Fighting the Lockdown Fifteen
by
Íñigo Navarro Dávila

I went to see my nutritionist and got stuck in the door. The receptionist, a beauty of Italian descent, offered to help me.

“Maybe I put on a few extra pounds during quarantine” — that’s all I managed to offer as an apology. I admit it’s a rather anorexic excuse.

She took my hands, did some sort of judo moves, and released me without harming any of my carefully molded rolls of fat. We looked at each other for a moment, I think the Vienna Philharmonic sounded, our eyes revealing the smile hidden behind the mask, water lilies grew in my heart, and I thought how great it would be to spend the confinement with her.

The bad thing is that I thought about it out loud, and Laura has very good hearing.

“I’d rather catch the coronavirus, dear.” — she said it. She said it like that, cold like a Siberian icicle.

Life is what happens while you try to lose weight for the woman who doesn’t love you, and while you try to get fat to get rid of the one you don’t love. The thing is that I’m trapped in an infinite loop. Because the one I don’t love is the nutritionist. Shakespeare knocks on the doors of my heart.

My nutritionist, is a lady who looks like she’s been out of the fridge three days too long and whose only function in life is to make people eat things that are not for eating.

The coronavirus has turned me into a sedentary writer. Now I write 10 hours a day without moving from my chair. I used to work outside the house and run from the beer tap to the table every five minutes. After two months in prison, I had accumulated so much anxiety that the first day we were allowed to go running I stood in the street at six o’clock in the morning, dressed in the sportswear I was given for my First Communion, and ran with such impetus that I received standing ovations from the neighbors as I went along.

The next thing I remember were cries of pity, ladies crying, some little flashing lights — maybe it was an ambulance — and a journalist shoving his microphone up my nose and asking me if I would hold the government accountable for my heart attack. As if that wasn’t enough, before the health workers put me in the vehicle, a neighbor insulted me and threw several eggs at me, shouting, “Inconsiderate beast! We’re all confined at home, and you’re pretending to be ill just to catch some fresh air!”

When I managed to recover, I decided that I would never practice violent sports again. That I would leave everything in the hands of the nutritionist, since I had already come to terms with not being able to leave everything in the hands of her secretary, which is what I would really like to do.

Dr. Killthefat, my nutritionist, is a lady who looks like she’s been out of the fridge three days too long, has the character of an upside-down clam, and whose only function in life is to make people eat things that are not for eating.

A two-hour session with her has yielded dramatic results: from now on, breakfast will be a pistachio shake with two cashews. I’m not sure what cashews are — it sounds like a snake you might find in the Nile to me — but in the event that I have them in the pantry, there’s no way I’m eating them for breakfast. With that meager number of calories, I would be left too weak to take the bowl to the sink when I’d finished.

As for lunch and dinner, she has prescribed steamed chicken, i.e., chopped up hen taking a salt bath, and hake with peas, i.e., dead fish passed through boiling water surrounded by little green balls. Permitted drinks: unsweetened juices and non-carbonated water.

“What about beer?” I asked, believing its absence from the diet to be a mistake.

“Pale or dark?” said the nutritionist.

“Yes! exactly!” I shouted, overjoyed at the prospect of drinking any beer at all.

“It’s over between the two of you … ”

“What?” — cold sweat, tachycardia, I mouth some of Fray Luis de León’s last verses.

“You can still be pals, if you want … but only pen pals.”

If I understand correctly, this woman wants me to live on cooked fish, pistachio juice, and cashews — and to eat all that without being drunk. It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. A camel with six hippos riding on it.

“I think we have a slight communication problem,” I suggested.

“Well, you seem to communicate a little too well with my secretary, Laura.”

“Because she doesn’t make me eat bloody cashews!”

At this point in our pleasant conversation, she threw me out of the office, threatening me with broccoli, her main work tool, aside from cashew nuts. As I left, I saw that Laura was releasing another fat man from the door. I felt jealous.

I went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for my diet. I got them all in the pet food area. Olivia, the evil cashier, smiled at me tenderly while I was collecting my products and asked me slyly, “What’s the name of the rabbit?”

“His name is Itxu. And by the way, I saw your shopping cart yesterday, what’s the name of the cow?” I answered her, in a show of why I earn my oh-so-honest living as a satirist, a very particular kind of writer that would poison himself if he were to bite his tongue, and whose main mission in life is to make friends.

In the elevator I bumped into the neighbor from the seventh floor, loaded with bags. We looked at each other’s cashew nuts down wrinkled noses, trying to maintain a sense of manly dignity.

“Killthefat, I presume?” he said.

“Yeah, I just got out.”

“My condolences in these hard times.”

“Thank you. The best ones are always the first to go … ”

When I got home, my dog peeked into the shopping bags, wagging his tail, and gagged. Then walked off up the hallway looking melancholy.

I sunk into my big armchair. When I close my eyes, all I see are chocolate cupcakes. I’ve been staring at two cashew nuts in the palm of my hand for a long time and meditating on whether to eat them or not. Finally I drop them into the parrot’s cage, where they are gobbled up with delight. To hell with it! I’ve decided to freeze Dr. Killthefat’s food and give the Wodehouse Diet a chance: an apple a day, if well aimed, keeps the nutritionist away.

Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist, and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, the Federalist, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and columnist several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website www.itxudiaz.com.

Translated by Joel Dalmau

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