SUGAR AND DEMONS: A SCIENTIST’S FIELD NOTES
While changing my thirteen month old son’s diaper, he begins to spin around and around on the bed at an extremely fast pace and giggles loudly to himself, like a madman. This is not his usual behavior.
I decide to investigate.
After spending all night breaking down the circumstances that led to my son’s bizarre behavior as well as pouring through numerous scientific journals on-line, I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities: 1) he ate too many Dannon Children’s Yogurts right before I changed him, thus consuming a high amount of sugar. Or 2) demonic possession.
I continue my investigation by pursing my second hypothesis: that my son is possessed by an apparently very, very silly demon.
After a bit of research on possession I discover the following:
Historically, Christianity has taught us that Satan and his minions of demons move about the world attempting to torment and destroy humans. The Christian Scriptures contains dozens of passages that describe the belief that demons can possess a human being and cause them to behave strangely. A large part of the Gospel message concerns Jesus’ healing ministry of exorcism. He is described as having cured numerous sick people by removing demons from their body, including in one notable moment, transferring a thousand demonic spirits from a person to a herd of pigs.
My research ends, however, when I am unable to identify any demons that are specifically silly.
I am, again, changing my son’s diaper, when he starts to spin and giggle insanely. I notice that the top-edge of his diaper is sprinkled with cookie crumbs. I briefly entertain the concept of sugar being the source of his bizarre behavior. But, I am pretty sure that the seemingly incoherent babble he is emitting is Latin spoken backwards. I am not too clear on this as I flunked out of Latin in high school and took Spanish instead.
I decide to try a little exorcism and see what effect it will have. I gather a cross that my wife keeps in her bedroom dresser, a copy of the Bible that we use to prop up a window, and a glass of water that I was drinking. I ask Jesus to bless the water and consider it holy.
I am forced to abandon my experiment when my wife walks in and asks me what the hell I am doing. She grabs the cross from my son’s forehead, picks up the pieces of the Bible that he tore up and grabs a towel to wipe up the holy water that I poured over him. She mentions my needing help. I counter with a clear articulation of the possibility of demonic possession. I ask her if she is specifically aware of any silly demons. She walks out with our son.
I am disappointed as I was pretty sure that my son had begun to speak Latin forwards as he ripped out pages of the Bible.
After returning from a couple’s counseling session with my wife, I abandon my first hypothesis and pursue a new one: my son ate too much sugar.
In my research on sugar, I find:
Sugar or sucrose, is a carbohydrate that is present naturally in fruits and vegetables. All plants use a natural process called photosynthesis to turn sunlight into the nourishment they need for growth.
Sugar is a carbohydrate. The body’s primary source of energy is from carbohydrates. All vital organs—brain, heart, liver—need carbohydrates to meet their energy demands. Carbohydrates, including sugar, also play key roles in muscle function, growth and regulation of body temperature.
I am not sure where to go with this information, so I take a break to watch The Exorcist.
I have an idea for a next step. But, since my wife won’t leave me alone for too long with our son, I decide that I will test my new hypothesis on myself. I head to the grocery store where I buy twenty-five bags of Pepperidge Farms Double Chocolate Milanos, a gallon of whole milk and ten bags of sugar.
While my wife and son are out for the day, I begin to consume all twenty-five bags of cookies. Before eating each cookie, I dip it in milk and then into a bag of sugar. I am not sure of the amount of sugar my son ingested, but I assume that I need to exceed it due to my larger body-weight.
When I am done with the cookies I eat the rest of the sugar, just to cover all bases.
Man, what have I been missing! Sugar is so, so friggin’ excellent! It is the elixir of the gods, the Holy Grail, pure Heaven in granular form. I feel like Superman. I can’t fly but, man, I’ve managed to mow the lawn, paint the garage and catch the bats that live in the attic – all in one hour. I can’t stop grinding my teeth, but so what, sugar comes in liquid form anyway. Soda is manna.
Faster, faster…I find that I, too, now enjoy spinning around on my back on the floor, laughing like a maniac…faster, faster, faster…I guess I confirmed my hypothesis.
More sugar…screw this science-stuff, who the hell can concentrate on all of the details. I’m quitting. Need to find more sugar.
Hold it, I think my wife is calling an exorcist.
Maybe he can bring some more milanos.
(Originally published on October 26, 2005)