Nil by Mouth
I’ve seen Ebert recently and he doesn’t look like the hot-blooded and kinda cantankerous guy that he once was that I watched on Saturday mornings as he argued with Siskel about whose opinion regarding a movie that I’d never end up seeing was better. But he didn’t look bad. He’s older than he was 25 years ago and he’s more frail, and he’s slower for sure. But he didn’t seem like he was miserable and just waiting to die. He was at a movie screening, so he is still able to do at least some of the things he truly enjoys.
But I read his piece about how he doesn’t miss eating. After all he doesn’t have to worry about gaining weight and he’s got more time now to do other things that he enjoys. And he writes about how his memories, some of which are food-related, are coming back with such strong force that he’s overwhelmed by them.
I’m blessed to have my health and the ability to make anything I want to eat (almost, really) but I just can’t fathom how he can lose the ability to eat and not miss it. Eating and food is something I enjoy so much that I just can’t imagine saying, “Oh, well since I don’t have to make dinner I guess I’ll just knit for another hour.” Knitting, sewing, writing, nothing, and I do mean nothing, could replace how much I enjoy eating.
After I read his article last night, I just shook my head repeatedly, completely unsure of how he can be okay with this. And then it dawned on me. He didn’t make his life eating and cooking. He made his life watching movies and writing and talking about them, criticizing and encouraging them. If I found out I could never watch another movie, I’d be sad and feel left out occasionally, but I don’t think I’d miss that nearly as much as I’d miss eating.
So eating is to Ebert, what movie-watching is to me. Which is cool, no? But it is especially interesting, since Ebert is writing a cookbook about rice-cookers.
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