“Ciao Pussy!” at the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence–built in 1345. It was the only bridge in Florence to escape being blown up in World War II. Cover art work by William Kelley.
In 2015, when Condé Nast Traveler announced the winners of its 27th annual Readers’ Choice Awards of Best Cities in the World, Florence was ranked # 1. Ciao Pussy! is for anyone who enjoys the humor of baffled foreigners adapting to a new culture, and for everyone who has traveled to Florence or Italy—or who dreams of doing so.
We’re all trying to be healthy and extend our lives, which might be the reason why I ended up at the vitamin store. But actually, it was more because I have a friend, Joe, who is 85 years old but looks 60, jogs 9 miles a day and is in incredible shape—and also because my birthday is looming and I panic every time August rolls around.
One day, I asked, “Joe, what vitamins do you take?” The guy is a ball of energy, married to a much younger woman and just generally happy and healthy. So the other day, Joe sent me his list of nutrition advice and daily vitamins and supplements, which begins with a handful of toasted nuts (8-10) and a bite of Baker’s unsweetened 100 percent chocolate (1/4 square) first thing in the morning. So, armed with his list, I finally made it to the vitamin store in the hopes of extending my life and enhancing its quality beyond my impending birthday.
Joe told me that I could easily administer the nutrients on his list with my protein drink in the morning, like he does on arising. So after perusing the shelves and talking to the saleswoman in the store, I ended up spending $187 dollars in Spiru-Tein powder, optimized carnitine and Life Extension’s cruciferous veggie extract, along with the calcium and magnesium that also was recommended by Dr. Oz as an absolute must. When I got home, I had three jars of vitamins and had no idea what they were for—the most expensive being $31.59.
Ironically, my mother is 94 years old and all she takes is one multivitamin a day and the occasional aspirin. This new regimen is much more foreboding, it seems. But there’s no way I’m going to eat broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower all the time, so for now I’ll stick with the cruciferous veggie extract and the daily juices. Wish me luck.
I did it for health reasons—because I am a vegetable-averse person and hoped to knock off a few unsightly pounds in the process. I’ve made it well into my 60s without ingesting anything green except for the more-than-occasional M&M. By the end of week three of daily morning juicing, I’ve gained one pound. Do I feel healthier? Well no, because we have been out socializing every night and drinking wine. But it’s got to be healthy because my body has never seen these vitamins before.
One catastrophe: The Breville instruction book suggested putting a plastic bag in the container that collects the residue from the juicer. So every morning, we carefully wash the parts and leave them to air dry before returning them to the juicer, complete with new plastic bag for tomorrow’s collection. Well, today at the bottom of my drink were what appeared to be spinach leaves that did not juice. On closer examination, when washed off, I saw that they were pieces of plastic. Somehow the plastic bag got sucked into the juicing mechanism and pieces were ground into the drink. I hope I don’t die from that, but if I do, I’ll be healthier than in life.
Today’s juice recipe included the following organic vegetables:
3 stalks of celery
5 stalks kale
2 Granny Smith apples
2 knobs ginger
2 knobs turmeric
1 plastic bag