Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more columns by Palmer here.
Scene One: Interior of darkened Steamboat Springs home. Woman lays on couch with shades drawn, a half-finished bag of potato chips, French onion dip, chocolates and a water glass full of celery next to her on the floor. Her cell phone is pressed to her ear as she listens to the following:
"Thank-you for calling the Celery Institute and Center for Overeating. All of our Celery Care Specialists are currently busy assisting other people with no will power. Please stay on the line and listen as our motivational music plays, 'Stop In the Name of Health, Before You Blow An Artery!' Your estimated wait (no, not weight!) time is four minutes. While you're waiting, we advise you to jog in place until a Celery Care Specialist is available. Thank you for calling the Celery Institute and Center for Overeating."
Happy, chipper voice: "Good afternoon, Celery Institute. My name is Genuinely Happy Gina. May I have your name?"
Woman: "Mrmmmf. Sorry, I had a mouth full of potato chips. Name? My name? Chips. That's it. Miss Chips. I'm from Chattanooga, and I drive a Chevy. And I love celery." (Muffled laugh and sound of hand in potato chip bag).
Genuinely Happy Gina: "Really? The caller ID shows your name is Joanne Palmer. How can I help you? And by the way, laughter is often the first sign of a serious symptom of overeating."
Miss Chips: "No, I'm Miss Chips. My identity along with my waistline has been lost. Mrmmmf. Anyway, let's get started. There's only 15 minutes until lunch. Bless me Gina, for I have sinned. It's been months since I've eaten anything healthy, and I see no reason to start now. I blame the holidays. I blame the parties. I blame the weather. And I have to get up early to work and : and : and : well, you know, I had to have a half a dozen doughnuts just to get out the door."
Genuinely Happy Gina: "I see. Well, I am not a priest and therefore I can't absolve you from the mortal sin of excess. Didn't you read any of the newspaper or magazine articles we publish advising you to eat before you go to a party? That way you don't stand by the food table and choose all the wrong foods."
Miss Chips: "Of course I read those. But honestly, would you want to be one of those people? Isn't it insulting to the hostess to stand there, sucking in your gut and taking 20 minutes to eat one carrot - oops, I mean celery stick?"
Genuinely Happy Gina: "I see your point. It would be rude. Now, according to my records you live in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Is that correct?"
Miss Chips: "Mrmmmf. Ah, yes. The world-class ski resort."
Genuinely Happy Gina: "So couldn't you undo some of the holiday excess by like, say, skiing?"
Miss Chips: "Um, yeah. Except my car is buried underneath 6 feet of snow, I can't see out my window because there's so much snow piled up, and I can't get motivated to get off the couch."
Genuinely Happy Gina: "Sounds like they need to add some Prozac and caffeine to the water supply over there."
Miss Chips: "Boy, do they ever."
Genuinely Happy Gina: "Did you know that celery has 'negative calories' - that means the amount of calories in the celery is less than the number of calories used to digest it."
Miss Chips (maniacal laughing): "Great. A math problem."
Genuinely Happy Gina: "You could find all this out and more on our Web site, CeleryandSticks.com. Log on and order our recipe book, '101 Ways With Celery Sticks.'"
Miss Chips: "I knew there'd be a gimmick! Gotta go! It's time for lunch."