First real run-in with Crocodile last night. Made a thick hamburger patty liberally washed with Worcestershire sauce, and ate an enormous salad. I can't really have been hungry, in the sense of needing nourishment: I had already eaten a huge burger and salad, just two hours before. But Crocodile wanted ice cream, or donuts, or cake, or even just bread – anything packed tight with carbs. He wanted that feeling of a bomb of nutrients going off at once, of the sugar flooding the system, of energy washing through every cell. He was restless and snappish.
“You're not really hungry,” I told him. “You just think you are. If you were really hungry, any old food would appeal to you.”
Crocodile eyed me coldly. “I'm hungry,” he said, and his tail whipped back and forth like an irritated cat's.
“You can have all the salad you want,” I pointed out. “with all the unsugared salad dressing you want. I'll open a can of tuna for you and you can scarf the whole thing, with mayonnaise, if you want. I'll scramble you some eggs, or fry you another hamburger. See? There's plenty to eat.”
“I'm hungry,” said Crocodile.
I tried to check in, to identify the feeling. I speculated about nutrients I might actually be short on. I really didn't think there could be any. Crocodile wasn't interested in this investigation at all. He wanted ice cream. Failing that, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Images of the foods he wanted flooded the system. He knew exactly where all the treats were squirreled away, and what they were.
“Let's go upstairs!” I said brightly. “Monkey will show you things on the internet!”
We got through, somehow. But we won't get through many evenings like that. So I set Monkey to worrying through what went wrong. He presented his three points, this morning.
“First of all,” he said, “we put off lunch till way late. Because we were waiting for the checks to process at the Foundation, remember? So we actually went from breakfast to dinner time without food. So our blood sugar started swinging.” Monkey loves the image of the blood sugar swinging: he pictures it like a huge weight, a pendulum, swooshing through the air.
“Second of all,” he went on, “we ate those little tiny candies the cleaning crew leaves in the offices, remember? Little bangs of sugar? So that will have added to the swing.”
“And third, we had . . .” his voice lowers to a tragic whisper “. . . ketchup on that lunch hamburger. And thousand island dressing on the salad. That's sugar.”
“It's not very much sugar,” I said, skeptically. Monkey raised his eyebrows, laid his hands on his belly, and looked wise.
“There's sugar in the Worcestershire sauce too, I suppose,” I said. Monkey frowned at that. He likes Worcestershire sauce, a lot, and he didn't like this turn to the conversation.
“But anyway, the first point is well taken. We'll have to be especially careful on Fridays, to eat lunch in plenty of time.” Monkey was on board with that. Eating lunch early is fun. Everybody's out on the street, in the summer: there's so many things to watch!