Dave Barry

The class-conscious diet

(This classic Dave Barry column was originally published Oct. 12, 2003)

My favorite part of The New York Times (motto: ''No Longer Making Things Up, As Far As We Know'') is a weekly section that reports on things that trendy New Yorkers are doing. This section is called Sunday Styles, because it would be rude to come right out and call it Rich Twits on Parade.

For example, Sunday Styles recently had a feature about the problems faced by New Yorkers who leave their dogs at their Hampton homes during the week, when they (the New Yorkers) reside at their Manhattan homes. You people who are fortunate enough not to have homes in both Manhattan and the Hamptons have NO IDEA what these people go through.'' You worry about dogs in these situations,'' states one woman, who pays a person to stay with her dogs, Sparkle and Puccini. There's a photo of the dogs lounging by the pool of the woman's East Hampton home, which according to the Times is (''after 9/11'') stocked with several weeks of dog supplies, including ''filtered water, beef chews and of course a small supply of Xanax.'' Of course.

Another dog-owner has his ''staff of four'' arrange Hampton ''play dates'' for his dogs and the dogs of his socialite friends. I could go on, but I suspect you are already close to heaving your Wheaties.

Which brings us to another recent Sunday Styles feature, concerning another trend: not eating. I don't mean dieting. I mean not eating any solid food at all, for as long as 30 days. People do this to lose weight, of course, but they also claim that it purifies their bodies, and makes them feel energetic and positive. Then they go to the Hamptons and eat their dogs.

Just kidding! But I am not kidding about this: There's a place in California, called the We Care Spa, which bills itself as ''a holistic fasting retreat,'' and which charges guests up to $3,484 A WEEK. Yes! To starve! (To be fair and balanced, I should point out that the guests also receive enemas.)

I don't know about you, but when I see misguided individuals spending large sums of money -- money that could be used to feed the hungry -- on New Age Wacko self-abuse, my reaction, as a humanitarian, is: How can I cash in on this?

So I had an idea. It's a weight-loss concept that will enable regular people -- people who can't spend thousands of dollars to go to a spa and not eat -- to not eat right in their own homes. It's called ``The Perpetual Class Reunion Weight Loss Plan.''

I got this idea from my wife, who recently had her 20-year high-school class reunion, and ate basically nothing for the entire month preceding it. When we got to the reunion, it was clear that the other women also had worked very hard to get back to the size they were in high school. Whereas some of the men had expanded to the actual size of the high school.

So the Perpetual Class Reunion Weight Loss Plan is not for guys. But I bet it would be very effective for women. The way it would work is, you'd pay a fee, in return for which the Plan would organize a reunion of your high-school class EVERY WEEKEND. In addition to never eating again, you'd enjoy countless other benefits:

1. You would get really, really good at doing The Electric Slide.

2. Your spouse would want a divorce.

The list just goes on and on!

For the record, I enjoyed my wife's reunion, especially hearing people reminisce about the fun times they had in high school. At one point, I was talking with one of my wife's female classmates, who said: 'You see those two women over there? I had a class with them, and every day they wrote down what I wore. If I wore an outfit I'd worn before, they'd yell, 'REPEAT! REPEAT!' "

''You're kidding,'' I said.

''Nope,'' she said.

''At least you're not bitter,'' I said.

''I'm gonna go tell them I remember,'' she said.

And she did. She marched over to the two women, while her husband and I marched off to the bar, which is where spouses tend to gather at reunions.

But getting back to my point: I think the Perpetual Class Reunion Weight Loss Plan will be a huge hit. What I need now is start-up capital. So if you're a rich person, send me a check, OK? Do it soon! Don't make me angry. Because I know where your dog lives.

(c) Dave Barry

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