Whenever I eat out, I find it necessary to add the disclaimer that I can’t eat gluten and that my food should be kept separate from anything that contains it, so as to prevent any traumatically explosive bowel movements. Nearly every time, I am asked the same infuriating question: “Oh, are you gluten-free by choice?” followed by the equally appalling, “How wonderful for you!” Or, “I bet you feel like a million bucks!” To answer that question right here and now, no I am not gluten-free by choice—I have celiac disease, and so the suggestion of removing any wheat, barley, malt or otherwise delicious foodstuffs from one’s diet voluntarily is for me akin to what it might be like for Gary Busey to be asked if he chose to have an abnormally large mouth.
For those who don’t know, celiac disease is not an allergy like lactose intolerance; I don’t have a magical pill I can take every day to cure me of my ailment for 24 hours. I’m stuck with it for life. It’s not a fad I can discard like a cigarette butt or a thrift-store sweater, all you hipster choicers. I was stricken with the load, like Atlas, the weight of all those who indulge in a glutinous lifestyle upon my emaciated rice-grain shoulders. I will not allow you Judases to martyr yourself upon a cross of kale, you and your self-righteous vegan cupcakes nailed to your Instagram crucifixes with the paper bolts of self-inflicted suffering. The Gods struck me with my affliction—and now there is no turning back.
Sometimes I reminisce about my pre-celiac days—yes, there were such days, days filled with fluffy asiago crusts and moist pastries instead of cheese melted on cardboard and tiny frosted stones. You false undertakers of the struggle can return to the world of glutinous pleasures whenever your willpower deteriorates. You claim to act for the benefit of your health, but really the only thing you are healing is your ego. I believe I speak for all celiacs when I say that, in the words of Holden Caulfield, we’re sick and tired of you phonies! Carve out a piece of cake, twirl a bundle of luscious spaghetti around your forks, tear into a flaking baguette, and tell me you want to go back to the life we few true sufferers endure. Get down off your crosses and leave us with our interminable envy. Just go into another room if you’re eating pizza. We miss that the most.