Some little fat fellow is sitting pretty in the south of France. Basking in the sun in the navel up position, he looks like an expectant mother about to pop at any moment. His shirtless, tan belly is constricted at the waste by a pair of bright fluorescent Bermuda shorts screaming for mercy as they are stretched to capacity.
Mr. Porkbelly is living high on the hog spending my money. Along with my mullah, he has rooted up bucketfuls of cash from fat fellows like himself, unwary pudgy patrons who lack the self-discipline to say no; no to the grease, no to the second helping of mashed potatoes, no to the all-you-can-eat buffet. But yes is what they said to his creation, and now it has paid great dividends to his bottom line.
There are two groups of pants in my closet; those that are worn regularly, and those that reside toward the back with a line of dust across them where they straddle the hanger. A few months ago, I had to retire a pair of the pants that were in my regular rotation because I ripped a hole in them. This forced me to shake the dust off of the back inventory to see if my girth would allow me to fasten them around my mid-section.
Now Sunday morning fifteen minutes prior to leaving for church is not the time to rummage through the dusty pants section of the closet, but I found myself doing it nonetheless. I was certain that I could get a pair of my reserve pants on, especially since it was fall and I hadn’t even packed on my layer of insulation for the winter yet. After selecting a pair of black ones and putting them on, I quickly discovered that someone must have snuck in and swapped the pants I thought I had with some that I must have owned in high school. I was in for an upper-body workout if these pants were going to fit around my mid-section.
For reasons that are obvious when I attempt to look at my feet, the hook and clasp on this pair of pants still lacked about two or three inches before they had any chance of saying hello to one another. I huffed and I puffed and I blew all of the air out of my lungs. As the air was coming out, my stomach was coming in as I sucked inward giving it everything I could muster. With no air left in my lungs and my belly button kissing my backbone, I gripped hard on each portion of my pants and pulled the clasp and hook toward each other until my arms cramped, and although they got very close to each other, it didn’t happen. I took a break and breathed a little. Three attempts later I finally made the connection, relaxed the muscles in my arms, and tried to adjust the tourniquet that was now fastened securely around my waist.
There are multiple reasons for my continual girth explosion, which I’m sure has nothing to do with my lack of self-discipline. It’s quite simple really—food is my friend and exercise is not. Let me introduce you to a few of my “companions”.
Cheese is my friend, a comfort in times of trouble. It comes in all shapes, sizes, and textures such as sliced or grated cheddar, Easy Cheese in a can, mozzarella on pizza or lasagna, or Monterey Jack cheese on Mexican food. Cheese is at its best when melted and is quite delicious in a variety of methods served as cheese dip with chips. Pardon me while I wipe the drool from my chin.
A close relative of cheese calls my name when I am in the store. Those short, sensational orange bundles of flavor are hard to pass up. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I were talking about baby carrots? No chance of that. I’m talking cheese puffs here, and not those fancy name brand ones either. The store brand version of those taste tantalizers are the very best. A nice bag of cheese puffs brings joy to the end of a stressful day and adds companionship to a stacked up deli-style sandwich dripping with mayo.
Two other items that bring a great deal of satisfaction to me when ingested regularly are coffee and chocolate. My day just does not seem quite right unless it begins with a couple of nice cups of black coffee. Problem is, I also enjoy those same two cups later in the day after lunch, along with a good dose of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate. Imagine how excited I was a few years ago when I discovered the wonderful health benefits of adding dark chocolate to my diet on a daily basis. I could have my health and eat it too.
One other distant cousin to Mr. Cheesepuff that I have failed to mention is of the female persuasion, and my how persuasive she is. She is not an advocate of liposuction, but instead does just the opposite by injecting herself with heavy doses of hydrogenated fat. Although she goes by the first name of Little, I’m guessing that Ms. Debbie is not really little at all. Often a substitute for breakfast or a fill-in for my after lunch coffee chocolate, Little Debbie and her snack cakes come over for a visit way too often.
I’ve opened my eyes now. The food dream is over. Now back to those britches I was talking about earlier.
After having gone to church on that fateful Sunday having had no circulation in my lower extremities due to the pressure around my waist, it was time to go shopping for a pair of replacement pants. That afternoon I visited a local retailer, found the pair of pants I was looking for in the size I should not be wearing, and mumbled something about not buying anymore pants that big.
I got the pants home and tried them on and was amazed at how well they fit considering the fact that I had bought them in a size that I was sure would still be a little snug. Perhaps I was not getting as fat as I thought I was. What I discovered after further investigation was that the pants had a concealed elastic waistband, quite hidden from my site when I purchased them.
Had I walked blindly into the realm of the old man elastic pants section? Some little robust tailor must have created this wonderfully evil invention and was now reaping the rewards of his ingenuity on the bellies of our all-you-can-eat society.
Speaking of all-you-can-eat, on the day before Easter every year we travel to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and today was no exception. On this clear sunny day we enjoyed a wonderful visit with them, ate lots of good food, and had an exciting Easter egg hunt for the little ones.
As I was getting dressed this morning before we left, our daughter Hannah came into the room as I was tucking my shirt into my jeans. Doing so was like stuffing ten pounds of potatoes in a five pound bag, but I managed to pull it off. The harder task came when I had to cinch the top of the potato sack by buttoning my jeans and zipping them up. I managed it with not a small amount of effort. After that I reached for my belt and had it in hand when I looked up and saw Hannah giving me a funny look as if she had an amazing dose of honesty to share with me. She did.
With head shaking and eyebrows raised, she matter-of-factly said, “Daddy, I don’t think you need that belt. Your jeans fit tight enough to stay up by themselves.” I told her that the belt was just for decoration.
I believe it’s time for my diet to begin. No more money for you Mr. Porkbelly.
Written by David Steen, with God Smiling, April 3, 2010