There’s a little known pub game that I like to play. It’s nothing to do with how many cream crackers you can eat without a drink or, for that matter, how much you can drink (with or without a cream cracker.) Actually, I’m bending the truth slightly as I hardly ever go to pubs now, unfortunately, and I play the game inside my head. It’s one of those ‘would you rather’ affairs, you know the kind you play on a slow day in the office … “if you were on a desert island and the only way you could ever get off would be to sleep with the guy in Finance with dandruff and too much saliva, listen to the Macarena on headphones for 24 hours solid or walk down Golders Green Road naked, which would you do?”
I’ll stop waffling, here’s your choice:
Would you rather….
Have a million pounds
Be able to eat whatever you want without ever putting on an ounce?
(Please don’t judge my game. It’s just a bit of fun and peace in the Middle East and a cure for cancer are not options.)
I took the game to the dinner table on a rare night when everyone was speaking. This was the response:
Son (13): That’s easy, I’d take the money and use it for surgery.
(Ouch, what have I created?)
Daughter (16): I already have the latter so I’d choose the first.
(Ha, it’ll catch up with you!)
(Well, the husband doesn’t really tune in to dinner conversation unless it’s got Israel or how easy kids have it these days in it.)
The kids answered for him: Dad would choose the money as he likes being 3 stone overweight.
A million smackeroonies would be useful. And in my game I have to spend it on myself… ok, well the family. This is actually quite tricky as I pride myself on being un-materialistic and gloriously low maintenance. We do need some new curtains though and I suppose we could get a newer boring car. It would be blissful to not have to worry about money and I could give up work and write that book that I always meant to. Ouch, I would have to give up work and have no excuse not to write that book that I always meant to.
We could dine in any restaurant we fancied and work off the calories with our personal trainer in our home gym and pool. It would be quite tough going though as I plan to eat out an awful lot and exercise hurts.
Me and the OH (I’ve been thinking that that stood for ‘oh hell’ for years, but have recently realised it means Other Half) could sleep snore free… in separate bedrooms. Do I want that? Yeah, I do actually.
We could build extra bathrooms for the kids so there would be no cursing and berating in the morning if someone digresses from the routine for half a milli-second. Hmm, I’d have to change the name of my newspaper column “Two Kids One Bathroom” and I wouldn’t have as much material for my Facebook statuses.
So maybe the million wouldn’t be so great after all. Memories of that careful what you wish for show back in the seventies – Fantasy Island. (Yes, Boss.)
Now let’s look at the second option. The deal is that I wake up 3 inches taller and 2 stone lighter. I can eat and drink whatever and whenever I like. So a typical day would be smoked salmon bagels for breakfast, a Krispy Kreme for elevenses at work, lunch of a Thai veggie takeaway box with lots of rice and noodles (I usually just fill up on all the soya stuff and veg).In the afternoon I would graze on Bombay Mix and then nibble a bag of Tortilla chips on the bus on the way home (would have to sell the car to feed the new regime). I’d drink a bottle of wine to wind down from the stress of work, while making a supper of a recipe from my new Ottolenghi cook book. I would have an apple for dessert to make sure my diet was balanced.
The question is, would I be happy? Yes, I would. I’d be very very happy. If we’re talking pure hedonism, then food ticks my boxes. For me, food is the music of love (or something like that.) The relationship would be pure, monogamous. Nobody’s business but my own. And the repercussions would be advantageous for the family:
“Gosh, Mum’s in a good mood now she’s started taking a cake up to bed.”
I’m so justifying this.
I think you have guessed by now that I would go for option 2.
I write this on the eve on my embarkation of another diet. This time it’s the 5 and 2. (Not to be confused with a four by two.) The premise is that you can eat whatever you like on five days, as long as you stick to 500 calories for the other two. I’ve worked in the slimming industry and I know pretty well that any diet works so long as you stick to it. It will work for me if I do not take the ‘whatever I like’ bit too literally. I’m still a bit sceptical though and will probably have to go to bed at 8 o’clock on the ‘fast’ days.
Now back to that desert island … soft lad from Finance, the Macarena, or the nude dash down a busy high road?