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Dean Martin sang that and he knew what he was talking about. To put it bluntly, life is a bitch. It leads you on with beguiling innocence, and then clobbers you. You go for a pleasant walk in the park and end up drowning in the pond. My purgatory began innocently enough a couple of days ago, when I visited the doctor for my annual medical check up. Before my legion of admirers have a panic attack, let me hasten to assure them that I have not been diagnosed for cancer, or any of that scary stuff. My blood pressure is up a bit; and my triglyceride count is high. Big deal, I can hear you snort. My point, exactly. It should not have been a big deal, except that I committed the cardinal error of letting my wife tag along. There ought to be a law against doctors; those smug, sadistic cretins. They love to pontificate in somber tones; and the greater the look of terror on the patient’s face, the more satisfied they feel. Mine went on to superciliously expound on the problems with my lifestyle; all the while giving the impression that I owed him undying gratitude: the insufferable prig. Triglycerides, he proclaimed, were increased by alcohol, chocolate and rich desserts – in short, my three favorite food groups. As for the high blood pressure, the culprit was my slow rate of metabolism aggravated, in part, by weight gain. So I’d put on 12 pounds since my last check up: but that hardly made me obese. At 154 pounds, I would still elicit looks of envy from hundreds of overweight Americans. This guy made it sound like the kiss of death. But he was just winding up for the big punch. He asked me about my diet; and when I told him, he started tut-tuting like a Bangkok tuktuk. Junk food was a no no: he recommended wholesome crap like broccoli (don’t make me puke). My eyes widened in horror. Deprive me of pepperoni pizza and you might as well stick a flaming skewer in my side. He had to be kidding me. Then I glanced at my wife and knew my fate was sealed. The little woman was lapping all this up. Her eyes gleamed and a silent I-told-you-so hovered around her lips. As a grand finale, the marauding medic threw in this little tidbit. The magic bullet for metabolism is fiber, says he: and what better source than Kellogg’s All Bran. All Bran? That’s old peoples’ food, for Chrissake. I may be 62 in body, but only 26 in spirit. Doesn’t that count for anything? Apparently not to that killjoy. Normally, of course, I would have treated all this hogwash with the contempt it deserved; but thanks to my foolish lapse, I was in at the deep end. Wives are like elephants. They never forget. Mine is happily making up grocery lists of the most disgusting tripe you can imagine: okra, soy – need I go on? So here I sit, a shattered hulk of my former magnificence; pondering a bleak and desolate future without pizza and chocolate and Rocky Road and all that stuff that makes life worth living. If you can find it in your hearts, shed a tear for me.