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I’ve always been a skinny guy. L-o-n-g and skinny. Bill the dentist used to marvel at how long my teeth were, back in the days when I had ’em. X-ray technicians marvel at my long lungs, barbers at my long ear hair, and my dragon-breathed piano teacher at my long fingers.
But being the male equivalent of an anorexic runway model hasn’t always been so marvelous. Especially during kidhood. I was an easy target for bullies, so I had to outsmart them—not too tough (excluding the fear factor) when you consider the average I.Q. of a bully is twenty-seven. I knew all the street corners where they skulked, squatted, and scratched, so I mapped out an intricate route from school to home that eliminated corners altogether.
I took right turns, left turns, about-face turns, turn-about turns, roundabouts, circles, crop circles, S-curves, switchbacks, diamondbacks, up one side of the street and down the other, dirt paths, paths of least resistance, diagonals, Diagon Alley, blind alleys, bowling alleys, Kirstie Alley, railroad crossings, crisscrosses, double-crosses, cross dressers, crosswords, crosswalks, sidewalks, jaywalks, and the road less travelled.
I always arrived home safely but I was dizzy and seasick, an hour or two late for supper, and had smoke coming out of my socks.
High school was better because the bullies were too busy sneaking smokes and copping feels to bother with me. And the girls—well, they were a lot less male-skinny-conscious. I mean some of the girls actually liked me for me. Not the cheerleader-Britney Spears-type of course, but even in my hormonal teens I preferred a girl who had a brain and used it for something other than holding up her teased hair.
The main thing about being skinny is that people feel a compulsion to point it out to me, as if I’m totally unaware that I’m thin. “GEE-SUS CHRIST YOU’RE SKINNY!” they bellow, looking at me as if I escaped from a circus sideshow. “Don’t you ever EAT?” they ask. Of course I eat, but with some qualifications: I do not stuff my big mouth at the almighty troughs of McDonald’s, Frito-Lay, and Coca-Cola.
That is something I have never understood. It seems perfectly okay to tell a skinny guy that he is skinny, but how often does someone walk up to a fat guy and bellow in his face, “GEE-SUS CHRIST YOU’RE FAT!” Or ask him, “Don’t you ever STOP eating?” I guess if you’re a fat guy it’s always a “gland” problem—a physical malfunction of some sort—regardless of a fat belly caused by beer, a fat ass caused by sitting on it, or a fat head caused by sitting on it.
Well, to all of the truly fat guys out there, there are a ton of advantages to being skinny:
•I can crawl through the dog door whenever I forget my keys.
•I have absolutely no use for miracle diets or Dr. Phil.
•Martha likes it because she gets eight-tenths of the bed.
•I use less soap and water when I shower, which makes me environmentally friendly.
•I can buy off-the-rack in clothing instead of off-the-tent in sporting goods.
•I don’t need four gallons of Gatorade to get me to and from the mailbox.
•I can see my pecker any time I need it for something.
It used to hurt when people derisively called me skinny. It hurt a lot. I likened it to weakness as a male and I felt ashamed of myself.
I hurt no more, though, about people with thin minds. I realized a long time ago that if people don’t like me solely because of my physical appearance, then I cordially invite them to fook themselves. Like the bullies they were as kids, they are missing out on knowing a decent human being beneath these bones. Let their shallowness and their judgmentalism be their problem because
I like me just fine.