Thanks—MUCH belatedly—for the holiday card, and may your dreams come true in 2013, but I must say that I don’t believe in Christ or the power of wishes. As a nutritionist, I’ve seen too many of my clients “wish” to get well and stay sick despite implementing healthful diets and using the best doctors and supplements; and as a crazy person, I’ve wished too many times myself—by picking heads-up pennies from the sidewalk and stuffing them in my bra and saying out loud what I want, or staring at the moon and thinking hard about my desired object—for things that never came to pass.
Since you asked me, in your card, to write you a real-life story in which someone’s wish comes true, I’ll do my best.
It’s hard to describe the sadness that comes on me sometimes. My acupuncturist says I have sticky goo in my head. I was in one of those periods when this occurred, going regularly to a medical center in Union Square to receive IV antibiotics for Lyme disease. My bloodwork was off and I needed iron infusions to raise my ferritin. I had parasites, despite eating raw garlic every day for three months and taking six rounds of Vermox, and found it hard to concentrate. This was when I’d just started taking nutrition courses, taught writing classes at several universities to pay rent, and was obsessed with making medicinal foods. I’d spent my savings on Lyme treatments, and whenever I got extra cash, I bought ingredients for these “medicinal foods” that I’d developed, helped a few friends overcome ailments with, and hoped to patent, manufacture, and sell through a company like Nestlé. I had one very promising prototype, Thyroid Boosting Brownies. These were brownies I’d buried nine supplements inside and medicated my graduate creative writing students with, by putting three in front of each student at the workshop table and saying only that they were “healthy desserts.” I had a compulsion to give sick people supplements. That was all I cared about. I knew my students were sick because they wrote badly. They looked bloated to me, and some were fat. Don’t ask where my compulsion came from. Perhaps because I couldn’t cure myself. That day my students laughed more and made smarter comments, and in the class’s middle, five got up and did jumping jacks. But at its end they asked what was in the brownies, and when I admitted that one ingredient was raw bovine thyroid, two students, a Hindi yoga instructor and a vegan action-film heartthrob, walked to the bathroom and retched. That week the department chair told me I was an insane fuckup who’d never teach there again.
That worsened my finances, and I should have given up on the supplement food line and concluded that my students did jumping jacks because they ate sugar, but I had a fantastic need to believe in my foods’ ability to improve people’s health.
Not much else was going on in my life—I taught and went for treatments at the detoxification center.
It was one morning in summer 2010 when I received a disturbing package from my mother, who due to family disagreements hadn’t spoken to me in years. After I opened the package, I put on my wolf suit—a black hoodie and sweats I often wore to the detoxification center—and went to the health store and spent most of my rent money buying supplements, and then I took one item from my mother’s package—a toxic three-pound milk chocolate bar—and melted it in a double boiler alongside three pounds of organic 100 percent cacao, and spent two hours crafting a “filling” made of organic almond butter, raw honey, cardamom, sea salt, and twenty super-potent, ground-up supplements, and then I spooned melted chocolate, then filling, then melted chocolate into each of nine dozen truffle molds—some dome-shaped, others seahorses, starfish, or chessmen—to make nine dozen Thyroid Boosting and Alzheimer’s Reversing Chocolate Truffles for Blanca, a sick heiress who often went to the detox center whom I longed to cure of her disease, and I packed the truffles in gold-foiled cups inside two shirt boxes, labeled the boxes, tied them with pink ribbons, hid them in a shopping bag, and sailed on the silver bullet, the B train, over the river to Union Square and walked into the detox center to find Little Georg, as he was called to differentiate him from Big Georg, sitting in a leather recliner next to a blue guitar case, and Georg drew his free hand, the one not connected by tube to an IV pole, across the case and said, “Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. I brought my guitar today because I hope I can get Donella Starr to jam with me.”