This piece originally appeared here on March 3, 2014, the last time we had a winter like this in Chicago. On account of this …
… I’m afraid it might be becoming relevant once again. —DM
It came on like going broke: little by little, and then all at once.
I blame it entirely on the weather this winter. The record snow, combined with the constant cold. Well that, in combination with my refusal to do any of the following: pay for a gym membership, run in deep snow or sheer ice or under 20-degree weather, or curtail the slovenly eating and enthusiastic drinking that make regular exercise mandatory for me.
No regular running for two straight months. The usual eating and drinking.
I am fat.
As the weather improves, I’ll start running again in earnest. I hope that by June my fatness will have receded to its normal, pushing-maximum-density level, where I can tighten my torso and pretend I’m 27 again. Okay, 35.
Meanwhile, while I’m fat, I thought I’d make some observations about being fat. I don’t know much about the emotional effects, because I don’t emotionally realize yet that I am fat. It’s just an intellectual thing. I look in the mirror expecting to see myself, and there’s a chubby dude standing there. I dismiss the husky imposter and go on about my day.
Physically, though … this sucks.
You constantly feel your shirt scraping against your fucking belly, reminding you ever step you take that you are fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat. I find myself absentmindedly designing shirts that have a rigid awning that juts out right below the nipples and dangles the shirt out beyond the belly, so the thing clears. (How many inches is your overhang? That’s your belly size. In America, shirts should have belly sizes. “Yeah, I want an extra large awning shirt with a 10-inch belly.”)
Also: You know why fat guys scratch their bellies? Because fat bellies itch. Probably because they’re in friction with shirt fabric all effing day long. Hold on a sec, I have to itch my belly.
And the worst thing about being fat (at least at the manageable level at which I am currently fat)? Eating and drinking aren’t as much fun. Because they make you fatter. Not eventually. Immediately. The thick luxury towel you that you now normally have strapped to your belly after that big screwdriver and pizza you just consumed—that’s now a sandbag. It aches to sit up straight. I’m typing this leaning back with my legs out straight, because I just ate a six-inch sandwich from Potbelly.
All I want to do is lie on my back. I’m thinking of having a TV installed in the ceiling.
To sum it up: Being fat makes your clothes your enemy, makes you itch all the time and takes all the pleasure out of eating and drinking.
If I have more insights between now and the time my belly stops itching, I’ll share them. Because I am a communicator. And communicators communicate—tall ones, short ones, skinny ones and fat ones.