I have to write this really fast because tomorrow I've got to show up at a friend's swimming pool.

In a swimsuit.

Which means I have only one day left to accomplish my goal of losing 10 pounds before appearing -- in broad daylight -- in clothing that resembles underwear.

The good news is I had the foresight to start my diet two weeks ago. The bad news is I still have 9 1/2 pounds to lose.

I'm not sure why it's taking so long. Perhaps a quick look at my diet notebook will offer some clues.

Day One: Weigh myself on bathroom scale. Numbers seem faint and far away. Difficult to see. Can't decide whether last two numbers are 30 or 80. Neither seems to make any sense but decide to go with 30.

Dress and go to supermarket to shop for food that is low cal, lite, no cholesterol, fat-free, etc., etc. Study label on can of Pork and Beans Xtra Lite. Print very small. Hard to read. Get out article that tells how to determine fat percentage in food.

It says: "If a serving has 256 calories and 4 grams of fat, multiply 4 by 9 to get 36 fat calories per serving. Divide the fat calories by total calories and multiply by 100 to get fat percentage."

Decide to take a pass on pork and beans and buy bottle of diet chocolate egg cream soda instead. Attractive young woman who's handing out sample cups of the soda assures me it's low in calories. Print on bottle too small to tell whether it's 28 calories or 280. Decide to take her word.

Load up cart with many varieties of frozen dinners that are lite, low cal, no cholesterol, fat-free, etc., etc.

Stop on way home for cappuccino but promise to spend 10 extra minutes on treadmill. Maybe one day next week.

Or the week after.

Day Four: Am dismayed to read in newspaper that dieting has become politically incorrect. Decide that if I had not blown entire month's food budget on diet menu -- lite food, it turns out, costs big $$$$ -- I could get behind this kind of political platform. Jot down a reminder in my "Things to Think About" journal: "Think about Lite Politics."

Decide to do some lite reading. Am halfway through "The 100 Best Chocolate Cake Recipes of All Time" when phone rings.

Friend on the other end asks if I know anything about the Swiss Sleeping Diet. Says she's heard you fly to a Swiss clinic where they keep you lightly sedated and dozing for two weeks, after which they wake you up and you're 15 pounds lighter. Says she heard all the big movie stars do it.

Get on scale. Numbers hard to read but think I see some movement in little arrow that points to numbers.

Mail arrives with announcement from niece that she's now the mother of an 8 pound, 3 ounce baby girl named Patricia Grace. Realize that's just l pound and 7 ounces less than I have to lose. Don't know why, but I find the calculation depressing.

Turn in early, at about 4 p.m., after a lite supper. That way I avoid nighttime snacking. Wake up at 5:30 p.m. from a dream that house has turned into a gallon of Ben & Jerry's double, double, chocolate, chocolate ice cream. Lite, of course.

Get up and decide to go out for cappuccino. Promise to work it off on treadmill. Sometime soon.

Day Eight: Go to dinner party. Food theme seems to be related somehow to butter, cheese and cream, etc., etc. After creamed chicken course and before coconut whipped cream pudding dessert, try to take my mind off food by feigning interest in what other people at party are saying:

". . . and then I said, 'If you walk out that door without your sweater, don't blame me if you get pneumonia. . . .' "

". . . just sat down next to her without even asking if it was OK. . . ."

". . . long lines everywhere and there had to be more than 10 items in her cart. . . ."

Make a mental note to write down in my "Highly Overrated Things" notebook that conversation among humans is not what it's cracked up to be.

Day 12: Go to supermarket again. Standing in front of meat counter, I cannot remember why I'm there. Then I realize it finally has happened: I am suffering from diet-induced butcher's block.

At home, get on scale. Spirits go way down. Little arrow pointer stuck at same place it was last week. Hard to read, but last two numbers are either 29 or 79.

Then read in newspaper about a new line of "user-friendly" swimsuits. Something called Slim Suit. Cleverly designed with an inner lining that works like a body girdle, the Slim Suit is guaranteed to make you look an inch thinner. Spirits soar.

On way to buy Slim Suit decide to celebrate. Have a double cappuccino. Promise to work it off on treadmill. One day this year.

Or next.

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