Thomas Wictor

The chimp in my spoon Meniere’s Diet

The chimp in my spoon Meniere’s Diet

I finally caught the bastard.

He appears only at night, and only when the spoon is in a bowl that’s filled with water and set in precisely the right spot in the sink. I noticed him a few weeks ago. After I eat cereal, I fill the bowl with water and put it in the sink to let it soak. I eat so slowly that when I’m finished, the bowl has a layer of dried cereal-cement around the top part.

What I’m doing right now is eating only cereal and vegetables. When Dad began dying and required round-the-clock care, it was impossible to stick to my Meniere’s diet because fresh food requires so much preparation. I can’t eat anything with a label or from a restaurant or fast-food oulet. Two kinds of cereal and mixed vegetables are the only exceptions.

Falling off the Meniere’s diet made all sorts of mental and physical hell break loose. I became a shambles. The trauma of Dad’s illness and death, the aftermath of same, and Mom’s illness turned my shamblesation all the way up to eleven. If a family is troubled, the death of one or both parents makes everything worse. So we’ve all been through the mill since January 16, 2013, the day both my parents got their cancer diagnoses.

I’ve gradually regained control of my life. The hardest thing to do during this period was stopping my online fights with crazy people. It was my last self-indulgence. Those are always the toughest to give up. You rationalize continuing the addiction:

“I don’t smoke or drink or do drugs or eat fatty foods anymore. I exercise every day. Why can’t I taunt deranged, hate-filled losers?”

Well, because it makes me a deranged, hate-filled loser. Duh.

But I’m done. Today I went to the Website I’d haunted for a couple of years and saw some really, really choice targets; not only did I refrain from posting, it was easy. I didn’t even want to do it anymore. It feels great to be free of that final, very bad lifestyle choice. So hopefully I can un-shambles myself permanently. Mom’s illness hasn’t been as indescribably horrible as Dad’s. There isn’t much that can knock me off my moorings again, God willing.

But I had to catch the chimp.

Not “catch” in terms of imprisoning him. I just had to record one of his visitations. For posterity. I mean, how many of us have chimps in their kitchens at night?

He didn’t appear in the daytime. I put the water-filled bowl and spoon in the sink when the sun was up: zip. So I tried taking photos of him after dark, but he hid in the flash. All I got were images of a spoon in a bowl of water.

I turned off the flash and positioned myself in exactly the right place, so that I wouldn’t block out the overhead lights. When you shoot without a flash, the slightest movement will blur the photo. So I had to brace my elbows on either side of the sink and hold my breath.


I could see the son of a bitch, but he would not appear in my photos. He was right there, out in the open, yet somehow—even with braced elbows and no flash—he eluded me.

Always with that smug smile.

Suddenly, I got it. The camera had to held in front of me, pointed straight down. I couldn’t look through the viewfinder. Instead, I had to stand away from the sink so that I couldn’t actually see him. I had to trust that he’d be there, where I thought he’d be, even though I had no proof. It was intuition, a leap of faith that I was right.

And it paid off. Behold the chimp in my spoon.


Tim thinks he’s a flaming chimp. I see him as wearing a crown. Ablaze or king, he’s right there, precisely the way I saw him. I caught him perfectly, despite the nearly insurmountable odds and the avalanche of variables that I couldn’t anticipate.

And then I let him go.