Nothing can top Diet Dew and Bugles

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

For my money, there's no afternoon pick-me-up as good as a Diet Mountain Dew and a bag of Bugles corn snacks.

You know that lull around 3 p.m., when your lunchtime soup and salad is long gone, the gap until dinner is yawning before you, and you long to be a part of the Latin American culture that still insists on siestas? Alas, you are a WASP, with no interesting cultural anomalies to speak of, and 3 p.m. is expected to be the most productive part of your day. There would be zero tolerance should your boss happen by to find you face down on your keyboard, on your computer screen, the last site you went to in an attempt to energize yourself.

Diet Mountain Dew and Bugles. Trust me.

Seriously, there are more healthful snacks, and I'm determined to remember to bring them with me to work.

Many a day have I "forgotten" the little plastic bags of baby carrots and apple slices meant for snack time.

I'll remember them next week, though. Scout's honor.

But this week, I'm still on the vending machines. So imagine my horror when I stood there with Dew in hand, put in my hard-earned 70 cents for my crispy nuggets of heaven and then watched the bag stall at the end of the spiral dispenser.

I looked around the employee lounge. Empty. I gave the machine a little shake.

It didn't budge, bolted to the wall. Probably because some other employee like me managed to pull it over on herself.

I tried again, much harder. Still nothing.

And then I noticed a slender, blonde co-worker next to me. She tentatively held out 70 cents.

"Um, I've got some change here if you want to give it another try," she said.

Imagine the scene. Gigantic, red-headed, red-faced woman trying to shake some carbs and fat off the wall. Tiny, fit blonde offering to help.

I wanted to die.

"No, but thank you," I said. "I guess this is God telling me I don't need Bugles. Heh, heh. Thanks anyway."

I haven't found the courage to go back into that lounge again. Now I spend my 3 p.m. lull in a smaller break room that just has a coffee pot, a refrigerator and a sink. I can fill my water cup in there.

And sometimes people leave free snacks on the counter.

Have you been seeing all this nonsense about stripping classes and strip aerobics? Carmen Electra showing you how to lose weight while being a ho? In case you've missed it or don't believe me, here's part of an article by Richard L. Eldredge of Cox News Service: "Inside the seductively lit Cheetah Lounge in Midtown Atlanta, house music thumps hypnotically. ...

"Dozens of women on two glowing red runway stages smile provocatively as music videos flash on two large screens behind them. ... Finally, some shuck their tops along with their inhibitions. ... For $25 a pop, the 36 women, including four girlfriends, a real estate attorney and two socialites, are students in the club's inaugural 'Catwalk: How to Move Like a Cheetah Girl' class."

The article went on to say that stripper poles for home are selling on the Internet like hotcakes.

I am trying to imagine what it would take for me to go to one of these classes and install a stripper pole in my home. I'm thinking drugs. Lots of drugs. But to each her own.

Heidi Hall is the former managing editor of the Southeast Missourian who now lives in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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