ISSUE 83

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 Welcome to Hunger Management, a safe place to talk about wanting to kneecap someone with a crowbar when you’re hungry. Some call this feeling “hanger.” Others call it five o’clock, and the goddamn rice is taking too long.
 When do you need help? If people know not to be around when you’re hungry, this is a sign. They refer to you as “the beast,” as in “we must feed the beast, or else he rips out a light fixture,” or “I locked the beast out of the house and threw a deer carcass out the window for her to feast on.”
 Maybe you hear stories about monks taking week-long fasts and can’t understand why the police don’t have to be called within the first few hours. And when you watch a grisly murder case on Dateline, you know the reason. The husband took too long bringing back the pizza, and by god, he had to pay.   
 It’s okay. Feel free to share your experiences with staring at a fridge and realizing that ketchup is the only thing separating you from an empty fridge… and inconsolable loneliness. We are all dealing with our hunger demons, the ones that rattle around our stomach and threaten to pick apart our lives with the chopsticks of craving.  
 Here at Hunger Management, we’re going to suggest different coping mechanisms and strategies to stop you before the dog has to cower in the corner. If you feel close to a hunger meltdown, there are always dense fibrous vegetables in the back.
  Ready? All right. Let’s get into this.  
 The first rule is: Always bring food. The second is similar: Never don’t bring food. Humanity has made lots of items to carry sustenance with, like backpacks, satchels, black trash bags, purses, fanny packs, suitcases… All of them can hold nourishment to keep you out of prison. Maybe wear cargo pants and fill your pockets with boiled eggs. Or pack a purse with a couple of raw steaks. Or have a suitcase filled with Jolly Ranchers.  
 Avoid restaurants or places that take too long to make food—like Subway, a café in an art museum, or any place that uses more than four words to describe the food. You don’t want a dish dealing with an existential crisis, you want something solid, something settlers packed for a six-month trip across the west and could double as a hammer to nail in some stakes. They pulled this food out of a canvas sack and were reminded of everyone they left behind and why they left them.  
 Another place to stay away from is a dinner party hosted by someone who has a piece of toast at seven in the morning and doesn’t eat anything for the rest of the day. If they’ve never eaten their leather belt to get through a graduation ceremony, they just don’t understand.
 They might put “refreshments provided” on the invitation, which means foods anorexics eat to prove to their doctor they’re trying. If you have to go to this get-together, consume something thick and gluey beforehand, a food you could use to paste up wallpaper or cement the hole in the driveway. Friends will ask how you’re doing so well when it’s six thirty, and it’s two hours until dinner, and you’ll say, “Because my stomach is dealing with the repercussions of eating thirty grams of fiber.”
 If you do find yourself without food, alone, with the panicky, sweating hands of a fat guy at a donut shop, there are several things you can do. First, calm yourself. Second, ascertain what food sources may be closest to you. Is there a mother around who might have fruit snacks in her purse? Could you dig for worms somewhere?
 Many things are classified as “inedible” that can be eaten if you try hard enough: the rubber on your shoes, fake plants, dead squirrels, hot dogs. Some chew gum to push through. To take this to the next level, try swallowing all the gum you can until it builds up into an indigestible reservoir, like a giant rubber band ball in your stomach.
 Remember, you will survive this hunger, and your responsibility is to make sure everyone else does too. Your evolutionary mind may be saying, “I’m going to die” when your rational mind should be saying, “I’m going to die eventually… but probably not now.”    
   
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