Sunday, May 20, 2012
Fat Rednecks and Gangstas: Style Cousins?
It has happened. I have crowned myself America’s Next Diet Guru without the need for an exhausting reality program hosted by someone of questionable British heritage. The evidence, you ask? I present, for discussion, my Daddy and his 40 pound weight loss (since September 2011). I have dragged him kicking and screaming toward physical health. Well, his version of kicking and screaming which is more pouting and angry looks as he is often tired and willfully quasi-ambulatory.
I discovered the exact degree of weight loss (39 pounds 11 ounces) when he entered the dining room this morning and asked, “How is it that I’ve lost 40 pounds and I’m wearing the same dad-blasted pair of pants?” He did not like my answer of, “Those pants have been, and remain, too small. Belt buckles should sit at your waist, not the middle of your thigh.”
Men of his generation, the offspring of those called “The Greatest” by Tom Brokaw, are an interesting group, I will say. Now I’m not sure if this is a Southern thing or not, but all I know is that most of the men I knew growing up in the South begin in high school a lifelong relationship with the same waist size of pant, regardless of issues of proper fit. Baby Boomer is the name for their generation and although it probably wasn’t a term created to correspond with the alarming rate of waist expansion, the moniker is more than apt, wouldn’t you agree. I was going to say ample, but there’s no need to be rude.
It strikes me as humorous that my father’s pants have slowly slid ever toward his knees like a child who has been instructed to clean the yard; a slow, meandering walk, gradually easing toward the intended destination, which I can only assume, is around the ankles and these people spend an inordinate amount of time in bathroom. I have never known him to be a fashion pioneer but he and his meaty brethren have been (grammatically more accurate) bursting a sag since, at the very least, October 1970 AD, translated ‘After Dustin’. I know there are those who will say it’s actually Anno Domini or something else Latin, but my interpretation makes more sense, n’est-ce pas?
Due to the reduction in the protuberance subjecting the upper portion of his lower torso to extreme shade, his pants are now somewhere in the, medically inaccurate, upper-middle-thigh area. This is just low enough to cause concern but high enough to lessen the likelihood of a glimpse of ‘welder crack’, as he has never plumbed to any degree. The citizenry of the South San Francisco Bay Area are appreciative, whether they know it or not. I am accustomed to working behind the scenes, trying to make the world a more pleasant place one person at a time. Your silence reeks of gratitude dear readers. You are most welcome.
If you know anything about me you know that once my father proclaimed his weight loss, I immediately began to deconstruct each section of his person to see if anything else had changed. Other than the wearing of the new shirts I bought him to replace the ones that were somehow misplaced in an incident in the laundry room that, as it was un-witnessed by anyone except myself and Lulu, shall remain a mystery, he has maintained his “look” as it were. Throughout my life I have noticed that his stomach had increased at a rate equal to the disappearance of his buttocks. I did not notice any change in his lack of posterior. Full disclosure, I try to avoid eye contact with that particular part of anyone’s anatomy prior to my morning coffee. I prefer my wake-up to include only caffeinated beverages.
Now, I am no physician, but having worked in the healthcare field more than a decade and as I am hyper-observant to the point of criticality, I can say that most men of this generation are equally disproportionate. As it is in all real estate transactions, location is king. And it seems that their buttocks, tired of the view, have migrated en masse, to a better spot. I suppose the betterness of the spot is an opinion to be validated by someone else interested in the anatomy and physiology of “old men parts”. I would have said this would include their female counterparts, but I have been assured on more than one occasion by the alumnae of my alma mater, Mississippi University for Women, that this is simply not true. As I am a student of criticism, not anthropology, I will leave this academic discourse to others. I do know that I have seen much more old man crack, plumber or otherwise, than I have ever wanted or imagined; mostly within what I used to consider the relative safety of my own home.
On a positive note, the weight loss has afforded an improvement in his diabetes, or The Sugar as it is known is the countrier of circles. His blood sugar is relatively under control. I say relatively as his scores are better than his siblings, for whom gravy is still a beverage. He has said on a number of occasions, usually in the throes of some dramatic invitation to one of his patented pity parties, RSVP not required, “You know tha sugah is gonna take my feet.” I typically do not engage when this is presented as a topic of conversation because I, and he, have grown tired of my constant refrain of “carbohydrates are as harmful to your body as sugar.” His practiced inability to retain this information causes me much frustration. Each time we discuss the fact that crackers, bread, potatoes, rice, etc. are all carbohydrates he feigns confusion as if he expects to go to bargain market and find a box emblazoned with the word ‘CARBS’. His avoidance of this particularly labeled box should allow him carte blanche when it comes to eating a meal containing pasta, potatoes, bread with crackers as a vegetable.
By simply creating pre-portioned meals that give him what he wants in moderation and forbidding the purchase of items such as soda, ice cream and chips, he has unwillingly lost the afore-mentioned “near ‘bout 40” pounds. Helping him choose cottage cheese and fruit over Peanut Butter Snickers is also a way to remind myself to consume a more healthy diet, as I must eat by example. He has not cottoned to sharing my love of salmon and Mediterranean food, but he has agreed to mashed cauliflower as a substitute, sometimes, for mashed potatoes and he will infrequently allow “hippie hamburger” in his meatloaf or breakfast omelets. The rest of society refers to it as ground turkey.
I predict that he will be able to reasonably fit into his current clothes once he loses about 25 more pounds. Only at that point might he be at the appropriate weight to for a 44x27 carpenter jean; his pant of choice. Yes, you read that correctly. With my measurements of 36x29, I am the Heidi Klum to his Melissa McCarthy.
As Dr. Phil is unequivocally larger than I and has several weight loss products on the market, I feel that it would be acceptable for me to launch a second career. I could call my guidebook; the “Shrinking Redneck Population” to trick unsuspecting Yankees into buying what they are hoping is a sociology treatise. Of course, I would expect each of you, dear readers, to purchase a copy yourselves, along with the first in my Southern mystery series, A Gone Pecan. Get thee to Amazon.com or Authorhouse.com post haste as my last quarterly royalty statement would not have allowed a foray onto the McDonald’s Dollar Menu, a phrase that has just caused grievous injury to my psyche as it escaped my fingers to land on this figurative page.
If I have an existential crisis, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Other than my father, of course.