Ever hear of The Medusa? No, I’m not talking about The Gorgon. Imagine a heart-warming story of human nobility and survival against the odds. Well, The Medusa is the opposite of that.
The Raft of the Medusa (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Once upon a time, a ship named The Medusa got shipwrecked about 30 miles from shore. The captain and officers then boarded lifeboats, crammed 147 survivors on a raft and started towing the raft to shore. After a while, they cut the raft loose and went on without them.
The raft had plenty of booze, so you can imagine what happened. People got drunk and fought. The first night, 20 people died by fighting or suicide. By the 4th day only 67 people were left alive. That’s when the cannibalism started.
That’s right, it took a grand total of 4 days to descend into cannibalism.
Long story short, when the raft was found fifteen days later, only 15 people out of the original 147 were found alive.
When I read this I was shocked. 4 days to cannibalism? I could do better! Why, I WOULD do better. I immediately contacted my friends to inform them of my intent. My rules were simple:
- I would not eat anything for 4 days.
- I would maintain my regular level of activity (including working and exercising).
- I could consume low calorie/calorie free drinks.
- I could not consume any human flesh during this period.
Admittedly, I had a few advantages. I wasn’t floating in a raft, I knew what my future held, and I wasn’t fighting for my life every night — unless you count fending off emotionally co-dependent cats.
Additionally, I had a secret weapon in humanity’s finest achievement: Jolt Ultra.
Jolt Ultra — or salvation in a can as I like to call it — was a staple in what passed for my diet. I loved this stuff so much that when they finally stopped making it, I tried writing a poem to mourn it’s loss. Sadly, a lack of talent prevented me from completing it. But I digress.
Here is an outline of my experiences. This happened a while ago, so I may be off on the details…
Day 1. This was pretty easy since I was a chronic meal skipper anyway. I got hungry, but not overly so.
Day 2. The hunger got worse.
Day 3. The hunger stopped, replaced by a hollow feeling inside. I found myself becoming serene, probably because giving a crap required energy. I coined a term for this: Starvation Induced Serenity Syndrome, or SISSY for short.
Day 4. Still no hunger. I biked to a park to meet some friends and played frisbee. Or rather tried. I stopped when I had a massive dizzy spell and nearly fainted. My friends then suggested that we go to a restaurant so I could watch them eat. Proving that a lack of food didn’t impair my judgment, I agreed and sipped a diet coke while they ate. Amazingly, I wasn’t tempted by the food.
Day 5: Midnight. I was in bed, rolled over and felt serious chest pains. Since I had already hit my mark, I called the same friends to meet me at a fast food place. Once there, I ordered a few sandwiches, a few fries and a drink. Then I saw the kid’s meal included a toy, so I ordered that as well. Once I got the food, I refused to descend upon it — I was a man, not a beast! Instead, I played with the kid’s toy for a bit, then finally turned my attention to the typically (for me) sized meal.
Day 6: Sadly, no vomiting, diarrhea or other ill effects. A rather underwhelming end to this experiment.
There you have it. Feeling satisfied that I was not a cannibal, I could look people in the eye and hold my head up high. For a while anyway.