Weight, Weight, Don’t Tell Me

Skinny Jim

I am at Hooked on Colfax and Mandy is making the most superb scones on the planet. The smell is killing me. Why? Dieting. I’ve spent the last 42 years of my life worrying about my weight. At 12 it became apparent that my “adorable chubbiness” that started when I was around 7 (judging from the scant photo evidence) was a problem. I clearly remember my Mom taking me to a doctor who put me on a diet around that time. Unfortunately that doctor’s appointment and my birthday were on the same day. That made the cake that night a sad and limited experience. The first three years of high school I played the designated fat kid role. I went to a small high school so I also got to be the AV nerd.

My senior year though was spent under the influence of Hank Kaiser. Hank was the chemistry and physics teacher and he was an amazing character. He was experimental when it came to teaching us and could easily be cajoled into spending at least part of class time talking about his Vietnam experiences or just generally bullshitting. That said, he was a really good teacher, teaching us to experiment and really understand the subject. He was also willing to experiment on his students. He knew that I was getting to a point where my fat (250+) was starting to become a hindrance to my social life. So one day Kaiser suggested a little bet between me and Leeann, who was also seeking to shed some pounds.

Kaiser suggested that we have a contest to see who could proportionally lose the most weight. Apparently it was the challenge I had been waiting for all my life as I lost around 80 pounds, handily defeating Lee (winning concert tickets to see Cheap Trick) and developing not the healthiest life long obsession with gaining and losing pounds. Right now I am well above 200 and I am sure most of it is poor self control, change in living arrangements and the great Colorado beer and bourbon coalition.

The extra weight also makes it harder to do the thing I do really love – run. The excess is not kind to my aging legs and my knees get sore even just walking longer distances. So, in this great Spring of great changes (more to come on that soon) I am shooting to get back to my skinny ideal. I’ve got some things that are going to require a svelte me, love mostly. Also it is so nice not to worry about what clothes I’m wearing in the morning. I have a friend in a similar situation and we talked about the powerfulness of being more fit or just fitting in to our clothes. She and I spend far too much time worrying about what will fit us from our closet each morning. Personally I’ve been wearing the same brand of pants (5 different pairs) for far too long, simply because I know they will fit. These are termed my fat pants.

In case you are wondering, my secret is calorie counting and radical denial. The diet started a few days ago (and after the first day my guilt often keeps me on track) but much earlier I gave up candy (more than two weeks now) and booze (a week-plus now). I work for a restaurant at night and swearing off their food and drink has been pretty hard, but I am strong. Let you know how it goes.

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Jan. 19, 2017. NYC

Hooked on Colfax is having an all female music day, more than likely in solidarity with the marches across the country. Today is 1/20 and the first anniversary of the Women’s March. I love the subtle perfection of listening to hours of fantastic women (in fact today I am wearing my Breeders t-shirt). I truly love the growth of the movement over the year and the explosion of the #metoo movement. This last year has been one that has been fascinating to watch. I started it on the night before Trump’s inauguration standing on a Manhattan street with many thousands of other people to protest what we felt was the onslaught of many repugnant things (we are not at this writing proven wrong). On the night of the election I wrote that there would be good that comes out of this election (and I have been proven right). These movements, this renewed activism, this awareness of our civil rights and our need to fight for them – they are all good things. I would prefer not to worry that a missile might hit us at any moment due to some errant act of braggadocio or that our government is complicit in amoral acts when it comes to how we treat individuals with darker skin than mine, but I know that we will be better for this in the long run. As a historian, all that is going on fascinates me. I grew up with pretty distinct images of Watergate hearings playing in my head. The current drama that surrounds Mr. Trump’s administration makes Nixon look like a saint.

As Rachel Maddow says all too often these day – “that’s weird.” But we will get through.

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