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Effortlessly Average

Sort of half-heartedly leading the charge into mediocrity since, oh, let's say around 1987 or so.

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Location: Roaming (additional charges may apply), Argentina

Proof that with internet access and a powerful laxative, even insipid people will blog; the place where your excellence and my mediocrity collide; where my Karma whips ass on your dogma.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ugh, I Could't Eat Another Bite. Wait, Are Those Brownies?

It has begun. With the coming of Halloween, we mark the beginning of the most important annual quest in every adult’s year: to make it through March wearing the same size clothing.

As Americans we celebrate opportunities to eat, especially during this time of year. And my family was the worst when I was growing up because every event that drew us together involved lots of food as well. But that’s not limited to only my family. As the world’s melting pot, we Americans spend half our time celebrating some holiday or other and the other half sitting in the McDonald’s drive-thru, planning our next meal, or – to hear my wife say it – angling for sex.

From Labor Day to Easter, the calendar is littered with holidays during which it’s perfectly acceptable – indeed, expected – for us to consume obscene numbers of calories before falling asleep drooling in front of the TV with your pants unzipped. Or is that just me? Surely I can’t be the only guy out there who will stand in front of the open fridge snacking on a bag of Doritos while I try to decide what to make for dinner. Not that I really do that, but I could. The extended holiday season – or “The 7th Circle of Hell,” as I like to call it (at least as it pertains to my physique) – starts with Halloween, builds through Thanksgiving and peaks with that absolute orgy of gluttony that is Christmas, followed shortly thereafter by Valentine’s Day and winding down with a gut-busting Easter feast.

And really this is the perfect time of year for comfort eating. From October to April we put away the tank tops, shorts, and bathing suits and pull out the big sweaters and jackets, not only for warmth, but to hide last week’s Hagen Daas. In the colder months we recreate with hot chocolate and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s “Orgasmic Fudge Brownie Diabetic Explosion.” In the summer, we might opt for watermelon and iced tea, but not during winter. By being forced indoors we’re also subjected to the constant calling from the Oreos in the cabinet. Wait – shhhh, you hear that? It’s them. I can hear their siren song right now. No.. no, on second thought the sudden tightening of my belt tells me that it’s not the Oreos, it’s that pint of Phish Food in the freezer.

That’s my super power, by the way: the ability to gain weight through osmosis. While others received the power to fly, become invisible, or look really smoking hot in a skin-tight lycra suit, I was granted the ability to gain five pounds from sniffing a measly grape. Spiderman has his spidey-sense to alert him to imminent danger. I have the ability to sit at my desk on the third floor and suddenly know if someone entering the basement parking garage is transporting a Boston Crème pie for Marketing’s pot luck. I am… Fatman! For the average human, consuming an extra 3,200 calories will result in one added pound of weight. But not for Fatman! As the world’s only functioning osmotic I am able to pack on a gravity shifting 6,423.78 pounds for every 1,000 calories I consume. “Come Boy Blubber, to the Fat-mobile! Shop-Rite is oppressing the Twinkies by stocking them in the back next to the imitation cheese spread!” “Holy remote locations, Fatman, no one will be able to find them there!” [queue the cheesy super hero music]

But I’m getting a bit far a-field. The point I’m trying to make is that there’s few significant holidays during the warmer months not because fewer historical events occurred during that time, but because people need the time to shed their holiday weight. No one wants to parade around in July showing everyone the body that Mrs. See built.

Every year it’s the same. I resolve to control my cravings and finish the season using the same hole on my belt. If I were really lucky, I’d even lose just enough weight so that my stomach doesn’t giggle when I brush my teeth. Then Halloween comes and in the course of trying to be a good dad I lose sight of my goal. As a responsible parent it’s my job to check the kids’ candy for any foreign objects or other such maladies that would seek to do their little bodies harm.

Each November 1st, my kids venture downstairs and go directly for their candy bags. Amid the sudden howler monkey torrent of whining and carrying on I pick out “Hey, who ate all my candy!?”

I wet my chocolate stained lips. “I had to -urp. I was checking it, you know, to be sure it’s safe.”

“But you ate all the chocolate stuff!”

“Yes, and it appears to be perfectly safe, too.”

“But you didn’t leave me any! All that’s left is the Sweet Tarts and hard candies!”

“Yeah, I don’t really like those, but I’m sure they’re fine.”

By the way, what message are we sending our children when we tell them we have to taste their candy before they eat any so we can be sure it’s safe? “Here son, let me try that first. And if I die a frothing convulsive death, don’t eat any more of that kind.”

Anyway, such is the life of Fatman. I recognize the awesome responsibilities associated with being both a super hero and a concerned dad. I also understand the benefits of comfort food. I once knew a mother who administered her parental counseling duties with physical activity. When one of her daughters would suffer a failed relationship, for example, this mother would encourage the child to hit the gym for a hard, satisfying hour of aerobics. I say there’s to no trauma that can’t be dulled by the flow of sweet corn syrup through your veins. I say when you wake from your sugar coma, everything will be better.

Of course there’s risks associated with this kind of philosophy. It means when I’m lying on the beach someone will inevitably begin throwing buckets of water on me in an effort to keep my skin moist while they determine the best way to haul me back to sea. It means biologists will rhetorically wonder what causes these noble creatures to beach themselves. It means people will assume you know more about what’s in a Twinkie than how to please a woman. It means when you board a crowded elevator, someone will invariably glance over to the brass plate engraved with the car’s weight limit. It means you have to take someone’s word that your shoes are shined or that your zipper’s down. It means hearing the bathroom scale scream “OH GOD NO-OOOO!” when you walk up to it.

But let’s not forget the advantages. I’m able to wear a tank top outside in 27 degree weather and still feel warm; when I go to the beach, I’m the only one who gets a tan; I have plenty of extra skin in case I ever need a skin graft; when I die, my “essential oils” will keep an entire village of Eskimos warm for the winter; my shoes stay dry when it rains; If I lose my front teeth and don’t shower for a month, I’m virtually guaranteed a spot on the Jerry Springer show; and if I should die in a fire, the area would smell like S’mores.

So loosen those belts, unsnap those jeans, and raise your spoons with me to that testament to over-indulgence known as THE HOLIDAYS! Then we’ll all visit Bovine’s Big and Tall Store together in April.

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