She squared off and bowed, and habit is a terrible thing. I bowed back automatically, which meant, to her at least, hat I had accepted her challenge. My nutrition, which should have been coursing through my bloodstream, seemed lodged in my feet and they felt cemented to the mat. My judo instructor took one look at what was happening and turned his back. He didn't want to watch. Neither did I. I closed my eyes. When nothing happened I opened them. Goliath was towering over me, one mammoth hand grasping my left lapel, the other my right sleeve.
"Do something," she invited. "I'll wait." And she sighed and waited, raising one bunioned foot to scratch the inside of her other shin. She was showing off. Anyone who has taken judo knows that standing on one leg is asking for trouble. My reaction to her off-balance stance was impulsive, but who is to say it wasn't all that raw carrot salad? At any rate, what I did was jerk down on her sleeve and sweep—ever so politely—her foot out from under her. I can still hear the beautiful crash as she hit the mat. Everyone was stunned.
As my defeated opponent rose to her knees, I bowed quickly and, as they say, quit the premises. Into the dressing room, out of my gi. Skirt, sweater, shoes, purse, and there I was, flying down the stairs and into the cool night air, then down the street to the subway and home. Safe!
Well, that was all some time ago. Lady Goliath, I understand, has taken up karate. Harry is enjoying Blimpies again. As for me, I am still interested in nutrition, but feel it has given me its finest moment. So I no longer prepare health foods myself. In my opinion the hazards of the kitchen are greater even than the hazards of the judo mat. I am, I suppose, my mother's daughter.