"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it"
To prevent the proliferation of malaria, the forward thinking French administered the quirky green spirit, Absinthe, to their troops. It was the catalyst that led to the explosion in popularity of this green mystical alcoholic beverage throughout France. Cross pollinated by the soldiers throughout the social classes, it was at the turn of the century being imbibed by a large portion of the French drinking population.
Somber critics called out the Green Fairy as a drink which "makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant....". A perfect slogan to give it a nudge into the hearts and minds of its ever growing inebriated fan base.
A renowned French psychologist went so far as to list Absinthe's numerous side effects including hallucinogenic tendencies, which immediately resulted in bohemians, writers and artists latching onto the drink as their panacea of choice incorporating its wondrous affects into their artistic endeavours. As the bans came in, art fueled by the chugging of Absinthe in large quantities, weaved its way into the public psyche surrounding the green neon liquid with a supernatural aura.
If enough people believe something is magic, then is it not magic?
In my latest quest of athletic glory and general well being, I have continued searching for the magic bullet, and often think about the cult beliefs woven by this elixir. The cobbled road towards the fountain of youth and the search for my very own Absinthe was never meant to be easy. Similar to the French from 100 years ago, I admit falling repeatedly for the snake-oils sold by these salesmen in the pursuit of enlightenment and health. Dodgy fad diets, powdered supplements and slippery sweet liquids all tried and tested in the pursuit of excellence.
We are all so very gullible, it recently occurred to me, swallowing any marketing gobbledygook pill placed in the palms of our sweaty hands. We rarely probe deeper than the make-up on the high cheek bones of the models advertising their anecdotal evidence of perfection. If they are good looking, then the beans must be magic, we repeat to the sorry figure in the mirror.
|All hail the Kale! - The real magic.|
The list of conjurors' tricks I have since burnt is long. In my mind, the embers are still warm bearing the names of the marketing miscreants who do the bait and switch with the elegance of gypsies under candled lanterns. Wisps of all the bait with which I have at some time or another been hooked (Red Bull, Dr Atkins, Paleo, Multi-Vitamins, Sunny-D, low-this-high-that, and anything with the word "energy", "lite" or "fortified" in it) smoulder as the horizon clears. With the information elicited from my failed exploits, catalogued neatly under the titles of "Enlightenment" or "Stroking the Id", I've created my own mystery go-go juice. My own Kool Aid.
And for you my good friend, I am prepared to share this new killer recipe for which I will not charge a cent. Strings you ask? No strings.
On Saturday, at the behest of Coach Keeto, I picked up a beetroot salad and mini fruit salad from Fruit and Veg. Washing the salad dressing off the beetroot, I slotted both salads into a large container and flipped the blender's kill switch. The result? A concoction with the consistency of custard, the glow of neon ruby red phosphorescence, and of questionable palatability.
|Start your engines!|
There is anecdotal evidence that it works too. On Sunday I raced the Prestige Ultra - a poor man's Half Ironman. The result? A new personal best, 3rd place in my age group and R500 in prize money. I've never won prize money in a race. Ever. Sometimes I get an extra firm handshake from a mayoral candidate or a buy-one-get-one-free coupon to a Punch and Judy matinee performance. But never money.
What was it then that triggered this new found success? Was it the piece of pizza, the smarties or the bite sized Chomp swallowed during the bike ride? Maybe it was the elastics holding my bike shoes to my bike in the starting pen? Maybe the baby powder sprinkled in my shoes? Or maybe the walk-run pacing I employed during the triathlon's run segment?
Bah humbug! All that other stuff helps - sure. But I've always done that and never once hit the jackpot. Here I try out my new natural rocket fuel and a day later I hit the money. Stuff the swindling salesmen I decree. Sing it to the mountain sister because I have found my vice, my Absinthe, and she's a sweet pink siren filling the belly with jet fuel and a flaming fury, and if you're brave enough, if you call out to her, she'll let you in. Her name? "The Pink Fairy". And if your gut can handle it and your mind believes, she'll take a hold of you and maybe, just maybe, she'll take you to where you need to go.