by Chris Moses
(from draft Walden III: An Approach to Disciplined Hedonism)
One practice that can be employed to lower daily food costs is oil drinking. When I was living next to the housing projects in downtown Syracuse in 1993-1994, I used oil for one meal a day- experimenting with both oil breakfasts and oil lunches. I found generic vegetable oil (made of soy or soya oil) to be the best combination of taste and low cost. It was easiest for me to consume the oil as one would consume a quick shot of liqueur and chase it with a full glass of water. I would drink about a º to a 1/3rd cup of oil for a meal- this was about the most oil my body would tolerate. More than this and I would feel or actually become sick to my stomach.1/4 cup vegetable oil contains xxxxx calories, xxxxx grams of saturated fat, xxxxx grams of monosaturated fat, and xxxxx grams of unsaturated fat.
I cannot empirically say whether oil drinking is or is not a physically healthy and sound practice. On the face of it and from my personal experience it was at worst a neutral practice and it would likely compare favorably to the harmful and expensive practice of consuming an equal amount of calories from animal sources (dairy and meat). Overall, I believe oil drinking may be an appropriate part of a diet for the disciplined hedonist who is living on a very low income.
I was a regular oil drinker for about 8 months and only during the weekdays, not he weekends. During this time I saved ~ $200.00 or a bit over $1.00 a day. I plan to avoid a return to this way of getting calories, but should I find myself in the position of having little to no income I may return to it. In 1993/94 I was spending $300.00-$400.00 per month in repairs on my 1986 Ford Escort. This is a seemingly outrageous amount when I think about it now and remember that I was making ~$14k/year (pre-tax) at my full-time group home job. Had I not been required to have a car as a prerequisite for my job, I would have gotten rid of it and done away with oil drinking altogether!
Libraries are the great givers of life and much that is good in life to the disciplined hedonist. Entertainment and knowledge for your mind, heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer for your body. Homeless folks realize the bounty to be had and many of the brightest can be found surfing the internet or sending email at the library. Surely this is no coincidence.
How many books, videos, albums can be taken out over a lifetime? What is the value, monetary or otherwise, of such a resource? How much more pleasant it is to check out a classic movie such as Citizen Kane from the library than to pay to rent Dumb and Dumber from the Video-Mart. And then after discovering that Dumb and Dumber is a movie that really lives up to itís name, I have the privilege of making sure that I donít forget to rush it right back the next day. This pattern of behavior that so many take part in is difficult to understand. Although some libraries lend videos for just three days, many lend for a full week- a policy that solidly fosters the hedonistic lifestyle.
Libraries allow the hedonistic practitioner to have access to the classics, reference, and current periodicals without the burden of buying, storing, maintaining, and hauling these resources about. There exist few protocols that hold the virtue of the interlibrary loan in either the secular or non-secular domains. Rarely rivaled in poetic justice or beauty, it should be used sparingly due to the moderate cost for the library that makes the request.