One of the short stories in my new, darkly comedic book, Death Bound: Life Support Edition, is called Mr. Fatty Fat-Fat.
Mr. Fatty Fat-Fat got me in a bit of trouble this past semester in my MFA program. It was labeled triggering and got complaints about its subject matter, so the teacher had to pull it from our workshop… Basically, it’s about a guy who wants to be known as the largest man ever recorded and does some pretty extreme things to get there. Yeah, sure, it has its share of “fat jokes”, but it’s got a rather uplifting ending, in my opinion!
In the beginning of mankind, my ability to store fat efficiently would’ve given me a survival advantage. Warmth and reserve energy. I would’ve been admired. Coveted. Now, I’m just called that fat ass who keeps getting fatter. Or, as Jessie Shore likes to say, Mr. Fatty Fat-Fat.
Speaking of Jessie…
“Duuude,” he says through our Facetime call, “you ready or what?”
I look at the tiny, spray-tanned version of him on my phone, which is positioned beside me on a tripod, and I regret ever answering it.
He says, “Bro, perk up. It’s time to burn some calories!”
Jessie’s my fitness trainer, and he’s like that overzealous mother who really does mean good by her child but goes about it completely wrong. You know, waking her at 4 AM to ice-skate around the rink two hundred and three times as a warm-up. I never had to endure that as a kid. I had better nurturing. Instead of being forced to do something, I willingly participated side-by-side with my parents in county fair eating contests. God rest their souls. High cholesterol took them too early.
“Come on, Mr. Fatty Fat-Fat. You know the drill. Gimme 10 reps. Just ten.”
If you’re wondering why my trainer’s coaching me via Facetime, the reason is simple: I’m too large to be mobile. If I stood, the bones in my legs would give and splinter apart, brittle as toothpicks beneath a pumpkin. I’m not all fat, technically, but I may as well be. I have abnormally swollen body parts. Complications of weight issues. I’m not sure where my belly button is. My knees either. They’re somewhere beneath my many lumps, but which lump is a question I don’t bother asking.
My doctor tried to “square me up” once, which consisted of him hugging my body and shifting it around into a placement he felt was normal, then drawing chalk lines to represent my skeletal system. The results were unfavorable. I looked like a stickman made with an Etch A Sketch. He still couldn’t locate my hips, but the plus side, he said, was that I was well enough endowed that I could hang between my thighs into my bedpan without the use of a catheter.
Jessie says, “Just commit to it, and then DO it. It’s really that easy, bro. Mind over matter.”
I groan. “In case you haven’t noticed, I have a bit more matter than most people.”
Typically, Jessie— along with my physician, my nurse, my cleaner, and a few other essential people— makes house calls, but not today. Today’s Sunday, my Me-Day, when I like to be alone to binge-watch TV shows without interruption. Only, Jessie insisted we get a session in because he’s “worried about me”. This is our compromise. A call.
“Come on! 10 fucking reps, Mr. Fa—”
“Okay,” I say. “Fine, shit.” I straighten out my arm. I look at him. I wait for his nod, buying myself time. He nods. Damn, that was quick. I take a deep breath, and then, keeping my arm straight, lift it above my head then lower it back into place.
“One,” he says.
I do it again.
If you expected pushups or jumping jacks or something, sorry. My exercising consists of lifting my arms, rotating my feet, and simply tensing my atrophied muscles.
My fatness is not as pathetic as it sounds, though. Sure, on occasion, I’m embarrassed by my weight, but the truth is, it’s a deliberate choice. Yes, deliberate. I gained this weight on purpose. I wanted to…