“Something happened,” I told my wife. She is a veteran who watches me try to fix my body. I told her: Where before my brain was screaming, screaming on a cushion of air, there was suddenly silence. It was confusing. Will it continue?
That evening I went alone to a Chinese restaurant, an old one with tables, and ordered General Tso. I ate broccoli, a few pieces of chicken and thought: too gloomy. I left it unfinished, went home confused, another lunatic. I walked past the wine cellars and shrugged. In the office, I watched the stack of candy and treats with little interest.
Decades of struggle – poof. Apparently, the Munjaro molecule targets the same hormone as Ozempic, plus a second hormone, so it not only stimulates insulin production, it also boosts energy production.
“I urgently need,” I thought, “an analog synthesizer.” Something to fill the silence where food used to be. Every night for several weeks I spent four to five hours spinning Moog knobs. Don’t play music. It just hums and loops and hums. I needed something to fixate on, something to watch YouTube videos about. I needed something to fail every night to feel normal. And I was also manic, unbalanced, wide-eyed, sleeping five hours a night, running and walking, talking with an onslaught; my friends, happy for me but confused, called me “cocaine Paul.” I bought more synths from a guy on Craigslist when I met him in Bushwick, Brooklyn with a lot of cash. The body is not designed to drop 25 pounds in eight weeks, starting with the holidays. Sound signal. Boop.
With relief comes new worries. What if it stops working and I slip back into the valley of endless noise? In addition, these drugs are difficult to obtain, both because of supply chain problems and because they are prescribed off-label for weight loss rather than for diabetes. I can’t get a permanent prescription from a pharmacy. I develop a diet plan, starting with an injection every seven days and ending with an injection every eight or nine days to create a reserve.
I can see my anxiety reflected in the wave of reactions that are starting to emerge – articles, TV spots, people explaining why it’s actually good that the vast majority of those who take this drug are losing a quarter of their weight. In social networks, fat men note that our life was worthy without this drug. The wave of opinions will not reach its climax for many years to come.
And rightly so, because it’s new – not only the cure, but the whole idea of the cure. There is no API or software to download, but it is a technology that will change the order of society nonetheless. I was the living embodiment of the deadly sin of gluttony, judged as greedy and weak since the age of 10, and now that sin has been washed away. Baptism by injection. But I have no more virtue than a few months ago. I just prefer broccoli over fatty chicken. Who am I?
How long will it take until they are vaccinated against your appetites, your vices? Maybe they are not as noticeable as mine. Would you self-administer your weekly anti-greed shot? Can Big Pharma cure your laziness, lust, anger, envy, pride? Is this how humanity fixes climate change – by introducing harmony instead of hoping for it in Davos? Of course, my carbon footprint is much smaller these days. Will we get together with our smartest scientists, study hormonal pathways, and finally create a cure for billionaires?
When the domain name for my diet blog expired, I recognized that there was no technology that could change my biological response to feeling full. Now there is, and the part of me that kept track of every meal, looked for solutions in applications and programs, wrote code and took notes, is outdated. Was this time wasted? God, yes. But I learned a lot – about nutrition, about exercise, about myself. All of these lessons are good to apply now, without the panic of self-destructive hunger.
Lately, I’ve finally become less manic. I am still losing weight, but much more slowly. Do more. At night I play with my synthesizers and watch online music theory classes. With headphones on, remembering all those years of futile effort. As I fiddle with my pens, I am sometimes angry, sometimes ashamed, and often grateful. I do not know how long this post-appetite era will last and how it will end. Just once again in our life everything has changed.