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Tall Skinny Bald Man

[Listen to an audio version of this blog HERE.]

I’ve been eating a lot of pudding lately. The sugar-free kind, since that seems better. But it’s probably not, what with the aspartame and modified corn starch and yellow dye 6 and disodium phosphate and calcium sulfate and something called Phenylalanine, God knows what that is. I whisk the pudding powder into coconut milk and wait for it to harden. Wait like a good girl, a quiet girl, a patient girl. Wait like a well-behaved statue, calculate how many calories are in the pudding (25 in the powder, 70 with the milk, per serving, there are six).

Calculate the calories in order to remain skinny, like an attractive girl, a girl who knows men look at her, and likes it, a girl accustomed to men licking their lips and stroking their dicks and hiding behind their shame. I’ve been eating a lot of pudding lately, and it’s not so bad really, aside from the aspartame and modified corn starch and yellow dye 6 and disodium phosphate and calcium sulfate and something called Phenylalanine. Sometimes, pudding is all I eat between breakfast and bedtime, and that pleases me, endlessly, because it feels naughty, like a bad girl, a mis-behaved girl, a girl who breaks rules on the sly and never brags because this naughty girl has also learned the value of silence.

There was a murder case on the nightly news; a tall skinny bald man stabbed his neighbor like a real psychopath, and hid the body in his garage, wrapped in a tarp, next to his lawnmower and Range Rover and kid’s bicycle. This tall skinny bald man wore white ankle socks and read the newspaper and voted in local elections and sat on the PTA and sometimes, ate chip mint ice cream late at night while watching the news and wondered how small his life had become. By then the murder was basically done because his neighbor always let the dog run on the lawn and the tall skinny bald man grew mad, and angry, and irate, and snapped.

He could have maybe gotten away with it too, but he had to go and brag about it, and maybe he shouldn’t have murdered his neighbor, but he definitely shouldn’t have said a damn thing. That’s the problem with psychopaths. They don’t know how to be good, and just a little bit naughty. They have to be mostly naughty, and just a little bit good by outing themselves.

The sugar-free pudding fit neatly into my calorie-counting calculations Monday-Friday, and even Saturday and Sunday, because I’m a good girl who’s just a little bit naughty, but who knows how to have fun, right? But not tell anyone about it, because that’s some attention I don’t need, not like tall skinny bald man.

"My mother raised me right," I tell my dietitian, as I explain why I can’t tell her what I’ve been eating. It’s enough, I add my calories up, and show her the math to prove it. Dietitians are always women, I think. I wonder why, so I ask her.

“You’re always a woman,” I say, and she laughs.

“Who’s always a woman?”

“You, dietitians. It’s not bad, it just is.”

And just like that, she is distracted. It’s funny how easy it is to distract the people who are supposed to help me, I just turn their attention on them, and humans are so narcissistic we’re most distracted by ourselves, even though we should know ourselves better than a sidewalk knows feet, but what do I know. I’m writing about me, which seems to be the most narcissistic tendency of all, since nobody loves this as much as I do, and probably, no one will read it. Plus, I’ve been good and naughty in equal amounts and neither one really mattered so long as the rest of the world was distracted.

“Women are more likely dietitians,” she said, “because we’re socialized to care more about our bodies than men. And, we like to help people.”

Tall skinny bald man liked to help people too, or at least, that’s what he said on the news. He said his neighbor was the bane of the cul de sac, everyone got mad at him and his dog, but no one had the guts to do anything about it, and that’s why tall skinny bald man snapped, he finally did something about it.

I thought, maybe tall skinny bald man should have been a dietitian, so he could have helped people in more constructive ways. Or maybe, he could have killed something smaller, like a spider, and just really relished the small kill and maybe told everyone, and no one would care because we measure the value of life based on size, it seems, and semantics.

If tall skinny bald man were a dietitian, I would tell him about the pudding, and he would probably understand, and would laugh, and offer to bring some nice vanilla packets to our next appointment, and I wouldn’t have to write about it.


Sarah Rose

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