The Bio-Chemical Glucose Nightmare

Friday, November 11, 2005

The first thing that happened was I found out corn syrup was an ingredient in my V8 shake. It's in just about everything nowadays - my chapstick, my lemonade, even my baklava. But it erks me plenty when it touches the inner sanctum of my can of V8.

My day always starts the same way. I have grown accustomed to its daily ritual. Marisol, punctutally, awakes me at 6:30 a.m. playing Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104; Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 on her viola. I rise from the bed and walk into the garden, bare, with all my tidbits aglow. There I meet up with my Tai Chi instructor, "Lemon Tree", for 20 minutes more of rigorous exercise. Then Marisol has my egg whites and mung beans rolled into the gazebo. I read the Washington Post, NY Post, The Guardian, Al-Jazirah and Daily Variety while I catch up on follow-up calls. When I am DONE I like to relax with a cold can of V8. TWO servings of vegetables in just one little can™!! But today my world has been shattered. Corn syrup in my V8? This stuff is destined to kill me after all! I realized there was no fool proof plan for life. I had to keep a careful watch on the things that supposedly helped me - like vitamins and mackeral. I still had 6 lives left for godsake, and I wasn't gonna let corn syrup in a can of V8 murther me!

So, I called C. Everett Koop, to learn more information. He suggested we meet at The Friar's Club for dinner. I had to bump Jay-Z off my calender, but I had to know what the doctor knew.

Marisol couldn't find the keys to the lamborgini, so we had to take her Ford Taurus. Of course she popped a tire on the way (the dirty cunt!) forcing me late for my dinner with Dr. Koop. I waited patiently for 15 minutes while Marisol changed the tire. I squeezed back inside her jalopy and we rode on. I was another five minutes late because I had Marisol drop me off three blocks away just in case Woody and the rest of the paparazzi were waiting.

I saw C. and he saw me. We shook hands, hugged, I tugged on his beard and made some witty remark about he looked like a lighthouse keeper - then we sat. After polite, small talk he finally spoke:

"High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is produced by processing corn starch to yield glucose, and then processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. It all sounds rather simple—white cornstarch is turned into crystal clear syrup. However, the process is actually very complicated. Three different enzymes are needed to break down cornstarch, which is composed of chains of glucose molecules of almost infinite length, into the simple sugars glucose and fructose."

I excused myself and jaunted to the restroom meditating on the words. "Glucose?" I thought to myself as I shook my penis thrice at the urinal. "That can't be good for my diabetes." I Q-tipped my ears, tipped the bathroom valet seventy-seven cents and returned to the table. "Koop, I implore you! Can it exacerbate my diabetes!?"

He continued droning, yet informing. "Consumption of glucose kicks off a cascade of biochemical reactions. It increases production of insulin by the pancreas, which enables sugar in the blood to be transported into cells, where it can be used for energy. It increases production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite and fat storage, and it suppresses production of another hormone made by the stomach, ghrelin, that helps regulate food intake. It has been theorized that when ghrelin levels drop, as they do after eating carbohydrates composed of glucose, hunger declines."

By this time I had payed the check, got the waitresses phone number and sold my Intel stock via blackberry. I implored him. "Please speak to me in layman terms. I don't know what what my ghrelin level is supposed to be. I don't know if my physique holds ghrelin. Layman's terms, Koop!"

At that exact moment Billy Baldwin walked in. I hadn't seen him since the premiere of "To Wong Foo. Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar." I excused myself from Dr. Koop and sashayed over to Billy's booth. He was surrounded by three gorgeous Cambodian triplets.
"Billy it's been years since we spoke. What a delight to see you! I was just passing through the neighborhood when I decided to stop in and get a Cafe con Leche. What kismet it is to run into you! - and I have no other previous engagement. May I join you?"

"Dr. Boodle-anda Jones", he mocked. "Meet my three lady friends. Heather, Chestnut and Tammy. Please join us for some high end champagne."

"My pleasure, Billy." I purred into Tammy's ear. "Looks like we're going to need a case full of strawberries."

The waiter arrived, and Billy ordered Mumm Brut. I cancelled the order and requested that if we were going to have Mumm it had to be Cordon Rouge, demi-sec, Cramant, Grand Cru et Rosé. Billy winked, "Touche!"

We exchanged pleasantries. Billy ate the sourdough bread (and didn't even share with Heather), Tammy forced a handjob on me, and no one was talking to Chestnut. I took a step outside for a fag, and remembered that I had long forgotten C. Everett Koop. I wondered if he was still there, who paid the bill, what he would say about my smoking.

I returned to the banquette in which we discussed glucose and C. Everett was gone. C. Thomas Howell was there, but no Dr. Koop. I felt entirely sickeningly dissapointed in myself, then returned to the table as jolly as a peanut. I felt like my Bi-Polar was acting up. I asked Billy to refill my champagne glass. He obliged. I took one sip, and immediately spit it out. Billy huffed, "You don't like Sparkling Wine?"

I felt my throat tense up. "Sparkling Wine, you talentless Baldwin!? You're going to give me Ketoacidosis! I could be dead by Ramadan. Imbecile!" Suddenly, I felt dizzy. The room began to spin. I KNEW there was too much corn syrup in the sparkling wine. That's why I had spit it out, but it was too late.

The coma was taking over.

Incidentally, I am okay. Saved by a twelve year old boy's liver. I was in the hospital for nearly two weeks. Billy sent Hollyhocks, Shelly Duvall surprised me with Peach Snapps. Michael Musto brought Christine Baranski by for a game of cribbage. Marisol read to me "Cannery Row" in her broken English. Moscow held a vigil. I feel loved and adored - all over again, like I was a twelve year old boy -
who gave a cat his liver.

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