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Monthly Archives: January 2010

My mom labors under a few misconceptions, the first being that I am religious, and the second one being that I’m not only religious, but Catholic. This is demonstrated by the fact that when my brothers and I turned 18, we were given Saint Christopher medals that we are expected to wear. Saint Christopher is the patron of travelers and children. I am not sure why Mom picked this saint, but I am guessing she still likes to think of me as her baby.

Over the years, I have moved to an archangel—Saint Michael—because he is the patron saint of bankers and tax collectors. I also like the fact that he is known as the archangel who cast Satan from heaven. I like to think of him as God’s bouncer. I think that would make him a better “cooler” than both Dalton and Garrett from Roadhouse combined.

 Since my older brother lost his original gold Saint Christopher in a bar fight in Spain, my mom downgraded me to a medal cast in silver. What limited jewelry I now own is sterling. A few years back, I moved to a cross on a heavy sterling silver chain. I have worn one of these medals every day for the last 26 years.

I was getting out of the shower about 3 weeks ago, and while standing in the mirror shaving, I noticed my necklace looked really dark. Upon closer examination, I discovered it was severely tarnished. It looked like the ends of the cross had been burned and the chain also looked really black. I don’t remember that ever happening in the past. I found the silver polish and got it shined back up to looking normal. I thought it was strange, but didn’t give it much more thought.

About a week later, I discovered the necklace was again tarnished. I cleaned it again, but was now intrigued. I went on-line to the world wide interweb and asked the question, “Why is my necklace getting tarnished with wear?” I found a number of answers stating that the medal was cheap and plated. I know that isn’t the case. I am sure the chain and cross are Sterling. The other answer I found was that some people’s bodies react and tarnish medal due to PH levels. Maybe my body chemistry has changed? My doctor did tell me at one point that my system has gone through a pretty big shift. At least that’s how she explained my loss of balance.

I also got to wondering, what other changes are in store for me? I have read enough comics to know that some event leads the ordinary man to acquire super powers. It could be Peter Parker’s radioactive spider bite that turned him into Spiderman; it starts out with him noticing slight changes, like the quickness of a hand catching a bottle falling off the table or a fall that should injure him but leaves him unscathed.

Maybe that’s what happening to me. Maybe this is the first indication of a superpower. I mentioned this theory to a friend of mine, and he asked me if I noticed any other changes. Perhaps I was starting to grow a tail? That would be a big indication of changes. It would be just my luck, my superpower would be me de-evolving into Monkey Boy. I would be really good at climbing and have crazy strength. I am sure what else that would buy me, maybe a great job at the circus.

If these changes are due to my dieting over the last four years, I am guessing I will become the Incredible Shrinking Man. I will have to add the “Incredible” because I don’t need women referring to me a the “shrinking man” I am fairly sure my ego would not deal with that very well. I would rather be Monkey Boy. Maybe I can look forward to a superpower of walking under doors or picking locks from the inside. I will have to start dodging cats. Maybe I should really start being nicer to my cats now.

The only thing I need to decide is whether I want to be the Evil Genius or a superhero. Seems to me the Evil Genius has more fun, but never seems to get to win. Maybe I will go in between; I will use my powers for good with and occasionally delve on the dark side for personal gain. I mean, who would blame the Monkey Boy?

Paul

I went to do my weekly grocery shopping at my local supermarket this morning. As I was standing in line, waiting for a woman who seemed to be surprised about the fact she was going to have to write a check to pay for her groceries (apparently, in some crazy Ponzi profit scam, Albertson’s Supermarket expects her to pay), I used the extra time to scan the covers of the rag magazines sitting at the check stand in the impulse zone.

I noted the cover of US Weekly. The headline read “Star’s Secrets – Get Thin Fast” and the cover had several very thin celebrities in photos where they resembled liberated POW camp survivors. I am not sure what amazes me more, the fact that US Weekly would publish this crap or that normal intelligent women would purchase it.

Even if quick weight loss was healthy (which I am fairly certain it isn’t), what makes a Mom with 2.3 kids living in northern Oregon think she can match a program designed for a celebrity? A celebrity who merits the cover of a tabloid would most likely have enough money for assistance. She could afford to have personal trainers, chefs who cook tasty yet nutritionally balanced meals, and maybe a long term visit to a spa. Not to mention the time she has available for fitness training. Now the Oregonian Mom on the other hand has to take care of the family. That means she most likely has a job, takes care of cleaning the house, and still needs to cook for the kids. She’s lucky to be getting a night out of the house for a round of Bunco with her friends. When is she going to get the kind of support or the kind of time that Britney can afford?

I have also heard a great deal about the show “Biggest Loser”. My friends all seem to love this show. I think it speaks to people at some level. I am amazed at the incredible marketing job they are doing with it. The product placement is blatant, but if it helps people, good for them. I just don’t kid myself, it’s all about making some money, God Bless the USA!

I guess I shouldn’t be knocking the show when I have never actually watched a full episode, but it seems like it is putting out more unreal expectations. I have seen some of the results online. The contestants seem to be losing a huge amount of weight in a very short period of time. I would love to leave my job, go work with a trainer, and have a diet plan laid out for me. That kind of focused effort would be awesome. Unfortunately, I live in the real world, not the TV world. Just for the record, if I was going to live in the TV world, I think I would rather live in a house with a hot Jeannie granting my wishes and then just wish to be thin. What could be better than a hot blonde that refers to you as master and when you’re tired of her, you just plug her back into the bottle?

I don’t blame anyone for looking for the shortcut. I myself love a good fast forward to the end once in a while. No matter what anyone tells you, in this case, there are no quick fixes. You gotta make up your mind and put in the work if you wanna lose the weight. As Chuck D says, “Don’t believe the hype”.

Lately, I have been getting a number of requests for more pictures. I guess with all the “Biggest Loser type before and after reveal pictures,” people want to see more.  I have had the big reveal many times over the last few years.

I was in my hometown over the Christmas holiday visiting some friends, and was lucky enough to see my friend Jodi and her husband Lance. I haven’t seen them in maybe 10 years. It’s always strange running into people that knew me only when I was at my larger size. Some people don’t really know what to say.

When I saw Jodi, she gave me a big hug and told me she couldn’t believe it. She said if she had seen me on the street, she would have walked right past me without recognizing me. This wasn’t the first time I had been told that. It was a great feeling.

But, this got me thinking, my future as a criminal mastermind/evil genius will have to be put on permanent hold. This weight loss may have been my only chance to really change my look and have a real disguise. Given my dark complexion, I can’t really dye my hair. I know, I tried it a few years ago. It wasn’t a great look and ended up just being a testimony to my gullibility around pretty women. New clothing doesn’t really work, unless you are planning on cross dressing for the rest of your life…and I am certainly not going to try that again! Plus, I would make a really ugly woman, kind of like John Lithgow in “The World According to Garp”.

I had my life of crime all planned. I would become a national jewel thief (because local jewel thieves are so pedestrian and international thieves are pretentious in their tuxedos). After I made my big score, I would then lose the weight, shave my head and disappear. My world would be a blur of fast cars, strip clubs and midget wrestling. I guess some dreams must die. 

Since I am not going to be able to pull off that big caper, I thought I would go ahead and post the pictures. So, here you go. I also need to say thanks to Kacey Baxter of Acorn Studios (for the “after” photos). She is an incredible photographer and given what she had to work with is a bit of a magician.

When I was heavy, I mean really heavy, at my peak weight at 600lbs, I had people from time to time confront me. I am not talking about an intervention from my friends and family. Trust me, those get old fast! I am talking about complete strangers that felt it was okay to discuss my personal appearance at great length.

Over the years, maybe a dozen people felt the need to make that approach. Early on, I would just be polite and thank them for their concern while trying to politely move away. When I got older, I realized how truly rude these people were and changed my tactic. I would immediately start insulting them loudly as a way to make them uncomfortable. I found after a while that most of them wanted to sell me something to cure my weight problem.

The weird thing was most of these mouth breathers would just keep right on talking after I had politely told them no thank you. After the first no thank you, I went right to dropping F-bombs.

The last time this happened, I was in a parking lot. I had just walked to my car and was getting my seat belt on. I looked up and a man had driven a van directly in front of my parking space, trapping me. I am sure I had a look of disbelief as he approached me with papers in his hand. I rolled down my window and he smiled and handed me the documents. It was a flier for a diet plan and a business card. I looked at the card. It was a picture of him…and I swear to God, he was posed in a side body profile shot in his tight white Fruit of the Loom underwear. I mean, what the hell? He started to explain to me that he had already lost some weight. I was dumbfounded to the point I couldn’t even swear at him. In the picture, he had to be about 350 pounds. It was like the worst Victoria’s Secret advertisement ever created. He started to tell me about this program, I said I wasn’t at all interested. He said yes, but it works. I was a bit shocked, but was able to regain my composure, I looked him in the eye and said, “Why in the world would I want to lose weight? It took me years to work up to this size. I spent my entire life gaining it—I don’t want to lose it now.” This threw him for a bit of loop, but he kept pushing on with his sale pitch. I let him go for a few seconds and then just told him he needed to move his car immediately…or else. He finally got the message and left.

A few years prior to that, I was getting my hair cut. It was a small shop and they only had two chairs. Both were occupied; one with a woman getting her hair trimmed and the second with a little boy getting a cut. The little boy appeared to be the woman’s son.

As I was waiting for my turn, I was thumbing through a magazine. The woman finished first and the barber told me it would be just a minute because she wanted to sweep up before she got to me. The woman who had just gotten her hair cut stepped up to me. She was maybe 5’4” and I am guessing that she weighed in around 250lbs. She was wearing a flowing top that barely covered her stretch pants covered ass (one of her white trash bingo friends should have told her that stretch pants were a privilege, not a right). She said, “Excuse me, but you would be an attractive guy if you just lost some weight and I have a great product that would make it happen.” I told her no thank you and said I wasn’t interested. I don’t think she heard a word I said because she restarted her sales pitch. I told her again politely that I was not interested in it. She again just pushed ahead and told me that it has worked for her and that I might have seen her signs around town.

I had in fact seen them all over my small town; they were homemade poster board signs touting her magic weight loss potion. I would have gone right to telling her to go get “the high hard one” but her little boy was now watching our discussion and having her for a mom was trauma enough for the little guy. I was eventually called over to the chair but this bitch followed me. She kept right on going with her sales pitch. It got to the point that the hairdresser told her to leave and then proceeded to apologize on behalf of this woman.

As I left the salon, I climbed into my 4X4 Ford 250 Redneck model pick up truck. When I got to the street, on the green stretch of grass between the street and the sidewalk I noticed one of her signs. I checked my rear view mirror, backed up 20 feet, cranked the wheel and drove up over the curb, over the sidewalk and straight over her sign. It was a great feeling of satisfaction when I looked back and saw the remains.

Over the next week, I must have scored 8 or 9 sign kills with my truck. After a bit of time, she got tired of replacing the signs and started to place them in areas I couldn’t get to with my truck. I had to resort to hopping out of my truck and removing the sign. Hey, I was doing my part to pick up the litter in my beautiful little town. It was my mission. I think I must have had about 2 dozen signs when she finally quit putting them out. I guess she was right, her program was helping me get some exercise.

I am not sure why people think they can walk up to fat people and start these kinds of discussions. Even with my thick skin, it was painful. I blame Santa for this. His press about being a Jolly fat man has worked too well.

At least I don’t have to listen to these pitches anymore.

Paul