Getting Fat

I may be getting fat. Oh, not obese or anything like that. I’ve not outgrown my suits or clothes. But, I have gained a few extra pounds.

You notice your own extra weight at the most inopportune times. It might happen during a pick-up basketball game when you realize that maybe you should be on the team that keeps their shirts on. Or you might be sitting, as I was, at an Amy Joy Donut Shop about to indulge in your favorite snack, a toasted coconut cake doughnut, when it hits you. Just what the doctor ordered: 500 calories and a side–order of guilt.

I was a skinny kid. When I graduated from high school, fifty pounds ago, my ribs were visible from across the room. Neither my best friend, also named Dave, nor I could gain any weight if our lives depended on it. My ex-wife has a picture of Dave and I when we were twenty-one. We look like the smiling “Before” picture from an advertisement from an anorexia clinic. Dave and I would drink malted milkshakes and could out eat all of our friends. Pinstripes, in fact any vertical stripes, had to be avoided. Our mothers were constantly told by their friends to feed us.

Somewhere around age twenty-five my metabolism finally slowed. I’ll never forget how excited I was when I finally hit 200 pounds. Clothing was easier to buy. My face filled out. The first twenty-five pounds were fabulous. I was improving with age.

Then I quit smoking. Two packs of cigarettes a day, a pipe or two of tobacco and a cigar to nothing. Cold turkey. Actually a lot of turkey. But mostly pretzels, potato chips and anything else I could get my hands on. My oral fixation netted me another twenty-five pounds and that’s where I am today.

Earlier this morning, Deborah Norville interviewed a doctor about the dangers of rapid weight loss. Another doctor, representing a nationwide diet-center company, was there to defend some programs while attacking others. I heard them mention gallbladder problems and heart problems and other problems and I decided that the one thing I really don’t have….is a problem. At least not yet.

I have decided that I am going to do more than just feel guilty about this. I sprang into action. I didn’t order an egg roll with my Kung Po Chicken at lunch today. And if that’s not enough, I’ve gotten a commitment from my office partner, Bill to walk 18 holes every Thursday afternoon this summer. My friend Lou wants to play tennis on Tuesday afternoons as soon as it’s nice outside. And I may skip playing softball this year (two hours sitting on a pine bench) and instead do something more strenuous.

I don’t want to be skinny again, nor even thin. I just want to go into Amy Joy’s and not feel guilty.