Yes, that’s me in the photograph, Fatty Arbuckle, plopped on my fat ass. I think mommy had to sew two diapers together to get one XXL to fit me.
It was my second birthday party (June 2, 1949), but mommy wasn’t there because she was sick: two days prior, the stork brought my new sister, Pootsie. I was pissed about missing the stork but I forgot all about it, and mommy, and Pootsie, when I saw the XXL cake in front of me . . .
Before I learned to walk, I learned to playpen. It was a prison made of wood bars. On rollers. On a linoleum floor. Dumb mommy, smart baby. Somehow, baby managed to stick his fat legs through the prison bars and take himself for a roll. Without a rolling license. Oh, he couldn’t roll to New Jersey or anywhere neat like that, but his one-room world provided lots of places to explore. Like the sideboard where dumb mommy stored the . . . toilet paper!
Baby didn’t know toilet paper from a snow shovel, but who cared. Toilet paper was FUN! While baby was rolling like mad around the room the toilet paper was rolling off the roll, rolling off the roll, when one was empty grab another and roll it off the roll! It was a toilet paper extravaganza, and before long the whole place was forty-two inches deep in it! Baby was in TP heaven until dumb mommy walked in and screamed. That scared baby and he took a dump in his XXL diaper. No worries, though. There was plenty of toilet paper to wipe baby’s fat butt.
“ARE YOU TAKING YOUR BATH UP THERE?” Mom screamed from downstairs.
“YEAH MOM, CAN’TCHA HEAR THE WATER RUNNING? I screamed back, turning both faucets to “on” in the tub—but without the stopper in the drain.
We did a shitload of screaming at my house, didn't we.
To this very day, I don’t understand why I made life triply hard on myself. I went to more trouble not taking a bath than if I’d just taken the damn thing in the first place. I ran a tubful of non-existent water, I wet ten towels and the bathmat so it looked like I had dried off, I soaked the soap in the sink so it would get all slippery and shrink, I dunked my head under the faucet to get my hair wet, I sang all the arias I knew from The Barber of Seville at the top of my lungs and, to prove I was a slob, I squirted shampoo all over the bathtub tiles.
All that work, plus I actually used a washcloth so I would pass behind-the-ears-and-neck inspection.
And all along, I thought Mom was the dummy.