Archived Story

Losing weight or choosing to wait? Hmm.

Published 10:31am Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Column: Tales from Exit 22, by Al Batt

I stepped from the shower and onto the bathroom scale.

The Roman numerals exhibited there shocked me. Our bathroom scale is ancient and I was sure it was wrong, so I looked in the mirror. I thought I was looking at some guy from a parallel universe.

It couldn’t have been me. I can still get into a stocking hat I wore when I was a junior in high school. I’m still able to get out of the house without the help of a forklift, but I can’t contemplate my navel without noticing the neighborhood it lives in. It’s growing. Any reflection of my navel involves lint removal. That is done regularly so there will be room in my belly button for the salt I need when eating radishes while lying on the sofa and listening to a Van Morrison CD.

I used to punch a hole in a new belt so it’d be tight enough to fit me. I don’t have to do that anymore.

As a young fellow, I was so skinny that the football coach told me to eat more buttered popcorn in order to put on weight.

I don’t eat much buttered popcorn today. I don’t often eat too much of anything, but I frequently eat too fast. I blame my haste on growing up on a farm. I ate lunches on hayracks and tractors. I had to eat quickly before the food got dirty.

For decades, I played ball — football, basketball, softball, baseball and volleyball. I pursued any endeavor offering the possibility of a skinned knee. I tried golf and bowling, but couldn’t keep the rules of the two games separate. I kept getting holes-in-one in bowling. I played basketball and baseball from the backs of donkeys, and softball on lake ice. Those activities entitled me to membership in the Brotherhood of the Athletically Silly. I played sports so frequently that my wife thought that Ben Gay was my choice as cologne.

Then I gave up all sports. A few pounds joined me in my retirement from team sweat. I put on winter weight that wasn’t seasonal.

I still exercise. My exercise program is forgetfulness. I forget things and have to walk back to get them. I like to walk, especially outdoors. Winter makes that difficult. Winter in Minnesota is sometimes called, “We’re freezing to death in deep snow!” Thoughts freeze. The first time that happened to me, you could have knocked me over with a snowball. A neighbor maintains that one should be soaking wet after a workout. He walks through car washes.

I joined an aerobic step class, but never went. It was on the third floor and there was no elevator.

There is proof that aliens from other planets walk amongst us. No, they’re not members of Congress. They’re those people who say, “I eat anything I want and never gain an ounce.”

I watch what I eat. Sort of. I vacuum the sprinkles off the doughnuts.

A friend is a vegan. She eats things that look like the stuff on the bottom of a gerbil’s cage. I tried eating it, but the more I chewed, the bigger it became.

Someone suggested that I keep a diary of what I eat. That helped. I found my problem. Every page had gravy stains.

I decided to go on a diet. None of my ancestors ever went on one. They were hard working farmers. They lost weight through vigorous eating. Our family crest has butter on it.

I’m on the “Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don’t think that I can take it, ’cause it took so long to bake it, and I’ll never have that recipe again” diet.

I’ve found it easier to lose a waiter than to lose weight. There are so many things in life that a man cannot count on, but I can count on not losing weight.

I’ve lost a few pounds here and there, from having the flu or from eating my own cooking, but I’ve always found them again. I’m trying to eat at more buffets, so I’ll get exercise getting the food.

I’ve learned it’s wise to combine diet with exercise because it’s difficult to eat while exercising.

When ice covers the ground, making walking treacherous, and an extra pound threatens to materialize, I pedal an exercise bicycle.

I like the stationary bike, but it gets me nowhere. That’s the same place my diet takes me.

I’m afraid the only way I’ll reach my ideal weight is by growing taller.

Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.