Imagine being told that you had an allergy to beer. Imagine being told that you shouldn’t eat Weetabix. No Marmite. No bread. No milk. Imagine someone told you all these things at once, and then told you to pay them 45 quid for the privilege.
My allergies were revealed to me on Thursday. Sure, I can live without moo-juice – I mean, even school kids know that milk sucks. If it’s not good enough for Schwarzenegger, it’s not good enough for me. Indeed, I’ve long been a fan of the Arnold ethos, “…Milk is for babies… you have to drink beer,” though no matter how much beer I drink, I still can’t lift heavy things. But now I’m told that quitting milk is not enough. I’ve been told that beer is no good for me either.
So, on the one hand, I may never become a supersized anabolic athlete, as I have to switch from lager to wine, and from bitter to vodka. Arnold never mentioned wine and vodka in his bodybulding movie. But on the other hand, if I stop eating bread and other wheat based products, I may escape from the shackles of allergy, and become all that I could be. (My words, not those of the allergy tester) I could develop special powers, explode into a new epoch of well-being. To be honest, I only really went to have allergy tests out of curiousity, not because I thought I was unwell. But maybe in a year’s time with no posionous foods, I will understand how well I wasn’t. I can just imagine my future testimonial in capital letters and bold font face on some allergy testing ad-mercial or info-vert.
I’m not sure how I’m going to manage without mustard though. English mustard is one of my closest mealtime friends. The little yellow jar is my consort, and often gives me advice from the fridge on how to accessorize my meals. I tried to imagine a life of ascetism as I left the testing centre, imagining a life without mustard, without fishfinger sandwiches. A life, indeed, without any sandwiches. I was overcome with grief. I bought a sandwich and ate it as I tried to picture my new allergy-free life. The sandwich tasted much better than the picture.