Don’t listen to naysayers

Faye Harris

Doesn’t it have to be terrible when one must resort to sounding like a horse in order to be listened to?
Now, there are all sorts of people (me included) who give advice freely and who take it seldomly. It seems like the minute we hear someone else offer their expert opinion about everything from diets and exercise to finances, our mind switches channels.
And, while we hear a lot of static, our brain is busy searching, seeking something more to our liking.
Why just the other day a good friend asked me to go with her to hear a lady named “Svelt.” Honest! I went with her, trying to be as good a friend as she is.
Svelt was sweet as she explained in minute detail how she came to live up to her name--low carbs, then few carbs, and on and on she went, explaining her svelte figure.
This speaker freely shared her secrets to diet success with the audience:
Do not eat carbs. They turn into excess weight the instant they enter one’s mouth.
Do not drink pop or other sugary drinks (ditto the same advice as her first “nay”). Do not sit around the house eating until you are actually fat enough to “sit around a house.”
Fat doesn’t just make the heart grow fonder, it really makes the heart grow fatter.
(It was at this point in the lady’s list of “don’t-do’s” that I quit listening. After all, sandwiches, made with thick slices of bread, are one of my favorite things. However in some sort of defense, I do use whole wheat bread. And pop? I just don’t care for it!)
“And that,” I finally heard our speaker say as she wrapped up the evening’s speech, “is the way you, too, can become svelte.”
As Mary (my friend) and I finally began to find our way out of the auditorium, who should be standing at the door but Svelt. She was shaking hands much as one’s pastor does as they leave his daily briefing. However, I was quick to note that the very book from which she took her “sermon” was now for sale at a nearby table.
“Svelt,” I asked, wanting to be personable and seeking an exclamation to her evening’s message, “exactly how many of those terrible pounds did you lose while adhering so strictly to your diet?”
“Twenty-five,” came her answer in a very low voice.
“Twenty-five?” I asked. “I can lose that much by not carrying my purse full of change. Why, my son picked it up the other day and used it for a weight while he was exercising.”
“Yes, but,” our hostess of the evening was quick to answer, “I’ve kept it off for four years.”
Suddenly, my evening’s companion and I were pushed out of the way by a rather nice-looking older gentleman. He didn’t excuse himself, but instead grabbed Svelt’s hand and in a low voice asked her, “Are you free for a nice steak dinner after you’re finished here?”
Svelt, giving the gentleman an appreciative and sexy look, whispered back, “With all the trimmings?”
It was then that several ladies within earshot of this exchange turned back to the sales table and asked for their money back.
“But why?” asked the salesman. “You haven’t even tried the diet.”
“Because, if she can eat like that, maybe she’s going to need the book herself!” was the verbal answer. Plus several other ladies nodded their approval.
And, with money in hand, the woman turned away in a huff.
I smiled at Mary. “Maybe if she keeps walking like that,” I said, “she won’t need the book anyway. I understand brisk walking is great exercise.”
And my friend, always eager to discuss the evening’s events, asked, “How about a cup of coffee?”
Since it sounded like a good idea, I agreed.

We were securely ensconced in our booth, enjoying our thick shake, when who should walk into the eatery but Svelt and her gentleman companion. “Two burger baskets,” was his order. “I’ll have a Coke and the lady will have water.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. The steak the man had earlier mentioned had been reduced to the cost of a burger--and what about the no carbs rule?
Mary gave another of her silly giggles. “You didn’t buy a book so they had to resort to a cheaper cut of meat,” she informed me.
“Well,” I laughed, “I never have cared for fiction.”
And, to our credit, we did try to leave before they noticed our being there--no need to embarrass anyone. After all, her speech hadn’t mentioned anything about even the “greats” cheating once in a while.
Plus, as the gentleman put Svelt’s burger-basket before her, I noticed she did bow her head in prayer.

(Columnist Faye Harris may b e reached via email at