The Miracle of




Has anyone else tried that sugar substitute, "Splenda?"

With me being on a diet for the past few weeks, Roxanne decided to buy some. I've used it twice now -- first a couple teaspoons on a bowl of Grapenuts, and again as the sweetener in some so-called dietetic ice cream.

Let me tell you something, folks, calling the results of eating Splenda "having gas" is like calling the Space Shuttle an airplane. (Well, it would be like calling it an airplane if the damn thing could fly.)

It's like calling a stick of dynamite a "party popper." (No, wait. In the crowd I party with, high explosives are the party poppers of choice.)

Nevermind, fitting comparison eludes. Let's get down to issues.

Although I suspected Splenda the first time it happened, I didn't have enough empirical data to blame the artificial sweetener. The second time, however, removed all doubts, as well as most of the wallpaper. I sat on the couch and burned holes through the cushions. I cleared all the dustbunnies from under the sofas and beds throughout my own house, as well as the one next door. Roxanne went around turning off pilot lights and electrical appliances for safety reasons.

My home lifted off its foundation like Dorothy's in The Wizard of Oz. I could have stuck my ass through a window and flown the thing to Dallas, playing a spirited rendition of The Lonely Bull that would have made Herb Alpert eat his own heart.

Smoke alarms went off six houses down, and windows rattled the next county over. Some poor fellow downtown lit a cigar and his head exploded, burning down the hardware store, the flower shop, and the newspaper office (which is probably why you haven't read about this before now.)

My bottle of Beano melted in the medicine cabinet like the nuclear core at Chernobyl. Average global temperatures warmed four degrees, the polar ice cap broke into pieces the size of New Jersey, and numerous islands in the South Pacific disappeared beneath the waves.

Under some mountain in Montana, lights flashed, alarms sounded, and the nation went to Defcon Three. Strange lights can still be seen in the sky over most of North Arkansas. When paratroopers landed to quarantine our little town, the excuse they used was "anthrax," because the truth was so much scarier.

Sugar, my dog, is no longer my best friend -- I no longer have a best friend, or any friends at all, for that matter. I must have the ceilings repainted, the roof reshingled, and the siding replaced. Everything in the garden is dead, dead, dead.

Now, I've eaten beans and I've eaten cabbage and I've chased it all down with sour beer, but I've never been turned into a human wind tunnel like happened with Splenda. So being the curious sort, I'd really like to know: Is it just me and my particular metabolism?

For research purposes, I think you all should try it. Eat some Splenda, then we'll take a survey. We can get T-shirts printed up, and later, much later, we'll have ourselves a big laugh.

Meanwhile, looks like I gotta go. There are guys pounding on the front door -- what's left of it -- flashing Homeland Security credentials, and apparently I'm supposed to come out with my hands over my head.

They will probably take me away, closed up in the back of their big, black, government sedan with the tinted windows. Totally helpless.

Closed up in the back.


Sorry, that image in my head makes me laugh, and I just can't stop.

P.S. A sidebar to the intestinal gas story:


My daughter called after our granddaughter, Jaden, returned home from visiting us for a couple of weeks. She told me she'd been giving the 3-year-old a bath when the little scamp pooted in the tub, blowing bubbles in the bathwater.

Jaden looked up at her mom with a rascally twinkle in her eye and stated matter-of-factly, "Doggy did that."

"Where did she learn that, Dad?" my daughter demanded, "We don't have a dog."


Ted A. Thompson

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