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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Cherub: (n) a beautiful or innocent-looking child.

It takes a lot for me to become motivated to try to lose weight.

It’s similar to convincing an ant-eater that ant consumption is bad for its health. After all, you are named “ant-eater.” To suddenly stop eating ants not only removes your diet, but robs you of your identity.

I.e., if I am not a fat man, who am I?

If I’m not the guy talking about calories while lamenting my metabolism, how would I be able to find myself in a crowded mall?

My identity is wrapped up in my weaknesses just as much as my virtues. I don’t know why we take so much time to lie, cheat and cover up our frailties, when the
y are obviously going to pop up and announce their presence.

But every once in a while, I do become motivated to try to carve away some of the fat from my body. It usually takes a shock. One such occasion happened when a gentleman from a newspaper, reviewing my show and describing my face, wrote: “He is a chubby fellow with cherub-like features.”

I was appalled.

There is no man born on this Earth who wants to be a chubby cherub. Matter of fact, if you told a woman that her blind date was “chubby and cherub-like” she just might call in sick.

I became obsessed.

I went to my bathroom mirror and stood there for at least fifteen minutes, peering at my cheeks–my second chin which was thinking about adding on an addition–and eventually became convinced that I indeed was a cherub. Although that supposedly has angelic proportions, it also makes you look too child-like and too plump.

I immediately started a diet, which didn’t last long because I was motivated for all the wrong reasons.

So over the years I have tried to grow a beard, which was as successful as any other cherub, and I’ve sported a mustache–a goatee which I occasionally have to pencil in because it’s just not dark enough.

This whole story would be very pathetic except for the fact that deep in my heart, I really don’t care.

My confidence is not based on my appearance, but rather, the confidence my appearance may proffer to others.



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Bunk Bed


Bunk bed: (n) a piece of furniture consisting of two beds, one above the other, that form a unit.

Ralph had a good job and therefore had some money.

This was rare in our hometown area, where the local gospel singers who aspired to be superstars in the cavalcade of heavenly tunes were normally poor, with dreams the only stuffing in their heads.

I was one of those poor ones.

But Ralph had some money. So his quartet went out and bought a bus, and Ralphie Boy signed for it. It was a 4104 Greyhound, which I’m sure will mean nothing to you unless you can conjure the image of the transportation of that era. If you can muster a picture of a Greyhound, it more than likely is a 4104.

Did I mention that Ralph was also a carpenter? So he ripped the seats out and built the insides to look like a little home, complete with four bunk beds for traveling nights, which might require some sleeping.

Everybody who had a pitch pipe and desired to sing four-part harmony bounced between admiring Ralph and his bus and being envious that they were not in his quartet.

But he was generous and let people come along on little trips so they could say they had been in the magic chariot.

I went on one such trip. It was an “overnighter,” so I got to sleep in the bunk.

It was at that precise moment in that particular location, with my chubby frame wedged into a tiny bunk, that I realized I was claustrophobic. What started out as a night of dreams and new opportunities left me terrorized that the bunk just above me was going to suddenly give way, come crashing down and suffocate me, probably to death.

When we finished the trip, Ralph asked me how I enjoyed it, and being a polite Midwestern boy, I said it was absolutely amazing–but that I was a little scared of the bunk beds.

Ralph thought that was hilarious–so funny that he decided to share it with everybody he ever came in contact with.

So from that point on, no matter what the activity, people would walk up, pat me on the shoulder and say, “By the way, you can relax. There won’t be any bunks.”


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Big Top

Big Top: (n) the main tent in a circus.

Dictionary B

The circus smells like elephant poop.

That’s my main memory from the only time I went there at twelve years of age.

I had this strange sensation of smelling pachyderm droppings while simultaneously eating cotton candy. It was a disturbing mixture.

I was a chubby fellow, so when the clowns came out to perform, one of the jokesters targeted me, using mime to imitate my tubbiness, to the delight of children nearby. Obviously lacking some training in sensitivity, the bozo continued to do so until the laughter subsided.

So to a certain degree, I was very happy when the elephants arrived and I was no longer the largest in the tent.

The circus was impressive.

There were things flying in the air, fire spewing from the mouths of entertainers, and all sorts of horses running in circles with brightly-colored saddles, which were ever-so-faintly fading through years of use.

I worked really hard to be a fan.

I oohed and aahed on cue, making it clear to all my friends around me that I was an appreciator.

But as I left the tent, even though I was just a kid, I sensed that these professionals were working awfully hard to make life fun. Matter of fact, when I hear people draw the parallel that “life is a circus,” I think to myself, no, it’s not.

Actually, our goal is to make sure that life doesn’t become a funeral … by adding just enough clowns, dancing monkeys and corn dogs.

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Big: (adj) of considerable size, extent or intensity.

Dictionary B

“Big Jon.”

That’s what everybody used to call me.

It was their way of acknowledging that I was a large person without using terms like chubby, tubby, overweight, portly, plump or God forbid–fat.

But as I grew older and wiser, I realized that behind every use of the word “big” was a parenthetical inclusion of “fat.”

Even though politeness is very polite, it is often misleading, if not flat-out lying.

I was able to pull off “Big Jon” for a long time because I could lift couches, play sports, and pant and sweat my way to physical equality.

But age caught up with me, and the passing years have robbed me of the courtesy of being big, and just made me obese.

For the record, there is absolutely no charm in “Obese Jon.”

When is it good to be big?

I was told when I was younger that having big dreams, big plans and big goals was a sign of vision. Then I realized that this particular view of life could blind you with ambition, leaving you stumbling in the darkness of despair.

Somewhere in between small and big lies real.

It’s what we’re all looking for.

It’s that part of the mission of our life journey which is achievable instead of under-promoted or overwrought.

I have reached a time when I need to stop being so big.

My body, my emotions and my ego … all need to go on a diet.Donate Button

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Bermuda Shorts

Bermuda shorts: (n) casual knee-length short trousers.

Dictionary B

For the sake of lingering pieces of vanity, I would like to say that I am completely unfamiliar with Bermuda shorts, but unfortunately, I was around when they hit the shores from Bermuda, and shortly thereafter, basically disappeared.

Let me tell you something about fashion: fashion is the latest trend available to those who basically look good in anything.

If you have a bulge here and there, misshapen space or a cluttered cloister, you are very unlikely to ever be comfortable or attractive in the latest threads.

Such it was with Bermuda shorts.

They were knee-length, usually had some sort of odd print on them, and they left the rest of your leg exposed.

When I tried them on, it appeared that some sausage had seeped out of the bottom of its casing.

Not to mention the fact that no matter how tall you may be, when you are chubby you appear shorter. Bermuda shorts helped to accentuate this dwarfism.

I didn’t wear them a second time.

Matter of fact, I might have been one of the souls instrumental … in mocking them off the fashion runway.

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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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