Tragedy Plus Time: The Scoop

Tragedy Plus Time: When Bad Things Happen to Funny People
by Kate Tellers

For most of us Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a month and a half of consumption without borders.  The ham belongs on the latke that’s dipped in eggnog and chased with a flaming shot of Jack Daniels.  And then we sleep, attempt to make a living, party like it’s 1999 until we’re awoken by the harsh light of 2011 only to drag ourselves into NYSC and fight to make right with an elliptical.

Recently, though, I was convinced by a certain fitness magazine to spend a month with a personal trainer and nutritionist in a fitness makeover.  The first week of this spanned the beginning of the holiday season.  They had a hard deadline to make, and free things are my kryptonite.  Plus, there was promise of a photo shoot with professional hair/make-up/craft services and the idea of having my re-worked self looking fit and fabulous in a magazine just a few months after a break up was too much for me to resist.  So even though I’ve never met a triangle of brie I didn’t bite, I done signed myself up.

Prior to my work with these “lifestyle professionals,” I provided them with a glut of information on my diet and exercise habits.  They can be boiled down as such:

THINGS I HAVE: hunger and plans

THINGS I DO NOT HAVE: time, money, patience or a working kitchen

Day 1

Nutritionist suggests that I purchase and carve a chicken for dinner.  This seems awfully frontier to me, specifically since I lack the knives with which to slice the bird.  I purchase and eat a grilled chicken wrap and consider Day 1 a victory.  I am one day closer to my close-up.

Day 2

Nutritionist suggests that my late afternoon snack consist of “20 almonds.”  I lack the patience to count 20 of anything and instead consume exactly one tin of mixed nuts from a holiday basket the office got in the mail.  1<20.  I am mad good at this.

Day 3

Nutritionist suggests “1 cup berries” with dinner.  I take mine fermented and make it a double.  Dieting is not so bad.

Day 4

Nutritionist suggests “2 slices low fat cheese (Kraft 2% singles)” as part of my morning snack, which differ from the “½ cup low fat cottage cheese” I am to have in the afternoon, which is a departure from the “1 low fat string cheese” that I was to eat yesterday or the “3oz mozzarella” I am slated to eat tomorrow.  Furthermore, none of these products can be found at “coffeebeernewspaperlottosandwiches” where I’ve been shopping thus far, so I continue my practice of discreetly biting around the mold on the square of Trader Joe’s cheddar I found in the back of the office fridge.

I also reprise the cups of berries.

Day 5

Nutritionist suggests “Wheat bagel scooped w/ 1 Tbsp low fat cream cheese” (again with the lowfat cheeses).  Like a Smiley Cyrus cover of a Streisand classic, throwing away the insides of a perfectly good New York bagel offends my recently crunched and planked core.  I do not scoop.  I will not scoop.  The bagel is alright.

I also calculate that, at this point, I’ve spent close to $50 on nutritionist’s obsessively curated salads.  I realize that I’ll never be able to sustain this lifestyle and cross the street for a piece of pizza  WITH MUSHROOMS WHICH ARE A VEGETABLE.

Day 6

Before I head out of town for Thanksgiving I’m convinced to hit the berries with my colleagues.  We’re out late enough that I’m unable to track down the “6oz grilled salmon” that I am to have for dinner, so I accept one reveler’s offer to share calamari.  Salmon eat squid.  I’m merely cutting out the middle-man and adding a panko crust.

Day 7


My nutritionist told me to “just be reasonable” but I am some one who “just needs rules” around my sister’s cooking, specifically her mashed potatoes. I wake up the next morning with a cat sleeping on my head, the sheet music from “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” next to my futon, and a piece of pumpkin pie which has spilled off of the plate and onto the carpet.

Which means good news!  I did not eat the whole pie!

Days 7- 30

The rest of the diet continues with limited success.  Ultimately much of what the nutritionist suggested was at very least impractical, and in some instances downright inane, but when I went spirit of the law instead of letter of the law on her meal plan, I think I probably did my body good.

As for the photo shoot, we shot the week after my Thanksgiving unraveling.  It was neither a before nor an after, it just was an awkwardly posed photo in a magazine that a couple of people saw.

The most important thing about this challenge is what I learned.   I’ll never scoop out a bagel.  Ever.  That is and always will be BAD.

Kate Tellers is a writer/performer/director/producer currently at work on the cabaret “I Sing Dead People,” “Disco Balls” (director) and on-going projects with The Moth.

Follow Kate on twitter @katadudle


About Kate

Kate Tellers is a writer, director and performer whose recent projects include Gravid Water (actor) at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and the Charleston Comedy Festival premiere of Disco Balls (director). She sings with the band, Lavalier, and lives in Brooklyn where she's recently mastered the art of baking home made soft pretzels.
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2 Responses to Tragedy Plus Time: The Scoop

  1. Lindsay says:

    Kate… you crack me up. I am now following you on twitter.

    and I love your writing. Oh, and I subscribe to that magazine you were in. One day, your sister was at my apartment. She sat on my couch and promptly picked up the magazine from the coffee table and said “Oh, my sister is in this issue”. I had already read it cover to cover. So I’m one of the handful of people 🙂

  2. Mary says:

    Hilarious. Also, I love getting to see the actual photo after reading the post and how thrilled you look with your makeover.

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