Dancer

Dancer: (n) a person who dances professionally

In the world of fruits and vegetables, it would be pretty well assumed that string beans would make good dancers, but cantaloupes and pumpkins–not so much.

Matter of fact, when you see a rotund human dancing, it normally is on a YouTube, which has many views by people who find it hilarious to spy such a sight.

I don’t know whether it’s the mixture of the bouncing jowls in the face, the pinking of the cheeks or the extra blubber shifting like the tide.

But it’s pretty well accepted that those who dance on Broadway live on lettuce and smells.

So when I—more in the melon family of appearance—put on a play many years ago which demanded some dancing and found myself unable to cast one of the major parts, I was encouraged by the other cast members to take on the challenge, break down some barriers and hoof my way through the performance.

I’ve always been pretty athletic. (Candidly, when you’re fat, athletic can be walking through a china shop without knocking over some bullshit.)

So I learned the dancing, practiced it, and got to the point that I could do the numbers without completely gasping for breath.

But as I stood backstage on opening night, getting ready to make my entrance, hearing the mumbling of the audience, I was completely terrified.

All the stereotypical reactions about “prancing fat boys” raced to my brain and did their own little tap dance all over the state of my confidence.

And sure enough, when I entered the stage in my costume and began the shuffling of my feet that would lend itself to dancing, I heard giggles from the gallery.

I was humiliated.

I was frightened.

But I also realized that doing it halfway would only make it look worse.

So I sold out.

And—as often happens when one sells out—half of the audience admired the hell out of me, and the other half was pissed because I made them feel a little naughty about their judgment.

I am not a dancer.

At best I am an agile beach ball, bouncing on the sand—scurried by the wind.

 

Cut-offs

Cut-offs: (n) blue jeans cut off and turned into shorts.

There is certainly the possibility that if you’re willing to speak your fears out loud, you can save a lot of money on therapy.

So I will tell you bluntly that for the first twenty-one years of my life, I was frightened to death to go without a shirt or even think about wearing shorts.

When I was a teenager, I went to the swimming pool and waited until it was either empty or everyone had gone over to the snack bar before I would feverishly remove my shirt and jump in the water, hoping nobody noticed the recently submerged whale.

It was worse with my legs. They were bare.

For some reason, my genetics gave me absolutely no hair.

When I was sixteen, I took a magnifying glass, examined them, and found that there were follicles, but for some reason the little hairs became discouraged upon reaching the top of my skin—too frightened to make a public appearance.

So I was fat.

Very white because I got no sun.

And had no hair on my legs.

Not a great teenage turn-on.

So it was the summer of my twenty-first year that I found myself traveling, landing with my music group in Miami, Florida—still scared shitless to go shirtless, and completely unwilling to drop my pants.

Then, one beautiful hot day when the ladies in the group were anxious to go to the beach—tired of magnanimously staying behind with me—I grabbed an old pair of jeans, took scissors and snipped them off the best I could. I slid them on and walked outside with my two comrades.

At first, I held onto their arms, hiding and hoping nobody noticed me.

Apparently, I got my wish. Nobody noticed me.

It was Miami. There were oddly shaped people of every color, everywhere.

For the rest of that two-week trip, I did nothing but walk around shirtless, wearing my ugly cut-off jeans, walking the beach.

By the time I flew back to Nashville, Tennessee, to meet up with my producer, I was gloriously toasted brown and my confidence was at an all-time high.

I have never and will never feel the relaxation to walk into a room believing that everyone will accept my obesity or my hairless legs.

But I’m happy to report that the comfort of being comfortable in cut-offs finally comforted me.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cure

Cure: (n) a method or course of treatment, as for disease

“I’m not sick.”

This is what I used to tell my mother on the days I wanted to go to school, go out and play or pursue some activity which was being halted because of “under the weather.”

Then there were the days I said, “I am sick.” I was trying to avoid a test, a bully or was too lazy to get out of my bed.

It carries over.

If everybody who was sick sought treatment, more people would get well. And if all the people who are truly well would cease to be paranoid hypochondriacs, we would probably spend a whole lot less money on medical treatment in America.

How do you know you need a cure?

When can you confirm there’s some sort of difficulty, impediment or disease which is keeping you from your best?

The problem with the medical field is the same situation presented by the political arena and also carries through into religious circles.

Cures are developed which are advertised and aren’t necessarily suited to the afflictions.

Politicians try to convince everybody that the economy, terrorism or health care are our three greatest issues. Are they? Will they bring a cure to our ills? Or is the dilemma actually that we still want to kick the shit out of each other?

In medicine, they get so excited about certain advancements and cures that they try to use them as a panacea for all conditions, while the conditions that really beset us—obesity, drug addiction and lack of physical activity—continue to hang around, making us sicker and sicker every day.

And in religion, a savior is offered who doesn’t seem to bring any more insight, wisdom or opportunity our way once we’ve been baptized and born again in our further confusion.

What is the cure?

Three steps:

  1. Ease the symptoms. Make people more comfortable.
  1. Find out where it hurts.
  2. Treat as lightly as possible. Don’t assume it’s a flesh-eating bacteria.

That seems to be the best cure. It’s one that people will tolerate.

Even though we’re all dying and will ultimately end in the grave—as dust and ash—we don’t need to do it every day.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cud

Cud: (n) the portion of food that a ruminant returns from the first stomach to the mouth to chew a second time.

I am susceptible.

I don’t like to admit it.

Often, it’s why I refuse to watch medical shows or even programs of itinerant travelers who share experiences of strange lands, animals and diseases.

I buy in too easily.

Such a thing happened to me short years ago. In my ongoing pursuit to remove the mythology of my obesity and supposedly create the human-flesh-muddle that I’m meant to be, I listened to a young, slender woman (my first mistake) expound upon the importance of chewing your food at least twenty times before swallowing.

She explained that this not only made digestion easier, but also that chewing at for such an extended period of time caused us to eat less, and therefore promoted weight loss.

In that moment–in my flurry of passion and with her apt representation– she was able to convince me to try. She closed off her discourse by highlighting that animals like the cow chew their cud over and over again until it is just a mushy mess of drippy liquid, which they then gulp.

Surviving her vivid description, I sat down to my dinner that night and decided to pursue my own cud chewing.

I quickly realized that my normal number of chews for consumption was four or five.

I was still comfortable with eight chews.

At twelve I had to take my mind to a faraway place to keep insanity from ensuing.

When I finally reached twenty and tried to swallow, nothing happened. (All the little gushy, mushy pieces had already snuck down my throat to the stomach to the awaiting stomach).

Yet faithful pilgrim that I am, I continued this practice for an entire meal.

It was exhausting—so tiring it was that at the end of the feast, I found myself needing energy—starved.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Clamber

Clamber: (v) to climb, move, or get in or out of something in an awkward and laborious way, typically using both hands and feet

It’s difficult to know whether we are judged by what we’re able to achieve, or how well we overcame the obstacles that attempt to forbid
achievement.

Yes, you could discuss that one for hours.

It reminds me of the time I took my children to an amusement park. I was still a very young man, but very fat. This created an immediate perplexity. Because I was young, I envisioned things I could do, often not taking into consideration the extra baggage I was bringing along.

Another example:

We went out on a boat trip. They had a little, thin gangplank to get on the boat, which I was grateful to have negotiated. So I assumed that when we returned there would be some sort of similar passageway from the front of the boat onto the dock again.

There wasn’t.

They eased the boat toward the landing, leaving a gap of about three feet between the boat and the safety of the dock. Well, other folks gave it a little bit of a running start, leaped into the air and came down safely onto the pier.

I kept inching my way behind people, letting them go first. I guess I was hoping that I would have a few minutes at the end, to figure out what to do, but failed to realize that all the people stayed on the dock and were going to watch my grand leap.

I tried to make that running start, to clamber with my entire obese body, legs and arms in the air, and land safely.

Just when I got to the end of the boat, my brain said, “Are you crazy?”

An immediate order was given at Mind Central: STOP!!

I nearly tumbled into the water but was able to step back. Then I tried to reach one leg across, and was able to get my foot onto the surface, but I was spread too far to get any pressure on the leg to push me over.

By this time I had secured an audience.

People began to make suggestions. My children were trying to hide and my wife was already being comforted by strangers.

At this point, I decided it was impossible. The ordeal went for ten minutes. The combination of fear, practicality and my limitations was turning me into a sea-lovin’ man.

Finally the captain took a rope and hooked it around some sort of turret and pulled the whole boat a bit closer–with just his sheer brute force. This received applause from those standing by. Even more humiliation.

I still was not able to find a “clambering” approach to leaving the boat. So three guys reached down, grabbed me under my arms and on the count of three, hoisted me up on the dock.

I attempted to land with some authority, stomping my feet a couple of times so the people around me would be aware that I had muscular ability, then quickly grabbed my family and disappeared into the crowd, heading for the refreshment stand.

After all, I was hungry from all the exertion.

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Chocolate

Chocolate: (n) a food preparation made from roasted and ground cacao seeds, typically sweetened.

Obesity is a bitch, because it bitches at you because you’re obese.

It forces you to think about food more than you need to, which can eventually cause you to rebel about being confined.

After all, I’ve never seen a prisoner who’s grateful for being locked up because it made him eat more vegetables.

Likewise, even though being fat does require some disciplinary action, removing the finer parts of life–for instance, chocolate– is what the constitution may have meant by “cruel and unusual punishment.”

So sometimes the prisoner locked within the fatty walls must break out and be free.

Matter of fact, it happened to me last night.

I wanted some chocolate.

Realizing that a Milky Way candy bar is in the hundreds of calories, and even a pack of M & M’s has way too much sugar, I did discover a tiny piece of delight called the Candy Kiss, which ended up being just 22 calories and 2.6 grams of sugar.

Now obviously, one Candy Kiss is not enough, especially if you’ve been locked up in solitary for a long period of time, devoid of the pleasure. But sometimes you can convince yourself to hold it to three.

Three Candy Kisses, bitten in half, creating six bites of chocolate, is a mind-boggling, soul-altering spiritual revival, with a good shout of “Hallelujah” followed by a creamy “A-men.”

Sometimes nothing will replace chocolate.

I certainly enjoy my asparagus, but I cannot truthfully say that it is related, coordinated, conjoined or entwined with the marvelous miracle of chocolate.

 

 

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Caddie

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Caddie: (n) a person who carries a golfer’s clubs

Mike was always trying to figure out ways to make money. He was a fifteen-year-old entrepreneur before anybody was prepared to spell or
pronounce the word.

He liked me.

Now, Mike weighed about 122 pounds. I also weighed 122 pounds–but stored 150 more as a backup. So Mike had a lot of stamina. I just had a lot.

Mike had the brilliant idea of going to the new golf course just outside our town and offering his service as a caddie to our limited supply of financially successful people. He did it for two or three weekends, and came back with… cash.

At fifteen years of age, I so infrequently saw money that it seemed almost mystical and certainly magical.

Mike convinced me that I should take my 270-plus pounds and go out with him the next weekend to caddie at the golf center. He explained that it was nothing more than going on a long walk. (I should have realized at that point that it had been many years since I had been on a long walk. My personal preference was a long drive.)

But I agreed and arrived at the gold course at 8:00 A. M. sharp to carry the bags for Mr. Fundergetz. Now, I’m sure that’s not his real name, but he said it with a German accent so quickly that the best I could ascertain was “Fundergetz.” Most of the morning I opted to call him “sir.”

I had not realized that golf courses were measured in yards–and this was before anyone had thought about using a golf cart. By the time I reached the third hole, carrying the bags and trying to keep up with Fundergetz, I was panting, sweating down the insides of my legs and so flushed in the face that he became concerned for me and asked me to sit down while he ran and got some ice for my forehead.

After a few moments of recuperation, I said, “I’m fine now, and it won’t be too much longer, right?”

At this point, Fundergetz explained to me that it was an eighteen-hole golf course and we were only one-sixth of the way through.

Noting the fear on my face, my trembling brow and a tear coming to the corner of my eye, he showed mercy on me, handed me two dollars and asked if I could make it back to the clubhouse on my own.

I was so humiliated.

Mike was so disappointed.

I was completely emasculated by the whole experience.

So when I arrived back at the clubhouse to complete my restoration, I got two hot dogs, a coke and a Baby Ruth candy bar.

It is amazing how good they made me feel.

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