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My Big Fat Geek Wedding

Big fat wedding / &


Freshly married couples, research now tells us, gain more than wedding gifts. Along with the a newfound sense of security comes flab. They used to tell us married men live longer lives, but could it be harmful to your health?




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According to an article in last week’s USA Today, a major cause of weight gain is, not high fructose corn syrup, but marriage. A new study by the Obesity School finds that couples gain an average of five to nine pounds within the first five years of marriage. Now get this -- I got married exactly five years ago and I have gained exactly five to nine pounds. I am officially a statistical norm.

The average married man gains weight, the study tells us, because he is loved, accepted and more secure. But the average married man is in his twenties. Statistically, I am also a Baby Boomer. I was married for the first time at age 51, on the lawn of the John Paul Jones House Museum. It’s a good thing, because I was on my way to becoming one of those strange bachelor types that people whisper about when he leaves the party. Now I am safe and acceptable. A married man frightens no one. The bad news is that, following the national post-marriage trend, I fine myself suddenly on the verge of being both fat and old. Having always considered myself young, single and skinny, only I am shocked by the new me.

As a kid I weighed next to nothing. In high school I remember drinking a daily quart of ice cream blended with raw eggs and milk in hopes of hitting 100 pounds. I got a free pair of 28-waist /32-inseam corduroys at the clothing store because the salesmen said nobody else could wear them. That was when I wore high-heeled leather boots. I looked like a scarecrow in bell-bottoms. Now my inseam and waist size are reversing themselves. Recently, for the first time in my life, I tipped the scales at 149. I can still see my toes, but my belt-buckle grows obscure.

Guys my age just laugh. Being bald, bow-legged, barrel-chested and beefy just come with the territory, they say. But my inner scarecrow resists. It is determined that I should weigh no more than 135 pounds while holding a copy of the Sunday New York Times. I figure if I put it in writing, the battle has begun. Like those fleshy blobs on the TV-show Biggest Loser have discovered, public humiliation is the greatest motivator. When you see me, feel free to ask me what I weigh.

So here comes the question of the week. How does one embrace what one hates? In my case that would be jogging to lose this extra weight. And worse, according to my doctor, a few pounds piled onto a formerly skinny person, is more dangerous than the same flesh on normal bones. I ran the first mile of my life at age 49. I didn’t enjoy it. I’m told that doing just a mile a day would turn the tide. A mile a week, my current quota, isn’t cutting it.

My wife, a former cross-country runner, says the goal is not to love the running, but to love the afterglow. She says nobody enjoys the aching legs, shortness of breath, boredom, and pounding head. They endure the pain to achieve the gain. I understand that concept in principle. I can exercise my brain all night, not moving for an agonizing nine hours, writing hard to hit a morning deadline.

But this is much harder. This is the final race that, ultimately, no one wins. This is the race against physics and time, the starting gun of the last absurd marathon. Mother Nature wants me to be fat and happy, but I refuse. Instead I will run backwards toward the unreachable waist size of those high school corduroys. I will rise when I want to sit, run when I want to stand, and keep running when everything sensible says stop. I will jog through the fire toward the afterglow, cast off these wedding pounds, and hold that weight until the ferryman comes to punch my ticket to Eternity.

Or not. We’ll see. Stay tuned.

© Copyright J. Dennis Robinson. All rights reserved.

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