August 3, 2011
Do I Look Fat in This Blog?
Mon semblable--mon frère!
|I got the results of the annual June checkup about a week ago and learned
that once again I teeter chubbily on the precipice of obesity. Diabetes
lurks around every dark corner toward which I waddle, licking its green
Grinch-like lips with its little forked Chihuahua-like tongue at the prospect
of sawing off my extremities one by one and roasting them on a spit greased
with the lost flab of Jonah Hill; in the middle distance an early grave doth gape for me thrice wider than for other men.
The results also confirm that I’m 5 foot 9, that I weigh 137 pounds, that my BMI is 20.3, that my bad cholesterol is slightly but not alarmingly elevated, and that my erect pecker measured from the base checks in at a spirited eight inches. Oh, all right, the results omit the latter detail. And to my knowledge, no surveying has been conducted down there since the first Bush presidency, so I may have lost a half inch or so. The ravages of Time, and all that. But it never hurts to get that stat out there, I think.*
And the report doesn’t in so many words state that I “teeter chubbily on
the precipice of obesity.” Instead, in its very Japanese way, it proclaims
me a borderline case of “metabolic syndrome”—but you can look it up: same difference. The report demands that I abandon my evil ways or risk
a sudden career change from English teacher to inert clump of fertilizer.
My reaction to that? In a word:
It’s a word you will not often encounter in this family-friendly blog, but still: I mean, fuck, man. You know?
This is the third year in a row that I have received the “metabo” red flag,
and the first year I strove to avoid it. I dropped four pounds since the
2010 checkup and trimmed 0.5 from the BMI, and yet the anonymous Gods of
the Regular Physical Examination Personal Report cast their doleful gaze
upon these data and proclaimed--in purple text, no less:
Not good enough.
The rub, it seems, is my waistline. My waistline spans a hefty 87.0. Yes,
yes, appalling, I know. However, that figure is in centimeters. In inches
it comes to the somewhat less dizzying 34.3—down from last year’s 35.6.
And yes, sure, I’ll be the first to admit that my weight and waistline
can’t compete with those of such fellow citizens of Five-Feet-Nine-Ville
as Blake, Katie and Cameron, but shouldn’t I at least get bonus points for not taking naked pictures
of myself, leaking them, and then denying that they’re of me?** I certainly think so, and yet the Gods of RPEPR shake their gory locks
in unison and proclaim:
Not good enough.
If you read the fine print of the form, it turns out that it would, in
fact, be good enough if I were a woman. The “metabo” waistline threshold
for men is 85 cm but for women it is 90 cm. So it appears that my options
are (1) shed another couple cm from the waistline by next year, or (2)
slip into a Hillary Clinton pantsuit and sneak into the women’s checkup,
where I should do just fine.
Penetrate the following paragraph only if your hobbies include listening
to financially comfortable middle-aged white men whining about minor indignities.
But, I mean, really now. It’s not as if I’ve devolved into one of these
cart-driving Walmart shoppers who can no longer see his own penis. Good
heavens, beneath my modest little gut I could even make out Donald Trump’s
penis. And when I run down steps—not an infrequent event at my college,
it being so rife with assassins—there is not a single part of me that jounces
every which-a-way a la Winona Ryder during her glorious staircase sprint in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.***
And let’s back up a second here: Why on earth do women get that extra 5 cm of slack? Whoever came up with that rule must be one of those freaks who get off on “metabolic syndrome porn.” You think I just made that up, but check out this NSFW link to an opus entitled “Metabolic Sluts.”
Look, I know what the Japanese medical community is aiming for here. It’s
a zero tolerance policy, something akin to the way Rudy Giuliani cleaned
up New York City by cracking down on graffiti artists and the like. Drive the Squeegee Men from the neighborhood, and the heroine dealers
will follow. By the same token, make all the aging failed writers with
BMIs of 20 feel like Kathy Bates in About Schmidt every time they peel off their shirts and you nip in the bud any thoughts
they may be nursing along the lines of, "Everybody else from my high
school class looks like jiggling mounds of tofu, so what the hell--I'll
just let myself go, too." That way, you stave off an epidemic of diabetic
bloggers twenty years down the road.
So their hearts are in the right place, these Gods of RPEPR with their
casually tossed off charges of obesity. But still, I mean…
Like, fuck, man! You know?
|** No, Blake, I wasn’t looking at you just then. Well, okay, I was looking at you just then. Remember the one where you’re on your hands
and knees? That’s my desktop backdrop now. Thanks loads for that. Always
perks me up.
|*** I'm going to go out on a limb here and declare this to be the most famous stairway-running scene in the history of...well, stairs.