Diacteticus insanias

RANGE: Health food stores, juice bars, guru ranches, Buddah camps, slimnasiums, vegetariums, macrobiotic discount outlets, mucus-free dinner theaters, high-fiber swap meets, organic tofu hatcheries, biodegradable potthrowing encounter groups, human potential nude rug-hooking bees, holistic urinary retention seminars, and homeopathic open-air write-your-ownceremony closed-bag funerals.
HABITS: Elf Alpha is the nagging voice which tells you that if it tastes this good, it must be bad for you—and that if it tastes this bad, it must be good for you. Frequently, he enters your home—and your life—hidden away in a harmless looking bottle of Flintstones One-A-Day Vitamins. Before you know it, you are scouring the beach for iron-rich seaweed, browsing on cottage cheese mold, and sipping clotted ewes’ milk, in the naive and blasphemous belief that such a vile and wretched diet will enable you to live forever. He promises to improve, restore or initiate your love life, if you will only quit smoking, eat ditch weed salads, and learn to wiggle your ears. He suggests applications of yak excrement for receding hair, bat guano as a breath freshener, and daily total immersion in a tub of parsnip juice, after which you can throw those unnecessary eyeglasses away!
HISTORY: Elf Alpha is descended from that legendary American folk hero, Johnny Appleseed. But while his famous ancestor planted a delicious, nourishing, and natural food source across the continent, Elf Alpha has arranged for the nationwide importation, distribution, and ingestion of viletasting “organic” vittles scorned and despised even by the third-worlders who cultivate them. His closest living (if you can call it living) relative is the odious Mung Goblin. Elf Alpha has most recently been living (and working) in Southern California, in harmony with the Sweat-sylphs, Passing Fancies, and (intermittently) the West Ghost.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: A victim of Elf Alpha’s malpractice exhibits such ghastly and glaring symptoms that he is as hard to miss as a leper on the swim team: eyeballs the color of saffron, complexion like stale tofu, blackstrap molasses breath, a body hairless as a tortoise egg, and limbs as thick and sturdy as dandelion shoots. Look to the victim’s withered shoulder, a frequent perch of the Elf Alpha, where the latter squats in a full lotus position and whispers, “Eat it raw!”


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