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Pickett Fences: Fatty Acid

July/August 2002

There was that unmistakable sound of horror swaddled in pity, a blend served with equal parts condescension and hope for a better tomorrow. A sort of gasp, and then a silence as full as a fat baby's diapers.

I have heard this sound before.

I was talking with an old friend, someone who has been my friend since the late 80s. We haven't lived in the same city much -- he's done San Francisco, natch, and is doing New York now, natch natch -- while I have kept my booty deeply rooted here in the City of Broad Bottoms.

A Cowtown I adore thoroughly, except the fact that there are disproportionately FAR too many aforementioned bottoms here.

I stand before you today and call for the immediate export of superfluous bottoms, you know who you are, along with the simultaneous import of authentic, bona fide, test-driven tops.

Can we get this on the radar screen please?

So back to the terror. He recently came to visit, my "New York" friend, and prior to his triumphant arrival in this quaint little hamlet, here on our beautiful midwestern shoreline, we were on the phone plotting and making arrangements. This is when the awful truth became known, and the world was now some kind of insane Sustiva nightmare. Though I had uttered this awful truth before, yes many times, it is my college-dropout guess that I had been previously unable to pierce the dense layers of his denial, self-absorption and time-share on Fire Island with the "right people" mentality.

Ya know, you'd have thunk I'd admitted to selling orphaned seven-year-olds from Sierra Leone to Saddam Hussein who in turn harvested their organs for cash to buy strippers for Osama.

You'da thunk.

You'd have thunk I said, "I have no desire, WHATSOEVER, to ever, EVER live in New York." Which I have said, more than twice, but even that is not as scary as what did issue like antiretroviral vomit from betwixt my foul, pursed lips.

Who knew I could be so shocking, so gelatinous, so outré.

"Well doll," I said, calmly responding to his rather ludicrous proposition that we meet at the gym, "my" gym. "As you may or may not recall," I continued clearly, firmly, "I have no gym to call my own -- as I have not worked out nary a single day, Mary, since a cold gray May in 1994 when I said ... no more."

Stunned. A shriek, followed by a pause pregnant with Siamese octuplets, and then, "You don't work out?" The desolation, the despair in his voice -- was he crying? Mind you, this is the man who used to laugh hysterically about nipple ponies and steroid sissies, who was convinced pecs and biceps were for other people. This is the man who is now so deeply traumatized by my, "I don't belong to a gym," announcement. But underneath the shriek and the fertile pause, there was a dash of hope, that perhaps I was just joking, that, surely I was only acting like a silly nelly ... "Oh golly, there goes that wacky and unpredictable sense of humor, oh you slay me! I thought maybe dementia was setting in ... like you don't have a gym."

"No hon ... I ... DON'T ..."

Nope. I don't work out, aight? My six-pack's on the inside, umkay? I'm eating for two, maybe three now. And no matter how many times I "accidentally" fall down the stairs or loll in chemical spills, I continue to eat for two, maybe three. Babies are tougher than we give them credit for.

I don't have time neither, anymore, like I used to, back in the old days, back when things were different. I have a fascinating career now, that takes me to fabulous places like Omaha and Springfield. "The Simpsons" is on three times a day during the week now. I have more lying on the couch to do, more naps to take, more stalking on the Internet, more downloading of porn, more international long distance phone calls to dial than ever. And I require a lot of time for reflection. It's about balance. There's simply no room in my life for "working out." Yes, if I made it a priority, I'd make time. I could make cuts. I could combine my couch time with my reflection time. I could find twenty or thirty hours a week to go pump on the iron, to go work, work, work, my body, to lie in wait in the steam room, patiently, for hours ... and hours ... and hours.

But ya know what? I don't fucking care. My couch is lovely. It's a Jennifer Convertible, and I love her.

I buy my underwear on sale at Marshall's, my flat-ware is from the dollar store, and I don't know WHERE the hell the gym is anymore. And despite all that, somehow I continue to survive -- a big fat cockroach clutching a can of Pringles and a nicely chilled liter of Coke.

Hate me because I'm bigger. Hate me because I'm better. Hate me because I will always beat you.

But don't hate me for being bountiful.

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To read more of Jim Pickett's columns, click here.

This article was provided by Positively Aware. It is a part of the publication Positively Aware. Visit Positively Aware's website to find out more about the publication.
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