Chubby: (adj) plump and rounded.

Please do not feel the need to grab your thesaurus when describing me.

I am not portly.

I am not rotund.

I am not big-boned.

I don’t have a healthy appetite.

I’m fat.

And as painful as the word may be, and as many different negative associations it carries, it is still better than “chubby.”

Chubby removes all possibility of being masculine.

Babies are cute and chubby.

Furry animals are chubby.

Things that are cute are dubbed chubby so we do not have to comment on their rolls of blubber.

In the pursuit of gentle phrasing, nobody’s feelings are spared. Only the speaker feels self-righteous about placating through terminology.

I’m too old to be chubby.

I’m too manly to be chubby.

I’m too fat to be chubby.

Chubby things are acceptably fat, yet fat things are not acceptably chubby.

I don’t want to be a chub, so I certainly don’t want to be chubby.

So as painful as it may be to my ears, I am more comfortable being referred to as a “fat person” instead of a man who has “a big body to hold his big heart.”


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Chosen: (adj) having been selected as the best or most appropriate.

Without spraying dark, sticky thoughts into the air, I must admit that if I knew what I know now, I might not have chosen to be born.

I don’t think I would have chosen Mary and Russell as my parents. Considering my youthful antics, they might not have chosen me.

I certainly would not have chosen to be raised in the Midwest of the United States during a season when prejudice, bigotry and self-righteousness were considered to be “American values.”

I wouldn’t have chosen to be fat. Even though some people try to gain their self-esteem while encased in blubber, the excess poundage does take its toll.

I don’t know exactly what I would have chosen–I mean, I could continue this list and probably offend everyone I know.

But I certainly would have chosen Jesus.

This is not because I’m a religious person. Matter of fact, I have been known to doze off immediately at the mention of prayer.

It’s the practicality.

It’s the humanity.

It’s the responsibility that Jesus of Nazareth placed on himself and his followers that lets me understand that he “gets it.”

He gets what it means to be a human being on this planet called Earth. I don’t know if his manifesto would work on other planets. I don’t know anything about habitation in other galaxies.

But Earth requires a certain payload to launch your rocket.

I’ve chosen that.

I fail at it, and as long as I realize it’s a failure on my part and not a master plot against my happiness, I’m usually just fine.

I don’t know what else specifically I would have chosen.

I would not have chosen a career as a writer, because criticism and obscurity are your only friends.

Would I have chosen to pen this essay? Probably not.

I got up in a rather relaxed, lazy mood, and your interest just didn’t interest me that much.

So I’ve chosen, at times, to persevere–even though the immediate benefit does not scream its worth.


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Celery: (n) a cultivated plant of the parsley family

An ounce of consecration yields a pound of cure.

As human beings we spend an awful lot of time complaining about how much effort it takes to get results. Nothing is further from the truth.

Every once in a while, I build up such consecration to lose weight. There are two actions that tell me I’m serious about the endeavor:

  • I start quoting the calories in the food set before me, and
  • I develop an almost mystical interest in celery

Yes, I literally hypnotize myself into believing it makes a great snack, and since it really has no calories, it is able to trick my body into thinking that we are dining without actually plumping.

I think my record is four days.

Yes–four glorious days when I consumed celery, acting as if it were potato chips. Then came Day 5.

It was a very simple fall from grace. It began with a statement: “You know what would be good with this celery?”

At first I showed great restraint. I merely dipped my green stalk into some low-calorie ranch dressing. But that was a little too watery and didn’t cling well. So I switched to regular ranch dressing, trying to be careful about how much I used.

After about two days, I grew tired of the taste of ranch and discovered that cheese whip was delicious on the celery. Now, I was cautious not to put too much of the goo into the provided groove. (After all, if the celery did not want me to have a condiment with it, why did it make that slot?)

By Day 10, I discovered that the most excellent filler was peanut butter.

Peanut butter and celery.

My God, I felt righteous! I had the “no calories” of celery mingled with the protein of peanut butter, which would certainly counteract all the fat included.

Imagine how discouraged I was, after a week, to realize that I had gained weight on celery and peanut butter.

Celery is a trickster. It offers great promise, but has no ability to fulfill unless it brings along its blubbery friends.

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Broker: (n) a person who buys and sells goods or assets for others.

There’s a certain male body type, where there’s enough blubber in the belly to put a lot of pink in the cheeks.

Such was Mick. He was my broker.Dictionary B

Now, before you get all impressed and everything, it was a very temporary situation in my life, when an inheritance enabled me to have money to invest if I so desired.

I was intrigued.

So I went to see a broker. I happened to land in Mick’s office.

He was a delightful young man–straight out of college–and had certainly aspired to something larger than his six-by-eight-foot office space. I was never sure what Mick wanted to be, but was pretty darned positive it was not a broker.

I explained to him that I felt the benefit of this influx of cash was to be able to live off the interest of the money, therefore not needing, for a season, to “labor in the fields.”

Now, Mick was new at this–so I was fairly certain that he had no idea whether my request was plausible or not, but he also had no intention of having me leave his cubicle without choosing him as my “guy.”

So with all of his plump self and ruby cheeks, he said, “Sure.”

It was perfect. He wanted to lie and I wanted to believe him.

But the truth is, the monthly interest from my investments never quite covered my personal lifestyle. Even though I was not angry at Mick because of the shortage, after two or three months he stopped taking my phone calls.

The experience did help me come to the conclusion that money is only valuable when it’s working.

When it lays around waiting for opportunity, like everything else in life, it is soon unemployed.


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Boat: (n) a small vessel propelled on water

Dictionary B My dad liked to hunt and fish.

He was not a “manly man,” but discovered his inner macho with rod, reel and rifle.

My older brothers quickly learned that the best way to curry his favor or spend any time with him at all was to join him on one of these expeditions to seek out game.

I wanted to. He placed a rifle in my hand and set up some targets. I shot it and knocked over a few cans, so he felt confident to take me rabbit hunting.

Do you know how fast rabbits run?

I do.

Every time he set me up with a shot to kill a bunny, I would miserably miss, failing to anticipate the hair-brained escape pattern of the hare.

Fishing was much the same. At first I was a little frightened to put the worm on the hook–and then an additional problem came into the mix. Because I was a fat boy, the little boat my dad was able to afford did not sit well in the water when I sat on the seat. Matter of fact, I came near to sinking us with my “weighty matter.”

The motor didn’t work as well, and my dad wanted to scream at me about my blubber, but restrained himself so as to maintain a few vestiges of fatherhood.

What eventually transpired was that my dad made it a secret when he was going fishing or hunting, and I would never find out until he was long gone and my mother confessed his plans.

So there is a part of me that wishes my dad had been alive when the movie “Jaws” came out.

You remember the line, right?

“We need a bigger boat.”


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Ballboy: (n) a boy who retrieves balls that go out of play during a game such as tennis or baseballDictionary B

I grew up in a village which was about 20 miles from a big city.

Even though we insisted that we were an autonomous population. we privately knew that we had to go 20 miles to actually be entertained or purchase clothes that were not second-hand.

Every once in a while, the big city would invade our little burg with a possibility. This happened when I was ten years old.

The minor league baseball team which headquartered in the big city decided to bless the neighboring burrows with an opportunity–to let one of the favorite sons be a ballboy for one night at the park.

It was a big deal.

You got to go to the game, put on a uniform and run out and chase balls that went awry, or give bats to the superstars.

So they further made a big deal of it by holding an audition to select the ballboy, which drew a crowd of about 45 kids between the ages of ten and twelve.

I was one of them.

Even though I did not like baseball very well, I was fairly athletic and certainly competitive. So at the end of fielding flies, chasing balls, and even some opportunity to use the bat, the committee selected me to be the ball boy for this game.

I had never won anything in my life expect the privilege of being born.

My skin was tingling, my head was swimming and the rest of me just wanted to pee.

So they took me into a room and pulled out the uniform I was to wear for the game and asked me to try it on.

It didn’t fit. Not even close.

I was chubby, which is what my parents called it, and everybody else knew to be fat.

I tried hard to fit into that uniform. I said that by next week I could lose some weight. But reluctantly, they awarded the opportunity to the boy who came in second place. Even though he had less ability, he also had less blubber.

I was shocked.

I was devastated.

And on top of that, I heard a giggle or two from the gallery, causing me to feel humiliation.

Until I sat down and wrote this essay today, I did not realize that I still had remnants of feelings about the injustice. Here’s an idea–one we might want to use in the future, even when electing our leaders:

Let’s find the best person for the job, and then pick the outfit.


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Awkward: (adj) causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.dictionary with letter A

I suppose I could take the popular position and insist that “I was born this way.” I would receive empathy and maybe even support from those who would agree with my assertion or share my dilemma.

I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not fat.

Yet I have to tell you that taking personal responsibility for it and realizing that even if my body has a predilection towards obesity, that I can discourage its wishes, is powerful.

The truth is, being fat is not only unhealthy, it’s a constant burden placed on your torso, lending itself to many an awkward situation.

  • As a child I ran and played but not without wheezing.
  • I wasn’t fast enough to get to first base on a hit called a single. For me to get to first base, I had to hit a double.
  • I’ve never been comfortable with my clothes off.
  • Generally speaking, I made sure that every place I was seated would be wide enough or hold my weight.
  • When rejected by a girl, I needed to question whether it was because of my blabber or my blubber.
  • Until I was twenty-five years old I never wore a pair of shorts in public. Much too awkward.
  • Until I was forty years old, I refused to get into a swimming pool until everybody around had turned their heads and were involved in some other activity.
  • And today, because I have led an active life, my knees are worn out, causing me to use a wheelchair to handle long distances.

It’s awkward.

I’ve never been able to sustain myself on my visuals only, but have had to rely on my emotions, spirit and mind to compensate for my body.

Now, before you go to weeping or preparing a lecture about my eating habits, let me tell you that I’ve already cried enough tears and pursued enough diets.

Now I try to eat as healthy as I possibly can, exercise to my capability and realize that awkward does not need to be a nasty situation.

Actually, awkward gives us enough vulnerability that people understand our humanity instead of resenting our perfection.


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