I want to be Oliver Sacks.
January 26, 2013
“He reached into the pocket of his sports jacket and produced a Japanese fan – the first of several startling objects to emerge from there, so that I came to think of the coat as having magic pockets.”
It wasn’t that line from a Wired article that made me want to be Oliver Sacks. Well, like Oliver Sacks, really.
It’s that today I had the sudden impulse to begin simplifying and planing all of my food consumption. Like, scheduling exactly what I will eat and at what time. And as I was typing this schedule up, I remembered the quirky neurologist who eats the same thing. Every day. And has, for many years. 1/2 a gallon of soy milk, prune juice, sardines, tabbouleh, 7 apples, 7 oranges – “I am very greedy and impulsive, so I have to have a rule.” Strangely, though I listened to this story a few years ago, I actually had 7 apples, 7 pears on my newly organized weekly shopping list. (Just to clarify, I will not be eating sardines and prune juice).
Oliver says he never gets bored with his daily food – he claims he “enjoys it with equal relish every time.” Additionally, each day he goes to a nearby chocolate store and gets exactly one dollar’s worth of broken 72% chocolate.
He has been doing this for years. Once he accidentally got 22 pounds of kidneys rather than 2 pounds; too shy to point it out, he took the 22 pounds of “palpitating kidneys” home, and ended up eating kidneys for 10 days straight, before vomiting uncontrollably and never eating kidneys again.
To listen to the fascinating Oliver Sacks clip on Radiolab – one of my favorite podcasts of all time – click here. (It’s a clip from episode about Choice, when a lot is too much).
Have you ever heard that Einstein would wear the same clothes so as not to use up precious mental energy on the mundane and unimportant decision of what to wear? Well, Oliver has similar motivations.
Making choices is draining, and scientist have found that too many choices actually make us MORE unhappy than too few choices.
I notice that I’ve generally heard about men doing this kind of thing – perhaps it’s a form of mild Autism… the founder of Facebook wears the same clothing every day too. And Steve Jobs did, before he exited the planet.
So, here’s what I’m going to try eating for this week:
6am: Hot water + lemon
8am: 1 apple + 3 dates + 10 almonds + 1 spoon chwanprash
1pm: Kitcharee (½ cup mung, ½ cup basmati) with squash & carrots
3:30: 1 apple or pear + 3 dates or figs
6:30pm: Leftover kitcharee + asparagus
I haven’t done a challenge (or a cleanse) in a long time. We’ll see how it goes!
To read the Wired interview from whence the opening sentence about the fan and magical coat was taken, click here.