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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Last week, I went to Vegas with a few of my friends for Mancation 2010. We stayed in Vegas and did the normal stuff guys do when in Vegas…gamble, overeat and drink. A few things occurred to me over the time we were there.

Number one, I still pack for a fat man. When I was really heavy, I packed anything and everything I may have needed. I did this because when you are a size 9XL and you forget your swimsuit, you can’t run down to Wal-Mart and pick one up. I was always terrified that the airline would lose my bag and I would be stuck washing out my underpants in the motel sink for a week. On this trip, I had enough clothing for a month, even though I was only there for 5 days.

Number two, my metabolism is so amped up from all the water I drink and exercise I do that I have a hard time just sitting still and relaxing. I seem to be wired all of the time. I wanted to just sit by the pool, get some sun, air-dry, and try to get some of the Portland rain out of my bones. As I sat by the pool, I kept thinking about what I may be missing right then. I think I may need to find a nice class on Tai Chi or yoga just to get the meditation component into my life.

Number three, I need to get a new driver’s license. As I was leaving Vegas, I went through the security checkpoint. I took out my driver’s license and boarding pass and waited for my turn to be cleared by TSA. I handed over my identification and the TSA agent looked at my ID and then gave me the once over. He then looked at my identification again and asked me to step over to another area. I waited and watched as he got on his walkie-talkie and requested back up. I was now starting to wonder what I did wrong. Did I make a mistake in my nonchalant stance? Did I forget to check my rocket launcher? Did I have the appearance of a man with nothing to live for?

As I waited, a second TSA agent showed up. I am not sure what his rank was, but it appeared that he was someone in charge because the first agent turned over my Oregon Driver’s license to him. I watched him as he took out what looked like a jeweler’s loupe or a small, lighted magnifying glass that fit over one eye. He spent quite a bit of time looking over my license before giving me the evil eye. I expected him to hit a button and have a SWAT team drop in from the ceiling, yelling at me “Up against the wall, Mommar!” He then approached me and asked me to follow him. We walked over to small cubicle, where another TSA agent showed up. They just looked at me and asked me what was going on with my ID. I was a taken aback, and didn’t really know what they were talking about. I asked them in a very professional, articulate way, “Huh?” They then asked me whose ID this was. I told them it was mine. They looked at it again, and then back at me. “Have you lost weight?” I smiled. Yes, I had.

He told me my license showed my weight at 410, and I was not that weight now. Little did Sherlock know, that was just the weight I admitted to 10 years ago…in truth, even then I was much heavier.

I explained to him that I had lost weight and had not had a chance to update my ID. He asked me if I had other photo identification. Luckily, I had my state employee ID with me in my carry-on backpack. It also has a fathead picture of me, but was closer to my current look. They accepted it, and the atmosphere went from tense and serious to casual in a split second. They asked me directly if I had gastric bypass surgery. I told them no, and they then simultaneously asked me, “How did you do it?” I told them I drink water and watch what I eat. They seemed surprised I didn’t have a magic formula, but they told me thank you very much and have a nice trip.

I decided it was time to get a new license and got on my way. To their credit, it was September 12th, so security was at a higher state (at least I hope that it was and that I don’t look like a guy who meets the profile of someone that is ready to commit suicide and has nothing to live for). I also don’t mind the increased security and the hassle if it helps keep people safe.

The good news is, when I got on the plane and found my seat, the woman I was sitting next to didn’t roll her eyes when she figured out that I was sharing a row with her. That alone felt like a victory.



About 20 years ago, I wanted to lose some weight and came to the decision to go to a commercial diet program. This program involved motivational counseling and pre-packaged food. I was actually pretty excited about the prospect, and for the most part was eager to get started. This program was a national program that did (and still does) a huge amount of national advertising. I really felt like I was taking my weight problem into my own hands and was really going to do something about it.

At the time, I was living in a small town in southern Oregon and gave their toll free number a call. When I called, I was told that the local program would not be able to see me for about a week (so much for being eager). I went ahead and made the appointment, and a week later I found myself standing in front of a building that happened to be a vacated restaurant…not the best omen.

My first session entailed meeting with two nice women that were the people in charge of that office. Neither one of them seemed to be overly fit, but they were nice enough and we talked about the food that was part of the company’s program, and the program itself. Towards the end of the session, they told me they needed to weigh me to get my starting weight. We walked down the hallway to a standard bathroom scale. It looked like one of the women just brought it in from home, right down the butterfly decal placed just below the face. I knew this wasn’t going to work, and told them so. They both said, sure it would, and told me to try it.

I stepped on the scale, and it immediately pegged out at 280lbs. They both stood there scratching their heads. They had an impromptu conference and quickly decided they would have to figure this problem out. They sent me home with my first week’s worth of food, telling me to go ahead and get started. They would call me with a plan to get weighed, and said this had never happened before. Strike one for the motivation.

I was a bit discouraged, but thought they must have a back up plan. Even then, people were on the super size kick and they must have run across this issue before. I went home, and the next day got started on the food they provided me with. I can only describe the taste of it as if you took the synthetic sole of an athletic running shoe that had been worn by a Kenyan runner training for the Mexico city marathon, set in a dehydrator for 12 days, covered it with a mix of spoiled goat cheese and rancid milk, and then tried to eat it. In fewer words…not good.

I muscled through the first 3 days of these horrible meals before getting a phone call from my “weight coach”. She had great news! They had located a scale that I could be weighed on. I asked her if she was sure if the scale would work, given my size. She told me she was, and proceeded to give me an address and the name of a contact at the place I would weigh in at. I assumed it was a doctor’s office, but recognized the location as a bit of an industrial area. I asked her what kind of business had this scale. She told me it was an auction house. I asked her why did any auction house have a scale? She told me it was a “stock auction house.” As in…LIVESTOCK. The scale was used to weigh cows, hogs, goats, etc. just prior to them loading them into the arena.

I never saw that one coming. They wanted me to mosey down to the stock house, get in line behind that day’s load of heifers, and find out just what I was worth on the hoof.

I must have been shocked. I just told her thank you, and hung up the phone. I have not been so embarrassed in my life. That ended my commercial diet program experience. In a way, I was relieved that I didn’t have to eat any more of that disgusting food.

My self esteem was so low, I didn’t even feel like I wanted to argue or point out why that was so wrong. What the hell was wrong with these people, that they imagined at any level that this was not only okay but a good idea? In reflecting about this, I wonder what the discussion between the counselors was about this problem. Did they conclude that this was the only option? Did they make other calls? What did they think my actual weight was?

Recently, I started to wonder what would have happened if I had not had that experience. At that time, I wasn’t nearly as heavy as I would become. I am guessing I was in the neighborhood of about 450 lbs. If I had started that program and been somewhat successful, my life may have taken a different turn.


I have been giving a great deal of thought to re-inventing myself lately. I was thinking it would be great if you could make a huge change all at once. I would like to be better, stronger, faster, ala Steve Austin…except without the bionic replacement parts. Although, the telescopic eye would be a cool thing to have. I would have thought that since I was carrying around 350 pounds every day, I would be much stronger. The changes seem to be on a glacial movement level, so it’s not an overnight change. It’s been 4 ounces at a time.

I recently read a quote that said, “No one can go back and start a new beginning, but you can start today and make a new ending.” That pretty well sums up my life over the last 4 years. I have been creating a new ending, one that hopefully doesn’t end up with me dying on the toilet, heaving and straining Elvis style. Even though I don’t see myself running wild, wearing a faux hawk and plaid shirt while base jumping off a cliff Mountain Dew style, I do see myself not wasting any more time. I am not sure what adventures I will have, but I hope it will be interesting.

Since I turned 45 years old last July, I should announce that I am now the next generation of Paul. Paulie 2.0. That way, I can restart my age count. Since I am hoping this is only the midpoint of my life, this would just be the start of my 2nd half.

The things I would like to upgrade in Paulie 2.0 would be: 

  1. Be more open to new experiences.
  2. I would like to be tanner.
  3. I would love to become a world traveler.
  4. Legally change my middle name from Morgan to Trouble, just so I could tell people, “Trouble? Trouble is my middle name.”
  5. Be friendlier to people.
  6. Floss more often (I am sure Dr. Doyle will be glad to hear that one).
  7. Paulie 2.0 will not be referring to himself in the third person.
  8. Work on my street cred.
  9. Spend more time with my family.
  10. Stop driving a soccer mom minivan. (see #8)
  11. Tell my friends and family how much they mean to me on a regular basis.
  12. Learn patience…right now.
  13. Be able to accept a complement and give myself some credit.
  14. Purchase a briefcase that I could carry handcuffed to my wrist, because that would be cool.
  15. Live more in the moment.

As I have changed into Paulie 2.0, I have been taking stock. I used to think I was the same guy I have always been, at least personality-wise and spiritually. Now that I look around, I come to the conclusion that I am not. It’s hard to know if I have been getting better or not. I hope I am, but I do seem more at ease with myself and just feel better in general.