The Battle of the Bulge

    Monday was a hard start to the week. It seems we always try to fit 4 days’ worth of stuff into two days, which had me feeling my age as the alarm chirped to life at 5:00 AM. I made my way through my pre-work activities at a zombie like pace. Even our dog Sacha seemed to sympathize and wasn’t pushing me to get her ham and eggs ready. I had a cup of coffee, listened to the Trump/police shooting news and headed upstairs to get dressed. 
     I was actually running on schedule until I tried to open the back door. It appeared that a screen had blown over and became wedged barring me from exit. ‘Typical Monday’, I thought. Luckily it would open just enough that I could grab the screen. As I squatted down to grab it I heard the ripping of fabric. Instantly I knew my Monday had just gotten a little worse. 

     If you haven’t had a pair of pants come apart in the seat I must tell you it is more than just a little disheartening. Of course there’s the initial frustration of having to change pants but there is also a deep kind of sadness in knowing that the seat of your pants gave up the fight of trying to hold your ample bum within its fabric walls. Now, I would like to say this was the first time this type of thing has happened to me…. but I can’t. 

     The emotional scars of torn pants are merely surface wounds to a guy who has been fighting the battle of the bulge since childhood. Actually I would say it all started when I was around 9 or 10. We were at Sears shopping for my first day of school outfit. A nice lady came up and asked if we needed assistance. My mom told her what we were looking for. 

     She looked at me, smiled and said, “I know just what you need, if you would follow me I’ll show you some pants from our “husky” line for boys.” 
     Now by “husky” she didn’t mean rugged and fierce like a Siberian Husky, no, she meant “husky” like a first world child with to much meat on their bones. That lady. That shopping trip. Those pants. They all were my introduction into a club of sorts. The members of this club didn’t hold meetings or have a fancy handshake but we all could identify other members anytime we were thrust into situations that never seemed to bother the beautiful people.   
     Some of you are with me but others are lucky enough not to get it, so here are a couple of examples that come to mind:   

     Swimming pools: Even at an age when it really shouldn’t have mattered, the public pool was a place of horror and to make things worse it would be decades before swim shirts were even a thing. Either you let it all hang out or you wore a tee shirt that all too often was white and only served to magnify the problem. I remember spending most of my time watching safely from the concession area as the beautiful people bounced gleefully off the diving board all the while hoping that no one would try to coax me out of my seat or worse yet my shirt.  

     Gym class: I could probably just leave it at that. I am sure if you think with a sympathetic mind you can imagine at least a dozen compromising situations, so I will share but one. 5 on 5 basketball in middle school. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Unless you were forced to play shirts vs skins. Worse yet, I swear the PE coach knew the members of my club and intentionally picked us to be the skins. To make things even more painful we shared the gym with the girls. I can still remember the look of terror on the girls faces as I chugged my way down the court, things were jiggling that just shouldn’t be jiggling. 

     I’m not saying my childhood was rough by any means but I can tell you that us “husky” people aren’t always jolly. 

     So that’s what I started thinking Monday morning as I stood there in my ripped pants. I decided that from now on I’ll work to improve my health and in turn my weight but I am not going to let myself be held to a standard that I cannot genetically maintain because there are a lot more of us Jonah Hills out here than Channing Tatums. I am not going to go as far as playing basketball without a shirt (nobody wants to see that) but I will try to be less insecure about my appearance.

     And just maybe if you see that kid sitting off to the side of the pool you can let him know that very few of us feel good about how we look in a swim suit because there is nothing worse than thinking you are the only one.

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