Fat is a relative thing

Posted Dec. 23, 2011, at 6:33 p.m.

Yes, it’s true. I am a fat pig.

But somehow, I have lived to be 71 years old, while many of my fellow road warriors dropped out of the race last year. My favorite doctor tells me that my blood pressure is acceptable, even though not as low as he would like. Cholesterol is no problem. We won’t speak about blood sugar, whatever that is.

I get the usual amount of grief from my skinnier friends, all the time. I patiently remind them of the 12-inch scar on their chest, or their most recent visit to Penobscot Bay Medical Center. No less than four of my younger, sprier compatriots have had stents inserted in their chests this year. Not funny. Most of them are skinny and workout maniacs.

When I get my blood pressure readings, I often call some of them from the doctor’s office to update them on my health. One, who has had blood pressure problems for decades despite running and biking furiously, always says, “Why don’t you have another doughnut, you fat (expletive).” I enjoy that.

One of the stent veterans, one Bill Harting of Plymouth, Mass., a “born editor” was the only one who offered a positive comment from his hospital bed, no less. “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.” Much better advice, I believe, than another stop at Dunkin’ Donuts.

With all of this in mind, plus an impending 100-mile bicycle trip in Florida, I decided to make my comeback at the local YMCA. My doctor suggested joining a health club for much-needed exercise. I have spent so much time on my Simmons hide-a-bed couch that I have some fear the pattern has been imprinted on my manly buttocks. I constantly think of “Uncle Junior” Soprano who was placed under house arrest after his mistrial. “I have been farting on the same spot on this couch for six months,” he complained.

I feared that I would never be able to make the 100 miles (motels along the way) without some fine tuning. When asked how many days it would take to complete the 100 miles, St. John’s River-Gulf Coast trek, I have estimated 100 days, with layovers at various motels. Just kidding.

In previous years, I have overdosed at the YMCA before the annual Florida trip, in a furious effort to remove decades of indolence, and pulled and strained various muscles. One year, I could barely get out of my truck to visit the Florida welcome center. This year, I have approached those dreaded Nautilus machines with care, hoisting as little as possible, rather than as much as possible. There is no one to impress any longer. As long as I can raise a sweat, I consider it a worthwhile workout.

The strange thing is that I love to work out at the gym, once I get there.

The problem is putting that first Nike out the door. There is always an excuse. I am too tired, too sore. I don’t feel good. It’s too cold, or too icy or even too hot. I am expecting a phone call. The couch is calling. “The Sopranos” is on, or another update to the battle of Stalingrad. My impossibly thin niece Michelle thinks she should be showered with confetti for going in the YMCA door. I think I should be confetti-showered for leaving my door.

My diabolical plot now is to continue my new exercise program just as long as possible. After all, my sainted mother lived to be 90 years old and she never joined the YMCA. I will get even for all those “doughnut” and “fat boy” jokes one by one. I will wear my size 52 long, Oscar de la Renta sports jacket to all of their funerals and hospital visits.

Except for Bill Harting. He is allowed to live forever.

Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at emmetmeara@msn.com.

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