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Daze of My Life: A Scale of Two Weights

Daze of My Life
A Scale of Two Weights

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," there were euphoric highs, there were abysmal lows, there were numbers I thought I'd never see, there were other numbers I was tired of seeing. Overall, I've had a dickens of a time finding the proper balance between diet and exercise, risk and reward, pain and pleasure, finding clothes that fit and throwing a fit when clothes couldn't be found.
As a former shopper in the "Husky Department" in some of Boston's finest department stores (at least when I was younger): Jordon Marsh, Filene's and Kennedy's, I know all too well the frustration and disappointment the effect one's over-weight can have on their appearance and disposition. Every year that I went clothes-shopping with my mother, from childhood through adolescence, it was the same story; only the specific sizes, colors, styles, etc. changed. And though I never had great expectations that one day, one of these visits to downtown Boston wouldn't consume an entire day and/or that I wouldn't experience excruciating anxiety during the entire ordeal, still, I had hope that something would fit on the first try, anything, even if it were just the shoes.
Occasionally, something did fit, but more often than not, it was socks or underwear. Most everything else - pants, shirts, sweaters, sport coats, jackets - had to be tried on, then taken off, then another size selected, then that other size tried on, then taken off, and on and on. My dressing room would always be littered with the clothes that didn't make the fit. Pants were hanging on a hook, shirts and sweaters were piled on the bench, pins and needles and cardboard and plastic wrapping from the items I opened were scattered about like Halloween candy the morning after, except that there would be no inspection of this haul.
This haul was going nowhere, at least, nowhere with me. It had not made the cut, or more specifically, couldn't make it over my hips or around my stomach or over my shoulders. Either it was to be seen and approved by my mother and thus considered for a ride home and a place in my closet - ultimately to be worn and seen at school where occasionally a discouraging word was heard - or it would never been seen or heard from again. The reality was, when you're young and not exactly "a perfect 36," clothes don't exactly make the man, they embarrass and humiliate the man.
If I were to characterize my clothes-shopping in the past, my clothes-shopping in the present and my likely clothes-shopping in the future, my emotions would run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous with a few stops in between for apathy and indigestion. I don't really see how it could have been (continues to be) any different though. It's my body, it's my eating habits, it's my choice. I have no one to blame but myself but also I have nothing to fear. So far I'm healthy (relatively speaking), but unfortunately not wealthy.
A little extra weight never hurt anyone. The question is, how much is a little? Don't ask my wife, Dina, we don't exactly agree; so what else is new?

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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