Bill Harris MD
I took my new manuscript to Nathan Bookbinder the other day.
Nate's the publisher of "Eat Fat and
Grow Thin", "Weight Loss Without Willpower",
and "Sweet Leilani's Gluttons in Paradise Hawaiian Weight
Watchers Diet". For those who fail there's "The Fat
is Beautiful Self-Esteem Support System", by John Doublespeak
Ph.D, and "Fat Pride" by the French obesity activist
Marcel Avoirdupois. Over the years Nate's made fifteen quadrillion
dollars on diet books.
"You've lost weight, Doc," said
Nate as I came through the door. "Cancer?"
"Not true," I said. "I'm
the same as last time but you've gained a bit. Probably makes
me look skinny by comparison."
"What's on your mind, Doc?" asked
Nate. "It's a busy day, we're doing the proofs on Bea Hogg's
'Gorge Yourself to a Slender New You'."
I tossed my book on the table and Nate
read the title: "Kahuna's Guaranteed Get Slim, Stay Slim,
Vegan Food Plan".
He opened the cover and read:
- Eat no foods of animal origin.
- Use no processed, fried or refined foods.
- Pig out on what's left: fruits, vegetables,
grains, seeds, and nuts.
- Exercise a little bit.
"Thats all?" asked Nate, thumbing
through the rest. "I don't get it, one 4 line paragraph and
299 empty pages? The title's longer than the book. "
"I knew you'd never publish a one
page book," I said, "They can doodle in the blanks or
write to their friends. The pages get smaller toward the end so
you can record daily weight."
"No pizazz," said Nate. "Where's
the gimmick? No spinoffs, no vitamins, no tee shirts, no supplements,
no TV residuals. No movie stars!"
"A million copies the first year then
nobody ever does another diet book," I said.
"How am I going to make money?"
"Be honest," I said. " Sell
pencils in the streets."
"How do I know it works?" asked
Nate, his eyes narrowing.
"There aren't any fat vegans,"
I said. "A few who might blow away in a breeze but no fat
ones. Show me a fat man and I'll show you a meateater."
"A vegan's like a vegetarian, right?"
asked Nate."I knew a great fat lump of a vegetarian once."
"Maybe a lacto-vegetarian," I
said. "Cow's milk is hyped as 4% fat by weight but it's 50%
fat by calories.Most cheese is worse. Lacto-veggies can be overweight.
"The dieticians are already on my
back for the stuff I've published before," wailed Nate.
"They should be," I said. "Aside
from that, a typical American scene is fifteen fat people in a
hamburger stand reading handouts from the dieticians. And following
"Fat people," mused Nate. "Those
are a cruel and callous words. Obesity is an intractable predicament.
It's not for laughing."
"It's no predicament," I said.
Diets are a Chinese fire drill. Diets don't work and the fat people
know it, that's why they try a different one every year. They
know the bottom line: if you absorb fewer calories than you burn
you lose weight. Period. First Law of Thermodynamics. They also
know they'll get adequate nutrients and absorb fewer calories
on vegan food; just is they'd rather be boiled in snake oil than
"That's it!" exulted Nate. "They'll
never do it. They'll never do it, snake oil first. I'll never
go out of business, they'll never lose weight, at least not permanently,
I'll have a new diet for 'em every year...Doc, I'll buy your manuscript
and I'll give you fifty bucks."
"Sold," I said. "When does
it hit the bookstores?"
"Who's talking about bookstores?"
said Nate. "I'm gonna lock it in my safe."