There's this guy at work, I don't even know his name, but I know I don't like him. Years ago, I was in a teamwork training class. I was there because I was a new employee; presumably he was too. But at one point in the class, when asked to do something — asked directly by the instructor to participate in a specific way — he Just Said No. He flat-out refused to take part in the class exercise, and in so many words, told the instructor this was all a load of crap, and he just wanted to get the whole thing over with and get back to work. The rest of us were understandably rather surprised; less at his attitude, probably, than his lack of restraint. The instructor did probably the most reasonable thing, which was to ignore him for the rest of the class.

So this place where I work has a few thousand employees. Small enough that you recognize most people that you see, but large enough to allow for little ecosystems of acquaintaince, so you can go for quite a while without seeing somebody. This guy I didn't see again for a few years, until I was moved to a new floor, and I started passing him in the halls occasionally. And after a gap of a few years, it was quite obvious that this guy had put on a considerable amount of weight, maybe 50-60 pounds.

Now every time I see him, I have the urge to say to him "I'm glad you got fat." Of course I would never actually say it (not being a Mongolian myself).

There's another guy at work. I do know his name (although it is irrelevant to you), I worked closely with him for probably a year. I like him well enough. He was recently out of a 20-year career in the Marines, and he was in great shape.

Recently I saw him, and thought "something's different; he looks older, more run-down". All from just his face. And then I noticed a visible pot-belly developing. Another look at his face, and I could tell that it was fat that had transformed his features; from a chiseled look of military vigor, to a slightly flabby and careworn look of tiredness. And I thought "what a shame; he's let himself go."

And now I've reached that point in the blog where I've said what's in my head, and I'm left dangling for a conclusion. Usually I can fake one up, but this time you're on your own!


9 Responses

  1. I’m too fat. I keep making excuses about not exercising. I’ve had a back injury, but I could swim. It wouldn’t be that inconvenient. We’ve been renovating the house for almost a year now, and one of the rooms will be a gym. I’ve been waiting for that. I’ve been quite fit brefore – 6.54 2k ergo test fit. Thanks for flagging this! I need something to make me feel bad about enough about it to do something about it. So, we need people’s stories about how well their exercise regimes are going.

  2. Last I checked (which admittedly was a couple of years ago), I’m fatter than you! Heavier than you, even, despite giving up probably 4 inches.

    It’s been tough for me since I hurt my ankle and haven’t been able to get out and play ultimate. I hope to give it a try again this Friday, but I need to go out and buy a stiff ankle brace.

    We have a bike in the garage that permanently lives in a rolling-resistance trainer, pointed at a cable-hooked up TV (used to be a VCR too, but that broke). But I still can’t make myself get my fat butt out there.

    Hopefully we’ll see each other soon, and hopefully neither of us will have to think either “I’m glad you got fat” or “What a shame”!!

  3. Man, I’m ashamed enough of myself! A friend took some photos in the pub the other day at a birthday party. Yikes. During the renovation process, we have no mirrors up, so I don’t ever see myself.

  4. Oops. There I go self determining ;-)

  5. Hmm. Was that emoticon in the nature of a friendly jab, or an admission that you are using the term differently than I do?

    What you are doing is self-understanding, which is certainly good. What I mean is declaration of autonomy from authority. The word ‘Sovereignty’ is an excellent illustration, since it applies to God, and is easily understood in the political arena. Around these parts, we say that Indian (Native American) tribes are “Sovereign Nations”, i.e. they are autonomus from the authority of the State & Federal governments; they are self-determining.

  6. Spot on. :-D

  7. You sort of got off the original idea about self-control v. laws and rules of society. I read the Dobson story and commented that we do not have enough control, self or otherwise, because there is a wild nature inside us trying to get out. Case in point is Golding's Lord of the Flies, where very civilized and supposedly well-mannered children become little savages when out of adult control.
    If we are taught "good manners," we refrain from telling someone he or she is fat (or ugly or stupid). You know that small children will often say what they feel. without thinking about the person (mainly because they don't know they are hurting his/her feelings). It is up to the parents to teach them proper behavior, and trust me, some parents do not!
    So yes, it is up to society to set the rules and up to us to follow them.

  8. You sort of got off the original idea about self-control v. laws and rules of society. I read the Dobson story…

    Well, the link to the examination of societal self-control was kind of a tangent. I'm not sure what my main point really was.

    And no relation to Dobson, it's Hobson (although there is probably no small co-incidence of beliefs)!

  9. Mmmm, cholcolate milk.

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