Jewish World Review Dec. 26, 2002 / 21 Teves, 5763

Barry Lank

Barry Lank
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Consumer Reports

It's too much work to look young | I've tried many ways to appear younger - not with diet or exercise, of course; mostly by acting immature and dressing the same way I did in high school. But now a book has shown me the grueling work required for looking fresh.

It is called " The Perricone Prescription Personal Journal - Your Total Body and Face Rejuvenation Daybook", by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, published by HarperCollins. Somebody left it at my desk, along with some mouthwash and fresh socks. In the very first line of the introduction, Perricone says, "I am very pleased that you've taken a serious interest in the Perricone Prescription." Yes, he's glad to reach me specifically; there have been complaints.

If I understand the book correctly, all you need in order to look younger are a focus and commitment that make the Heavens Gate cult look like a dog park. Every morning, you exercise for 20 minutes then rub yourself with Alpha Lipoic Acid Nutritive Cleanser, facial toner, firming activator, two kinds of eye-area therapy, lip plumber, finishing moisturizer and body toning lotion. Then you go through all that stuff again at bedtime, along with restorative cream. Your skin will glow because, of course, you will be more or less constantly wet.

Next, you spend all day buying and preparing what the book recommends for your diet. It takes work. You can't just drop by a diner for the prescribed afternoon snack in the 24th day of the program, and say, "I'll have six ounces of plain whole milk yogurt, four hazelnuts and a kiwi."

You'll eat almost no starches, of course, but you will have salmon: broiled salmon, smoked salmon, salmon salad. You have salmon nine times in the first week alone, making you look as young as all those other people who constantly eat salmon - mainly, overweight Scandinavians and old Jewish women.

At the end of the day, you meditate and answer questions in the day book about what your skin looks like, how your body feels, how your mind is working and "three things I appreciated in my life today." Here are samples from my journal:

Day 6. Breakfast requires a 2-inch wedge of honeydew melon, but I will not eat honeydew again until Day 16. The rest of the melon is already turning liquid. Also, lunch includes precisely half an apple. In the days ahead, I am to eat other apples, but not half an apple. That leaves me with the spare half, which stares at me.

Notes about my skin

  • Pore size - thought it was 6 inches when stretched, until I realized I accidentally measured my mouth.
  • Firmness of jawline - not good, pushing in leaves a dent.

    Three things I appreciated today
    1. I'm not in eighth grade anymore and my soccer teammates don't throw their shoes at me when I miss a point.
    2. I never have to learn French if I don't want to.
    3. Stalin is dead.

    Day 16. Time for that next slice of honeydew. I almost ate the other half of the apple, but was afraid Perricone would blow up my car for revenge.

    Notes about my skin

  • To my surprise, I turn out to be Caucasian.
  • Firmness of jawline - hard, clenched, must be pried open by firefighters.

    Three things I appreciated today
    1. Newton's Third Law of Motion. Without it, stuff would be flying everywhere.
    2. Now that I don't have any starches, I appreciate how they used to make me feel like I'd actually eaten something.
    3. I would kill anybody you wanted, as long as you paid me in waffles.

    Day 34. I can finally eat the other half of the apple! Unfortunately, some of the seeds have sprouted. So I'm eating mostly wood.

    Notes about my skin

  • All my wrinkles are gone! Oh wait, there they are, on my chest.

    Mental condition

  • Mood is lifted. Everyone is great. My boss said I keep arriving to work two hours late, I do nothing but eat and that "When you come back tomorrow, your card key won't work." He is a groovy person.

    Three things I appreciated today
    1. Suicide would solve everything.
    2. My life is ruined and I've still got 50 more days of the program.
    3. I was able to fit the rest of that honeydew into my neighbor's mailbox.

    JWR contributor Barry Lank is an editorial writer and humor columnist based at the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ. Comment by clicking here.

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    © 2002, Barry Lank