I get approached by a lot of PR people who want me to write about their product or service, and I almost always say no. But when I saw the cover image for this diet book, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
Let me say this first about The Drunk Diet: How I Lost 40 Pounds…Wasted, by Lüc Carl (St. Martin’s Press, March 2012): I couldn’t put it down. I laughed out loud reading it. I recited entire paragraphs to my family. It was the funniest book I’ve read in months.
Ok, so it’s not technically a humor book but rather a mash up memoir/diet plan. But if “bar manager, author, long-distance runner, musician, personal trainer, semiprofessional bowler, and Sirius XM Radio DJ” (and also Lady Gaga’s ex) Lüc Carl is anything, he’s a pragmatist. When a diet guru’s advice for holiday eating is “Strap on your seatbelt and f’ing pray!” you know he’s not going to mind that I recommend this as a humor book. He just wants me to recommend it.
Here’s the back story: a kid from Nebraska grows up thinking canned fruit with whipped cream is a health food, gets a drum kit, grows his hair out, opens a case of Bud and adds an umlaut u to his name. For some period of time Carl seems to feel he was caught in a John Hughes movie, wherein the oft-derided “rich kids from Connecticut” are bested by him and his lowbrow buddies using hand-me down instruments in Battle of the Bands that I thought only existed in Hollywood scriptwriter fever dreams.
Eventually he makes his way to NYC in a battered van full of Rock N Rollers and turns to eating and booze for comfort, at some point earning the nickname Heavy Metal Taco Guy. When at some point he realizes that he is a fat slob who has been reduced to wearing Size 11 women’s jeans (what? He only wears women’s jeans! DEAL WITH IT!) he pulls himself up by the laces of his unlaced Bro sneakers and achieves his goal of becoming The Sexiest Man on the Planet, all without giving up his boozy lifestyle. While the cover shot of a grown man wearing zebra tights tucked into tube socks may not scream Sexiest Man Alive to you, no matter – he tells us repeatedly in the book that he is IT. And he’s down to a Size 5 at Forever21, so thankyouverymuch.
How do we know he is a serious Rock N’ Roller? PURPLE. All the photos in the book are given the same purple filter treatment, even the one of his mom wearing a leather biker jacket and swigging from a bottle of Jameson.
How can you not love a music memoir that includes a section on healthiest eats for the severely hungover? (No hash browns!) Or a diet book that includes long passages on guys named Dirt Bag and Mexico (because, I mean, he’s Mexican. Carl will not tolerate pretentious, even if he does occasionally drink “a wine” with pinky finger extended to impress the ladies.)
Speaking of pretentious, The Drunk Diet will disabuse you of the notion that you need a fancy gym membership, alongside a bunch of rich kids from Connecticut, in order to work out. As demonstrated in many purple photos, you just need a flat surface…like a bar. Carl demonstrates his abs routine atop his bar, still dressed in the zebra tights and tube socks. (Note to any readers who may find themselves at St. Jerome’s in NYC for a drink – you may want to tuck a pack of Wet Wipes into your purse for a quick cleanup. God only knows where he did his inner thigh work.)
Carl sprinkles the F bomb around like the book is a bowl of popcorn and the F word is the salt that he so strenuously recommends you avoid. He likes that word so much, in fact, that the sidebars delving deeper into nutrition and exercise are titled: “What the F- is Omega 3?” “What the F- is a Plateau?” “What the F- is Whey Protein?” In the section on best alcoholic drinks to sustain the buzz without widening the waist, a table of healthy choices is labeled “Drink This, F- That.”
It’s tempting to give up on Carl as that guy from high school who you only ever spied through the window of the detention room door, for instance when he is providing a back-of-the-envelope treatise on human evolution and body type that ends with “Well, maybe not a cheetah, but whatever.” But then every 32 pages or so, he turns around and says something genius, like pointing out the cozy relationship between the FDA and companies that produce aspartame, and links it to skyrocketing diabetes rates in the U.S. The passages on how hard it was to give up cigarettes and (shhh, don’t tell) cut back on the booze are hearfelt and honest. And he never once disparages Gaga, proof that a gentleman lurks somewhere underneath the hair that takes him an hour to style each day.
Do not count this man out, is my point.
But truly, it’s the deadpan writing that makes Lüc “Heavy Metal Taco Guy” Carl worth the read. The section on him being bit by a squirrel at the beginning of a bar shift that he just can’t leave early, instructing his employees what do if they see him foaming at the mouth, and the ensuing hospital hijinks actually ends with this : “Okay, I’ll admit it: That story doesn’t really have shit to do with dieting or exercise.”
Who cares? It’s funny. F- the story arc, as Carl might say, this f’ing story needs to be shared! Rock 'N Roll!!!!