Nat Goodale: Eating Disorder

Posted:  Friday, December 5, 2014 - 8:15am

In this season of celebration, we often find ourselves indulging a bit more than usual. Nat Goodale shares a story of his recent food indulgence and his own "eating disorder.”

I've got an eating disorder, know what I mean? Of course you don't, but stay with me here. I'm sitting on the sofa in the kitchen, like six in the morning and the wife has got the ice box open, takes out a tub of yogurt and sets it on the counter, pops the lid. I'm deep into this good book. Jack, my terrorist dog, is leaning hard on my leg, fast asleep. You get the picture – home-fire bliss, kids still got a half hour before the wake up drama, all quiet on the eastern front.

So she turns on me, brittle, harsh words spit out between those fangs, dripping venom. "Did you eat the cream off the top of the yogurt?"

"What?" I'm still half in the book. What the hell?

"The top cream, did you eat it?"

I got a small recollection of the thought that, hey, this is good stuff, late at night, me slicing the soup spoon sideways along the surface of the yogurt, squeezing a trail of honey on the top, sliding it into my mouth and letting it sluice down my throat, tickling the taste receptors on my tongue.

But hey, now I'm like, where did this attitude come from? I might need to get to the emergency room, have the stab wounds stitched up, she comes on any stronger. She's right on track.


"I had some yogurt last night." Now I'm like, I don't deserve this! And I'm drawing into myself real quick, getting freaking angry, thinking "back off."

She comes on stronger. "And you didn't mix the top in with the rest?" She's aghast with incredulity.

I'm getting really short now. I can lash out with my own sword play, let me tell you. But, from past experience, I know it's best to seethe in silent fury, no eye contact, she isn't worth it. And then, we all know, if I've got an eating disorder, it still pales to my anger issues. Injustice does that to me, and I can get volcanic.

I manage to spit this out: "I didn't see any instructions on the stuff. What? It has to be turned over? Then put a post-it on the top."

I retreat into my book and silent rage fills the kitchen from two sources. Jack is sound asleep on my leg. He should be up and growling at this assault on his master. Damned dog, where is he when you need him?

And I know, can't you see, that this little episode – the yogurt incident – is just going to be added to past indiscretions. I can count them on two hands - the school oranges, pizza for the kid's lunch, the box of granola put back in the cupboard with a thimble full of crushed cookie dust in a corner of the cellophane.

The food in my ice box is too good to eat, don't touch it. And if hunger calls, then for God's sake don't eat what I am not supposed to eat, what am I thinking?! Never the good stuff, leave it alone.

I'm thinking I just about got the woman's talk down pat, all meaning between the lines. "If you have to ask what I mean, then you don't care about me." You know what I mean. And now this! I need a freaking guide book, maybe a GPS, whenever I get the urge to open the damned ice box door!

I get it, whatever. So what if I have an eating disorder? I think I'm going to write a book – the disorder diet.

I got the kids out of bed then took some meat out of the freezer. The roast thawed faster than the marital iceberg.

My ten year old daughter thinks we need two ice boxes, their food and then what I'm allowed to eat.

Nat GoodaleNat Goodale is the author of the highly acclaimed novel, Vacationland. His second novel, Once Upon a Nightmare, is coming out in mid-December. He was a 40-year resident of Waldo County, and now splits his time between Cuenca, Ecuador, and Jupiter, Fla.

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Kathrin Seitz teaches Method Writing in Rockport, New York City and Florida. She can be reached at Cheryl Durbas is a freelance personal assistant in the Midcoast area. She can be reached at