2014-05-10 / Editorials & Letters

Lighten up: ‘Soup in the hair beats a hair in the soup’

By Dawn Weber

Thanks to a diet of Really Depressing Food, I recently lost a bunch of weight.

I know, I know – nobody wants to hear about my diet/exercise plan unless I’ve choked on some tofu or fallen off the treadmill. But I tell you this because I was a little confused and shocked about how it happened at first. I’ve been dieting and exercising pretty much since puberty. With a few short-lived exceptions, I’ve never had much success.

So I sat down and thought about it and finally put two and two together, and I came to the conclusion that the weight loss resulted from my diet of Depressing Food and Really Bad Beer. You’ll have to read about the Really Bad Beer part of the equation in my upcoming book, but I can tell you all about the Depressing Food:

Soup.

And more soup. Soup for lunch, soup for dinner, soup all the time. A gott-dang liquid diet. Apparently, I’m 80.

My disappointing, old-lady meal plan happened by accident. I started bringing Progresso Italian Wedding soup into work for lunch each day, because it’s very good. And no – Progresso isn’t paying me to tell you that. Although they should.

You can trust me when I say it’s good wedding soup, because I grew up in greater Youngstown, Ohio. My DNA may say I’m a pasty little German woman, but sometimes, I’m pretty sure I have Italian in me.

Oh wait - he’s German, too.

But my point, and I had one here, is that thanks to the mother lodes of incredible cuisine I grew up enjoying with my Italian friends and their old-country grannies, I know good food when I taste it. And even though it’s canned, this stuff is fantastic. Since it’s relatively low fat and high in protein, I started bringing it to the office and eating it in my soul-killing cubicle for lunch. I work so late that I eat dinner there, too. What do I have? Exactly. More soup.

I wanted some variety, and eventually began eating other kinds in addition to the wedding soup. But still, it’s always the same thing: another day, another meal, another exciting can of soup. For a year and a half.

That’s when it started to get depressing. Because although I like the stuff, I will admit it’s become disheartening that I eat it all the dang time. I suppose I could change things up and bring in other foods - sandwiches, salads, those crappy little Budget Barf frozen dinners – but buying and fixing new things would require some planning, and as a rule, I’m against planning. I avoid planning whenever possible.

So, even though it’s dismal, soup it is. And while slurping my 309,873rd bowl the other day, I glanced down to find I had a guest for lunch – my hair. Yes, my bangs are so long that they hung from my head directly into the chicken broth, where the strands mingled languidly with the spinach, noodles and meatballs. I’ve needed a haircut for a while, but in typical senior-citizen fashion, I can’t seem to remember to call and make an appointment. The only day I ever seem to think about calling the salon is on Monday. And when is the salon closed?

Monday.

I suppose I could try a little harder to get an appointment for a haircut, but again, that requires planning. See comment re: avoiding planning, above.

Back to the day of the sloppy strands. I stood up and lurched to the restroom, trying not to drip on my clothing, then bent over the sink and attempted to rinse lunch from my hair. But without shampoo, I really couldn’t quite get all the food out. I went about the rest of my day at the office with brothy bangs.

And later that afternoon, eating my usual liquid dinner in front of the computer, guess what happened?

Yep.

I lurched to the bathroom, again, trying not to drip soup on my clothing, again, and attempted to rinse pasta and spinach off my head.

Again.

With my cranium under the faucet, I wondered what was saddest about the situation: A) The fact that I can’t remember to get a haircut; B) The fact that I eat the same thing twice a day, every day; or C) The fact that I’m under 85 and there was actual soup in my actual hair.

I stood up, looked in the mirror, and all of a sudden, there in my darkest, most geriatric hour, I had an epiphany. I became inspired to create something.

That’s right. I wrote a song about it. Wanna hear it? Here it go:

“Soup in my hair, soup in my hair,

Lookin’ like a fool with some soup in my hair.”

I finished singing my little song, then I smiled the smile of the mentally ill.

And I kept grinning. Because as my eyes traveled further down my reflection, I saw something I hadn’t seen in years:

Pants that actually fit.

No, I decided, even with a twice-basted coif, things weren’t so bad.

Soup in the hair beats a hair in the soup.

Anyway, what can I say?

Soup happens.

Our national award winning columnist has been preoccupied with her soup diet and her forthcoming book. She is a Brownsville wife and working mother of two teenagers.

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