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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.

Paul

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