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Life lessons from Stan of 'South Park'

Comedy Central

While watching a rerun of the sublime and profane cartoon South Park, I came across a provocative speech on self-discipline from Stan, probably the most level-headed of the Colorado kiddies on the Peabody-winning (yep!) Comedy Central series.

The plot: People in town were flocking to a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary to be cured of their maladies. Randy, Stan's dad, a social drinker, was told he was an alcoholic and sought out the statue to be cured of his disease (a controversial label for many). When the pope decried that the statue was not indeed miraculous (please, don't ask me why), Randy felt that he had to start drinking again because he wasn't being helped by a higher power (yes, it goes there, but stay with me). Here's a snippet of dialogue (with emphasis where most awesome):

Randy: I'm sorry, son! I'm off the wagon! 

Stan: Dad, you don't have to do this! You have the power. You haven't drank since seeing the statue. 

Randy: But the statue wasn't a miracle!

Stan: Yeah. The statue wasn't a miracle, Dad. So that means you did it. That means you didn't have a drink for five days all on your own. 

Randy: You're right, Stan. If God didn't make me stop drinking then... I did. Maybe... Maybe I can force myself to never drink again.

Stan: No! 

Randy: No?? 

Stan: Dad, you like to drink. So have a drink once in a while. Have two. If you devote your whole life to completely avoiding something you like, then that thing still controls your life and you've never learned any discipline at all. 

Randy: But, maybe... I'm just the kind of person who needs to have it all or nothing. 

Stan: Naw. All or nothing is easy. But learning to drink a little bit, responsibly, that's a disclipine. Discipline comes from within.

Aaaand scene.

Stan's right, you know (perhaps not about alcohol, depending on your attitudes, but about discipline). And his analogy fits right in with losing weight. If you banish any and all ice cream or pizza or french fries from your life forever, they'll dance around in your head like sugarplums on Christmas Eve. But if you find ways to fit in small, sensible amounts occasionally or come up with lighter versions of your favorites, the foods won't have any power over you.

You have the power.