I weigh 196 pounds.
For those of you who live anywhere in the world that is not the United States of America – and I have heard rumors that such places do exist – that would be 89 kilograms.
I recently went to my doctor, whom I do not trust. I had a cough and sore throat and a feeling like somebody was poking at my uvula with a knitting needle and thought I should get it all looked into. But – as I said – I do not trust my doctor. I believe she’s incompetent and that the extent of her medical knowledge is an understanding that a smile and referral to a specialist can keep your career in medicine coasting along nicely for a good ten to fifteen years.
I had a physical a few years back, and my doctor said after looking at the results: “You’re the healthiest person I’ve ever seen.”
“Bullshit!” I responded, “What does that mean? ‘The healthiest person you’ve ever seen’? That means nothing!”
“No, I mean it. You’re the healthiest person I’ve ever seen.”
“What are you hiding from me?! I’m on to you! Don’t think I’m not! Tell me the truth!”
“Oh, vile deceit! Oh, contemptible dissemblaging!”
“And what kind of half-assed physical was that anyway? You didn’t even put your finger up my bottom!”
And to show I meant business, I wrecked the place.
Most of that story is true.
I would get another doctor, switch to someone more reliable, if it weren’t for the fact that I have had an identical feeling about every doctor I have ever visited. So unless I have been especially, extraordinarily unlucky in my physicians selection, I’m guessing the trouble may be my own distrust of doctors, rather than the universal untrustworthiness of the whole profession.
So my doctor told me that I was 196 lbs. This after weighing me, by the way. She didn’t just eyeball it and give me a number. She used technology to come to a reliable determination of my weight.
She told me I was 196 lbs.
And I knew she spoke the truth.
I have never been 196 lbs before.
I told a friend the other day about this landmark development. He said: “I wish I was 196 lbs.”
My initial thought, upon hearing the news, was: Wouldn’t it have been nice if it was 200 lbs.? As long as I’m going for a personal best, I’d like it to be a nice round number. It’s only a chocolate cake’s worth of difference, but being 200 lbs seems much cooler than being a mere, forgettable…what was it?…oh, yeah…196 lbs. I want to break that 200 lb barrier. They used to say it couldn’t be done, way back when when people had to walk from place to place. “A man will never break the 200 lb barrier!” they used to shout. They shouted that a lot. They were a dull people- but they were a thinner people. Nowadays, breaking the 200 lb barrier is not only commonplace, it’s the norm. In some states and territories it is mandated by law.
I used to run. And walk. And do all manner of jumping around. I was thin and muscular. Now I am not as thin and not as muscular. But I am happier than I was in those days when I was thin and muscular. Would I be – is it possible? – even more happier if I was also thin and muscular now? Or is my increasing contentedness a direct result of my slow, but steady weight gain? If I become 300 lbs will I laugh joyfully from morning till night? If I attain 400 lbs, will I become enlightened?
We in The West are a large people. We have fought for two thousand years to win our right to eat as much as we are physically able at any time of the day or night. I say we should celebrate it. I say we should wear it proudly. Rather than being ashamed of our increase, we should hold it up as a symbol of the advances of our superior civilization. How many overweight Sudanese do you know? I bet you can’t name three living overweight Sudanese. And have you ever been to Afghanistan? Of course, you haven’t! Why would you? But if you – or if me – went, would we see people as large as we are large? No, we would not see these large people! For they lack the superior technology and time saving conveniences which allow them to attain gigantic-ness.
My brother recently reminded me of the fine and satisfying scene from Oliver Stone’s “The Doors” (1991), where Jim Morrison is chided about his increasing weight. Morrison’s reply takes the words right out of my over-stuffed, starch-crammed, sugar-rotten mouth:
“What’s wrong with being a large mammal?”
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