The other day dad was checking to see if he had the black or the brown belt on with the blue pants, to avoid the kind of fashion faux pas that gets wives wondering if they’ve married down in life. To my surprise, this maneuver was nearly impossible without using the bathroom mirror. The light by the bedroom mirror had gone.
I’m not exactly sure when I lost the clearance to see my waist directly. And while there’s a small possibility my neck’s just gotten too muscle bound to reach the right angle, the holidays always seem to get me thinking about it.
This is the time of year we may find ourselves doing a double-take before recognizing the guy walking by in the mall store window reflection. Who at first looked like they may have been shoplifting things under their shirt. The time of year we notice there’s just not enough suck-it-up left to make a difference when the saleswoman gives you a smile over the clothes she’s folding.
‘Can I help you find something’, she says, surrounded by pre-teen fashion and accessories, and somehow suddenly making it obvious that I’m the only male in the entire crowded department. Just standing, and watching.
‘Just here with the wife,’ I say, taking a look around to find my wife, who is no longer anywhere to be seen in teens wear. ‘To pick something out for the kids,’ I say, and watch as her eyes make the same circuit of the store mine did, and then come back to settle on the front of my shirt.
‘What do you think,’ my wife says from my six o’clock. She’s arms upstretched, holding out pink and purple bangled quilt jackets, looking from me to the saleswoman and back.
‘I’m going to go check power tools,’ I say.
‘Stairmaster’s on sale’, my wife says, checking the color of my belt.
With four women in the house, weight is always on the menu. It’s been decided that everyone gains it when I’m home, and loses it when I’m traveling. Apparently dad’s gravity attracts stray calories into the house, which stick to the entire family.
And at no time is this more true than in the short cold days and long nights between Thanksgiving and New Years. A stretch that for almost all of human existence has also been the start of the season most short on food. With the kind of dieting no one would ever choose, an annual trial, forced and irresistable. A season not of overeating, but one that culled the thin and weak from the herd. And part of the reason, I suspect, we all still today have a hard-wired pull to feast and reach for the sweets and fat. To hold the ancient fear of famine, and death, at bay.
These days, its clear, there’s too much of a good thing. And, I intend to adjust my intake to resemble my expenditures. It’s time to lose some weight. Try and reverse the slide from six pack to keg.
Just as soon as we eat ourselves into the new year.
Because while I’ll be careful to keep from overdoing this year, I’ve decided the best diet to apply isn’t the one between Christmas and January 1. It’s the one between New Year’s and Christmas.