We have yet to talk about one genre in particular. Comedy. Because the purpose of a comedy is primarily to entertain, that can mean a sacrifice of storytelling in favor of the jokes. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great comedies with both solid story structure and hilarious moments. Some that come to mind are When Harry Met Sally, Kindergarten Cop, and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Regardless of the genre, the Supreme Ordeal is the ultimate test, where the hero faces the central crisis of the story (not necessarily the climax). The hero changes either physically or mentally or both as a result of failure. It could be the failure of a mission, the loss of a relationship or ally, or facing his ultimate fears.
In comedies, we frequently see this played out as some sort of lie that the hero’s been keeping finally revealed to the other characters. In When Harry Met Sally, this culminates when Harry and Sally finally sleep together, and they end up drifting apart as a result. The lie Harry told himself and Sally that things would be different between the two of them rears its ugly head. In Kindergarten Cop, Schwarzenegger’s cover is blown as the family who trusted him feels betrayed and runs into the very danger he was trying to prevent. And lastly, Mrs. Doubtfire reveals Robin William’s character Daniel has been dressing up as an old woman to take care of his three children unbeknownst to their mother and does so on her birthday as they are out to eat along with her new boyfriend in a hilarious and raunchy scene where it all goes wrong for everyone involved.
I’d like to illustrate to you, dear reader, my own Supreme Ordeal, where I can honestly say I’ve changed a bit in response to my failure. I also must be honest with you and myself. My supreme order and my failure in facing it begins with a trip to Hardee’s and ends in a food coma.
The second day into my thirty-day juice fast, my wife and I needed to run errands in Bismarck, primarily, and ironically enough, for fresh fruits and veggies. I needed to restock. That also meant that I needed to refuel. I was hungry. Well, my wife decided, because this was my choice, not her’s (she reminds me constantly), that she wanted to eat at Hardee’s. It was at that moment when I realized during my past 12 days of eating one meal of solid food a day, I had yet to eat a burger. And now I was going to go another 30 days without a burger? I had to have been mad, I thought. So I came to the conclusion that one burger wouldn’t hurt, even though I had technically already began my juice fast. I wasn’t thinking about anything but a monster thickburger at Hardee’s. The idea consumed me. So I vowed to consume a monster thickburger in response, like someone who listens to a song that’s been stuck in their heads just to get it out of their mind.
It was delicious, albeit luke-warm at best by the time we’d gotten home to her parent’s place since we couldn’t eat and drive. The bun was soft, the mayonnaise was evenly applied, the bacon was plentiful, and the meat was charbroiled to perfection, all 2/3rds pound of juicy cow. And the curly fries were crispy and spiraled like a slinky.
After I ate all of my food, I resigned myself to the recliner, put my feet up, and laid back as the food took over my body like how the Blob envelopes its victims. And since you are what you eat, I became a big blob on the chair. Going from a juice fast, to one solid meal a day, to finally 2,000 calories in one meal took it’s toll on my body. Even though I had felt full in the past, stuffed to the point where unbuttoning my pants still didn’t relieve my bloat, this was somehow different.
As I reemerged from my food coma, due to my wife’s repeated insistence that it was time to go home, I realized two things: 1) don’t do that again, and 2) something that I need to work on as I eventually finish this juice fast and continue to solid foods again is portion control, making sure my eyes aren’t bigger than my stomach.
Whether it’s eating multiple bowls of cereal anytime of day, putting large pieces of cake into a bowl with some milk, finishing whole containers of left overs because I don’t want them to go to waste, taking seconds or thirds for supper, or dining out and succumbing to all the food choices, these options to fill my stomach to a state of fullness need to cease. I need to find alternative, healthier ways to achieve that guttural satisfaction.
So, as I continue on my journey, I know that I need to look towards healthier, and equally as tasty options to prepare for myself and also my family, if they will venture to try something new too. Healthy doesn’t mean starved. And this juice fast is not permanent. It’s about being able to discipline myself for my convictions. Also, I can eat all these healthier foods that I’ve come to acquire a taste for, when previously most veggies turned me off. The secret seems to be finding a variety of healthy foods to eat and not feel fatigued enough for a slight breeze to knock you over but also solid enough around the middle that you feel you’d sink to the bottom of the nearest lake or ocean.
Just like Jonah in the belly of the beast, my decisions, although poor, have led me to new and clearer understanding that I can apply going forward on my journey. And thanks, as always, for joining me dear reader. I hope I’ve entertained you as well as I swallowed my way through the Supreme Ordeal.