A Not So Delicate Balance

Unfortunately, I need to visit my periodontis three times yearly to have my teeth cleaned.  At almost each visit, on seeing me, my dental hygienist remarks that I look like I’ve lost weight. This is about as intimate and personal as she and I get.  The balance of our non-relationship generally consists of her talking while I have things in my mouth and can’t engage.  This feels familiar as it more or less mirrors a lot of the other non-relationships that I have in my civilian life.

Last week I had one of those appointments.  And Helen, my hygienist, didn’t disappoint.  As I was settling into the ergonomically designed torture chair, she asked rhetorically, “Are you getting skinnier?” But I was prepared for her this time. I told her that quite the opposite was true. You see, I had just completed a month-long program aimed at gaining some weight.  And in fact, she was looking at a six or seven pound heavier version of myself.

The impetus to add some additional weight was a scary moment that I had when I weighed myself at a gym I had joined the prior month. The locker room has one of those scales that uses balance weights. The only time I ever weigh myself is when I’m at my doctor’s office for a check-up and that’s the weight that I have in my head.  But when I set the balance weights at that number, the scale didn’t register.  I kept sliding one of the weights lower and lower until the balance beam finally settled at a number that I’m too embarrassed to write down.  Let me just say that it’s a figure somewhere between my weight at three months old and my senior year in high school.

Stripes can be sooo thinning

Stripes can be sooo thinning

At first I thought that, despite feeling fine, I had some kind of consumption . . . meaning that my body was being devoured little by little and I would soon be able to borrow clothes from Al Sharpton.  But then I remembered that I had been a little sick during the prior week and hadn’t had much of an appetite and maybe that could be the cause of my lightness, not some rare fatal disease.  So I began a program to try to fatten myself up. With an eye towards adding calories that weren’t empty, I bought a ton of protein bars (Costco) and a vat of Ensure.  I even forced myself to finish my meals at restaurants which was doubly painful because it not only made me want to throw up but deprived me of my beloved leftovers.

And (en)sure enough, in a matter of a month I was able to get my weight close to the baseline of my doctor’s scale. I was feeling pretty good about the way I had handled the whole matter.  And then, last week Yduj and I went to Florida for a short vacation.  On a rainy day I went to the gym in the hotel where we were staying. There was a scale there that looked exactly like the one in my gym.  I got on it and fiddled with the balance weights. All of a sudden I weighed a lot more than I had just a few days before. I mean a lot more! Apparently not all scales are created equal.

So now, I’m on a bit of a diet. But that’s not the worst of it. What’s really bothersome is I now have this enormous trove of weight gaining supplements.  Which leads me to the question, “Anyone know how to get in touch with Reverend Al?”

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