About an hour ago a tune I love came on the radio. Unable to resist its fiendish melody and beat I started jumping up and down on the spot, something I don’t tend to do at my level of cynicism.
There are people I know who make a healthy living out of telling me I am not, and I am not getting, fat. I would dearly love to be able to explain the sensation to them of feeling as though the entire front of your body is made of tits, and not just the actual tits which probably shouldn’t be that size on a bloke. It feels like the momentous movement of tectonic plates made of fat being slowly but aggressively shifted back and forth across the body of a thin person I haven’t seen for fucking years.
I have scales in my flat and they tell me, depending on whether it’s before or after I’ve made a male disaster of the bathroom to drown out Thought For The Day, that I weigh one or other side of 15 and a half stone. This, for a man of precisely six foot tall, is on the boundary of overweight and genuine fat bastard and is the heaviest I have ever been.
When my calf muscle popped like a child’s balloon a few months ago I was in reasonable shape, playing squash a couple of times a week and going to the gym whenever I could bear it. Since my leg no longer lets me spank a ball around a little box, something I actually enjoy, I’m now utterly demotivated from hauling weights back and forth while a shirtless fuckwit groans and moans at himself raising a gigantic dumbbell and staring in the mirror at his pulsating muscles – one in particular it looks like he plans to haul back and forth the moment he gets home.
The mirror in my flat doesn’t lie. If I try to breathe in any more when I look at myself I’m going to force my belly button through my pancreas. And yet when I tried to explain this to a mate I’ve not seen for months the other night, he said “Really? I’ve seen you look bigger.”
Because that, people think, is what I want to hear. I’m not telling you how disgraceful I’m slowly allowing my body to become because I want you to assure me it’s not true – I’m telling you for the very specific reason that I want you to tell me you’ve not seen bloating like that since that whale washed up on a beach a while back and everyone thought it was going to explode.
I’m not a complete ignoramus; I know the primary cause is my diet of beer and kebabs. It’s not the cause of this I need help with, it’s the motivation to do something about it. If you tell me to drink less or stop moaning, I’ll put you straight to the head of the list of people who will soon require a blindfold and a chaplain. But even those people are helping more than the ones who tell me I’m not fat when the jeans are beginning to hurt like sodomy at the number waist I’ve had for about two decades.
And yes, I’m also aware that there are people with far bigger weight issues than me. I personally know plenty, and they don’t seem to give a shit. But I spent as much time as anyone as a skinny schoolboy winding up the fat kids and if there’s one thing I’m not it’s the type of hypocrite to bemoan the state of morals in Britain and fuck my sister-in-law on the same day. It helps that you wouldn’t, but that’s beside the point.
I will have to sort this out one way or another. I could happily give up food but the hangovers are already bad enough to make the simplest tasks akin to scaling Kilimanjaro dressed like Scooby Doo. I could do more exercise, but ball games won’t work until the leg does, and there’s little that makes me more aware of the pointlessness of my life than the fucking gym. I could have some quack suck the fat out of me or fit one of those inner devices that squeezes your guts tight but it strikes me as the Devil’s work, and in any case I don’t have the money because I spend it all on drink.
But if I am to have any hope of stopping the slide into cake-based oblivion I need people to stop ignoring the issue themselves. I am going on holiday with friends in a couple of months and there will be toplessness involved, and if my massive white frame doesn’t dazzle a few of them into a stream of abuse at my expense I will be drowning them individually in the hotel pool. At least that would be exercise I suppose.
I know it could be worse and that there’s a degree of vanity involved in caring about this at all. I know I don’t look like Barry Austin quite yet. I know carrying a little extra timber about isn’t at the top of the list of the world’s problems right now. But halting the descent into self-inflicted, insulin-based chaos isn’t going to be made any fucking easier by you telling me that everything’s fine.