheeses. The salads taste awful.

I wake up in the mornings wanting a pot of coffee but it's off limits. The first six hours of the day consist of nothing but psyllium–bentonite "shakes" and herbs. Can't even put oranges or tomatoes in the juicer until after 1 p.m. or even later depending upon when I want to get up.

Somehow I manage to exercise and it's everyday that I either get on the Nordik Trak or the Schwinn Aerodyne. I start to loose weight, or at least I think I'm losing weight since I don't have a scale. But it doesn't seem to be coming out of my stomach. It feels like my shoulders and upper arms are getting skinnier.

After calling my sister to find out if there's anything I can do to season my food, I head out in the Miata to the St Louis side to a place she's suggested called Wild Oats. I'm going to try seasoning my salads with Brewers Yeast flakes and some form of seaweed product. The place is a large grocery store chock full of everything imaginable: Organic foods and inorganic, books, meat counters where you can buy organic chicken, beef, pork, turkey and whatever. There's a salad bar and people are going around it stuffing their plates. There's homemade soups and another counter where you can put hot food of a healthy nature on your plate. The place even has a coffee bar, but I think they sell juice and herbal teas there instead of coffee. Almost everything is off limits since I'm on Dr. Dementia's diet.

The next day my phone rings and it's Skie who just a couple months ago was dancing at the Platinum Club and who is now waitressing at PT's. I meet her over at the Chinese restaurant close to where I live. She's already there, sitting in the far room waiting for me. I watch her stuff her plate from the four buffet tables as I sip from the glass of water my waitress has brought me.

I have Dr. Dementias book with me which I show to Skie. "I have a feeling that's something you mean for me to read," she tells me.

"It's not for you. You don't need it." She's just turned twenty so she's not had enough time yet to develop a very large mucoid plaque in her intestines. Besides, I like her, and you don't want to subject your friends to the kind of thing I'm going through.

She starts poking fun at me, especially when I reply to her question "Why are you doing this to yourself?" with a "I want to get rid of my beer belly."

"Who you trying to impress?" she asks sarcastically.

"I'm trying to impress myself. I want to see if I can do it."

"That's like my saying to you, I want to see if I can jump out in front of a train."

"You are just upset that we aren't going to be going out to too many restaurants together or not for the next three weeks. Do I detect a little self interest in your voice? That Indian-Pakistani Restaurant, the Thai Restaurant, the Vietnamese spot, Lebanese, all those places we were going to go to. Well–they are out. For now that is. Yes, I am now a man of no addictions. I'm not drinking coffee and I'm not eating anything that I like and I'm not even smoking," I said to her as I watched her light up a cigarette.

"Do I look like I care what I put into my body," she replied as she lay back on her side of the booth and exposed her belly which she started to rub. Her navel glistened. I dared not look around me to see who was watching which no doubt included our Chinese waitress who could hardly speak English.

"I'll be joining you at PT's tonight," I said. "But I won't be staying long. I'll probably have a terrible time. I can't eat there, I won't be able to drink, I'm not smoking, but I'll be there."

I could nearly read her mine telling her I'm sure: "Well, he's no fun now. And I wouldn't be because that night I went to PT's only to find out that my favorite bartender wasn't working that night. Larry wasn't there, dammit and the place was too damn crowded I had left my laptop outside in my four wheel drive. Not that there was anything wrong with the new bartender back over at the back bar. He just wasn't Larry, who's always full of shit. I took a seat at a bar stool and pulled out five sheets of computer paper on which I had printed my latest Gun article for Xtreme Magazine and a red pen and started editing my draft as I ordered a bottle of Spring Water which cost me five and a quarter.

Tuesday night when I can get draft beers for a buck apiece or bottled beers for two bucks, I muttered to myself. I gotta be insane. Hell, I can't even drink a coke, not while I'm on this crazy Dr. Dementia's diet.

One of the dancers took a bar stool next to me and started talking to her customer who was sitting on the other side of her. I had never talked to her at length but she had always been friendly to me. But I was in a very unfriendly mood. Here I was paying over five bucks for water, my favorite bartender wasn't here, I wasn't smoking, I couldn't eat a damn thing that tasted good, and I felt like shit. Having all kinds of beautiful women around me didn't help either since I couldn't even ask them out for lunch. And with my luck, that damn diet was slowly eroding my strength so that if I did wind up doing a photo shoot with one of them, I'd probably barely have the strength to hold my camera up when we finally got around to it.

My nephew was coming into town. It would be any day now and I hardly ever get to see him. I had introduced him to the titty bars here when he was nineteen. They never carded him because he was with me and here he was coming in all the way from Denver, Colorado to help run a bartending school on the St Louis side for two or three weeks. I had already envisioned myself telling him, "Nate–go ahead and have a few beers. I'll just watch as I drink this distilled water." Life was getting to be a bunch of purifying pumpkins after all.

I never said a word to the stripper sitting next to me. Just went through my manuscript making notations with my red pen. But I couldn't even focus on that. Time to leave I decided. I saw Skie standing at the other side of the bar getting her drink order and went over to tell her that I was leaving.

Life had suddenly become devoid of meaning. What was I doing with myself? I asked. Whatever I do will have no consequence of any importance whatsoever. And why am I paying for my web site? Why should I even work on it? And why should I write? Write anything at all? Because it is not ever going to fucking matter? And all these pictures I keep doing? Even if I wind up getting paid royally for taking them–just what in the hell am I doing to be doing with all that money? Buy a Porsche? Go live in some idyllic area with a beach where I'm not going to know anybody and despise most of the people I do know?

Some people probably think I hate women. But I'm very impartial. I hate everybody. No, I don't quite mean it that way. There are some people I think a great deal of but most of humanity I despise. I suppose it's worth going through this great adventure we are on to find the few who are decent. Some are men and a few are women but most people are not worth getting to know at all. But you have to risk meeting them and finding out what they are about to know the difference.

Most people will do practically anything for money. And most people you can't depend upon unless you look at it this way–that they can be depended upon to operate purely from the standpoint of self-interest. Most are cowards. They either have no convictions at all or they won't stand by their convictions–then lie about it. If anyone disagrees with me, just take a good look at War and the entire History of Warfare. How can anybody be part of it and claim to be human, if we are human at all?

I keep getting all kinds of video tapes from either the library or I rent them. Have to do anything to get my mind off of all this boredom and all the bad food that I am eating. Most of the days are cloudy or it's raining, but there's a couple days when it's bright, sunny and warm and on these days all I want to do is to drive around in my Miata with its top off, thinking about absolutely nothing. I smell each restaurant as I drive by. Even Burgher King and Waffle House smell good to me. What I would give for a bowl of chile. Or even a can of soup.

I've lost my faith. My faith in humanity and in myself. But I have just three weeks to go and I've printed out a schedule which I have taped to my refrigerator. Each day is subdivided into one and a half hour segments on which I keep track of all the important events. Things like, 9:30 a.m.–Psyllium–Bentonite shake, 11:00 a.m.–Herbs–12:30 a.m.–Psyllium-Bentonite shake, 2:00 p.m.–herbs, 3:30–lunch and so on. It's Friday night and I'm staying at home when the phone rings.

My Doctor

Turns out to be PlOne after all. He's got a PHD in Computer Science but he's a real Doctor after all even if he isn't an MD. Several hours earlier I had been talking to Morgan Hawke on the phone. She's one of the writers writing for "The Looking Glass". I had told her how I couldn't concentrate on my writing and how I thought not being able to smoke had something to do with it. Morgan had said how she felt the same way and that the narcotic qualities of nicotine seemed to help keep focused on her writing. But I was now talking on the phone with PlOne and listening to his cheery voice.

"Hey Jack, how's the Zen diet coming along?"

"I feel like shit."

"Hey, there's gotta be something on the web about the guy who came up with that diet."

"Yeah, there is. I got all these herbs and other capsules, psyllium seed and Bentonite from a web site he endorses. Let's see, I'm looking at his book right now and there is, there is a web site that's listed here."

"Let's take a look at it then." PlOne had a fast DSL internet connection while I had cable so both of us were able to speedily surf the web while still talking on the phone.

"Here it is," I said, as I gave PlOne the url while punching it into the top of my Internet browser. "But it looks different from the site I had been on before. The site appears to be Dr. Dementia's own web site."

PlOne's lightning fast at the keyboard and able to find things on the web that no one else seems to be able to find. I knew he'd be all over Dr. Dementia's web site in just a few minutes while finding out all kinds of other information of related sites.

"I sure wouldn't want to follow this guy's advice at all, unless he has an M.D.," said PlOne "and I can't see that he's got one. In fact, I don't see any evidence here that he's even got a college degree at all. At least not from a university that's accredited."

"I was just reading tonight how Dr. Dementia has a pair of chopsticks next to the stool in his bathroom which he uses to sort through his feces in the toilet. And how he urges the other members of his family to go through their shit too which they then discuss together."

"That is very strange," said PlOne. "Oh my God. I'm reading now about what he has to say about why people shouldn't eat meat. Dr Dementia's going on about all the murdered animals whose slaughter we have bought by buying meat products and how the memories and thoughts of those animals accumulate in our intestines and poisons our systems. And how the fear and pain of these animals becomes part of their bodies as they are getting murdered and how we accumulate all that negativity and fear in our intestines after eating meat. He goes on to write about how all those thoughts and negative energy gets encrusted in our intestines into a mucoid plaque. This guy's a total quack."

"He doesn't even have a college degree? I have a Masters Degree and you have a PHD. And we both had to work very hard at earning them. I'll be damned if I want to listen to a guy on the subject of what kind of food I should eat who hasn't put in a lot of effort learning all about what he's writing about."

"I'm reading on," said PlOne. Apparently he's taken course work at a place that is not accredited." I hear laughter on the other end of the line. "They are giving degrees away for three hundred dollars for all kinds of things I've never even heard of. I don't even see he has any meaningful credentials in nutrition. I'd be damned if I'd have this nut tell me what I should be putting into my body."

"I wonder what I have in my kitchen right now. Aside from raw fruit and vegetables there's not much. A can of soup would be good. Or a pizza. I'm getting off this program right now."

All I have is a can of Campbell's chunky vegetable soup. It isn't enough so I cram a whole pizza into the oven. I had been on Dr. Dementia's program for eleven days and had read that one experiences all kinds of reactions getting off of it. Someone had suggested to me that over a period of time the stomach and intestines get lazy from having to digest only raw fruits and vegetables and cannot handle other kinds of food until they work up to it over a period of several days. My sister had told me that foods other than fresh fruit and vegetables tastes terrible at first.

The pizza tastes great. I immediately start to feel whole again as my body begins to experience the promise of rebirth. Suddenly all that seems to have be missing in my life becomes encapsulated in what's left of the pizza, in its pan on the stove, half uneaten. The hint of food cooking in countless restaurants from fast food joints to ethnic restaurants of every description seems to radiate from the pizza : Indian, Thai, Japanese, Szechuan, German, Mexican, Vietnamese. Once again I would be able to take a pretty girl out to lunch. There would be the open air breeze flowing into my face while driving the Miata with its top down and with the warm sun soaking into my naked shoulders and chest. The call of unknown places beckoning as I'd shift through the gears of the responsive little car. Beer, tequila, and whiskey in nightclubs across the United States and all the people I would meet, many of them bad. But some good ones too.

Life would once again be filled with spice, whether sprinkled out on food, or to be experienced by visiting unknown places. The pizza starts to glow while calling out to me silently: Come eat the rest of me and I will take you to places you will not want to miss.

I swear silently to myself, From now on I will forsake all false things, starting with that infernal diet into the bowels of Hell. The pizza had become my one and only true God who would lead me back to what I had only been too willing to give up.

The Three Wise Women

The next day, I start my first pot of coffee, walk into the living room to sit at my roll top desk and call up Delilah. Delilah's Alphapro's Woman of the Year. Unfortunately she lives way up in Michigan. She's already drinking coffee when she answers the phone. After I tell her about my 11 day program in which I gave up every form of food that tasted good and coffee, cigarettes, and beer, she suggests that I bring my coffee pot from the kitchen into the living room and set it on the floor where I can easily reach it as I talk to her. So this is what it must have been like between Christ and his disciples, I decide as I start to have communion with her as we talk on the phone drinking coffee together. Now how could she know how my apartment is laid out? I asked myself. For all she knew I had a table and chairs in the kitchen where I now sat drinking coffee while on the phone with her. After all, she's never been to my apartment. Not yet. She's a wise woman. As the coffee courses through my body, I start feeling more mentally acute than I've felt since starting on Dr. Dementia's diet-- as I realize what I've been missing for the past 11 days.

We discuss many things and start planning the coming Lost Angels Awards Party. She is just past thirty, and smart. For six years I've been taking pictures of her but never had we taken them the way we are now. She's in her prime–later than most women hit it yet wise since she's experienced enough of life to usually know who's real and who's not. She can smell a man who's pretentious or who doesn't have the right stuff from a mile away. And sense a bitch upon first meeting her. She has a mind that never stops learning and a personality that just won't quit.

I've just gotten my latest batch of Xtreme Magazines. My latest article's in them. This one's called "Pride of the Gunfighter, the 45 Colt Single Action Army", and Sahara's in it. Her real names not Sahara of course. That's just the name she used to dance under. Like Delilah she's a bit over thirty. Last month I had Skie in my Gun of the Month article for "Xtreme" but she's just turned twenty being ten years younger than the other two women. I had met Sahara when she was my waitress at an upper scale Gentlemen's Club where she later bartended and finally danced. That was eight years ago. But she he hasn't danced for over two years. I have two year old pictures of her holding my Colt .45 which the magazine used in my latest article.

I can't think of a better way to break back into eating out again than having her for my bartender where she's now tending bar in Belleville, Illinois. Besides, I had promised her a copy of the magazine. My first course is a corned beef sandwich but after more than a week's deprivation it's not enough. Second course is a platter of hot wings which are very hot, and she's keeping my coffee cup full.

There's no way you would ever think of Sahara as a dancer or even as someone who used to dance. Yet, she had danced in an all nude club. Remember that she used to be my waitress and my bartender. This means she was my supplier of something that had always been very dear to me—my booze. And as we all know, most bartenders are usually very wise, having seen it all or at least heard it all before. I had always known Sahara to work very hard in order to pay her bills and to do whatever it took. By this I don't mean prostituting herself which many of the girls do. She'd clean floors, waitress, bartend, work in an office, do outdoor painting. Whatever. She knew how to get up early in the morning and work till dark. And she had learned how to stay up late working as a dancer until 6 a.m. at the clubs she worked for.

We talk about the old days, when I was writing my novel and I was going out with Nipples who was my book's main female character. She had seen me get drunk many times and would tell me about the things Nipples and I used to do that I couldn't even remember. I vow to her that I'll get drunk tonight. She insists on buying my lunch.

On the way home I'm thinking about my experiences starting with the night before. The first woman I had spoken to was Morgan Hawke. The second was Delilah and the third was Sahara and I had talked with all three in less than twenty-four hours. Everyone of them had condoned my eating the good things that life had to offer and recommended that I immediately get back onto my drinking and smoking program simply because it felt good. Already, I was feeling much better. I had found myself again, thanks to these three wise women. Come to think of it, all three had once been strippers, yet not one of them was stripping anymore. All three were over thirty. I was having a religious experience because of these three women all of whom I considered to be very wise. So I owe them a lot and will from now on call them The Three Wise Women, partly because they are over thirty and we all know a woman cannot be wise unless she's at least thirty and partly because they are no longer stripping and we also know that a woman cannot be stripping and be considered wise.


Starts at the Platinum Club. I had wanted to get drunk with Big Howard who had been a manager at Dollies for five years. But there's a party near his place and that's one party I don't want to go to since there will be strippers there I know and certain activities going on Howard had warned me I might not approve of. So I had left it with his promising to call me when he left the party to head over to Killians Irish Pub. With or without strippers.

Since I can have any drink I want at Platinum for three bucks I decide to go there even though I don't like crowded places and The Platinum Club usually gets crowded on Saturday nights. The cell phone's in the pocket of my Alphapro jacket since I don't want to miss Big Howard's call. I know that enlightenment is on its way and that it's going to be Howard who's going to be the cause of it. We had gotten drunk together many times and it always felt good to be drinking with him.

A blonde dancer starts hanging out with me at the bar where we talk about doing a photo shoot while having several drinks together. She's just my type since she seems to be enjoying partying even more than she likes making money, and we all know that any dancer who hangs around me is not going to make a dime. Finally she realizes that the reason she's there is to be able to pay her bills so she leaves me. I end up standing next to Bake at the bar and stay there talking to him for a couple hours. Bake's a D.J. for the club who works day shift so he's just hanging out. I get hungry and order chicken strips and fries which the cook brings over to me at the bar. Another dancer comes up to me insisting that she give me her phone number so we can do a photo shoot together. But the place starts to get too crowded and it's getting past 1:00 a.m.

I've gotten two phone calls on my cell phone and retrieve my messages at home around 1:30 a.m. Both are from Big Howard. The cell phone must have rung from inside my coat pocket inside the club and I had not been able to hear it above the music and noise. Somehow the bartender over at Killians must have known my voice because I hear her voice asking Big Howard to come to the phone. "It's Jack," I hear her say. But it's last call and the place is closing at 2. We decide to meet over at Dennys for breakfast.

Howard's obviously had more than a few, I gather, as soon as I see him walk in. Two men and a woman are with him as they join me at my table. Our waitress is cute and blonde and young. Howard might be drunk but his eyes are all over her and every time she bends over he either grins lewdly or makes signs with his hands as if he wants to feel her ass, then thinking better of it, shakes his head while grabbing one hand with the other as if he's trying to stop it from feeling her up.

I have a Meat Lover's Skillet. When the check finally arrives Howard finds out from our waitress that she's off her shift in a few minutes. He asks her what she's got planned for the rest of the evening even though it's past three in the morning. She lives in a little town thirty miles away and it's the same town I grew up in.

"Let's have a few drinks, somewhere," Howard asks the waitress.

"Where?" she replies. "Pops?"

"No way. I never go there anymore. Too much trouble happens there. Too many fights. "There's a good biker bar down the road. It's called the Watering Hole. Want to go there?"

"I got an even better place," I break in. "How about Jack's Hangover Haven? My apartment. It's only a mile and a quarter from here. I have tequila, beer, whiskey, and some vodka." Turning to the waitress I continue just for her benefit: "I've got a fast cable internet connection and I've got some internet videos with both Howard and me in them. I think you will find them pretty hilarious."

The waitress begs off. After all, Howard's already identified himself as a former topless club manager and I've brought in two issues of Xtreme Magazine which I've already shown the waitress. Xtreme's an adult magazine so she knows I'm both a writer and a photographer for an East Coast Adult Magazine.

I mean, if you were a waitress at Denny's in her early twenties would you want to go to the apartment of someone you think is a porn writer and photographer and the only other person there is an ex topless club manager? But leave it to Big Howard. He just never gives up. There is not a trace of artfulness or subterfuge in his technique. He wastes little time but somehow he keeps coming off just like a big overgrown teddy bear.

There will be another time not very far off. I've been in the presence of a master. I don't know of what but a master of something. I still have a bottle of tequila at home. I think I'll call it the Holy Sacrament. And next to it is a bottle of Whiskey. I am reserving the Tequila for Big Howard. I think I've just been in the presence of God, God this time not in pizza form but in its human incarnation. For if anything, it's Big Howard, flowing along from one good time to another, who more than any other exemplifies the essence of godliness. Of absolute perfection for he is what he is. And all who follow him shall reach a state of perfect grace as they reach a state of being perfect in spirit even if that spirit is the essence of alcohol and the higher state of unconsciousness that only the one and true God can lead us into.


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