Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Ripple Effect

I was brushing my teeth without my shirt on, when I noticed a scar-like line on my belly.

It was no more than half an inch, but it made my heart skip a beat, the way it does when I'm laying in bed and see someone standing in my dark bedroom, but then realize it is just a lamp shade.

What was this scar?  Had I cut myself somehow?  Had my dog somehow attacked me in my sleep?  Had I been abducted by aliens, who had done cruel experiments on me?  Had they cut me open?  Had they fondled me, then wiped my memory clean?

I reached down with my hand to inspect the scar, thinking that by running my finger over the peak of healed skin, it would awaken some suppressed, horrific memory that my subconscious had kept locked away to protect me.  

I readied my finger over the scar and prepared myself for a traumatic realization.  But as my finger brushed over the scar, it wiped away completely. 

It was just some toothpaste.

Though I was relieved for the fact that I didn't have a scar on my belly, a much more disturbing realization was brought to my attention.

You see, as I rubbed away the toothpaste, my belly did this thing where it blubbered, sending a ripple of fat all the way up to my left pectoral muscle.  But for the sake of this post, we will henceforth refer to my left pectoral muscle as my left boob, which is a much more appropriate description for that section.

My heart skipped a beat, again.

I tried to replicate this ripple, and found myself quite disappointed in how easy it was to do again.

The same jiggle.

Over and over again.

Cracking the case of the mysterious scar had, quite literally, begun a ripple effect that would scar my psyche in a way that toothpaste never could.  It was a much more devastating realization than that of being molested by aliens:

I'm getting fat.

Standing in front of the mirror, flicking my flab over and over, I realized that my brain had been actively tricking me for a couple years, knowing that I was not quite ready to handle the reality that my metabolism has become awful and that I had been making equally awful choices in regards to my physical health.

I finally stopped flicking my beer belly and returned my gaze to my face, where the toothbrush was still hanging out of my mouth. 

I looked myself in the eyes and made a promise.  The kind of promise that you see in movies, when the main character stares into his own eyes in the bathroom mirror, and by the look in his eyes, you know, just know, that this guy is about to make a huge change in his life.  Perhaps a montage is needed for the next scene -- a montage that features epic music as it shows him working out, eating healthy, and bettering his life.

Yea!  my eyes told me.  Tomorrow is the day that you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and begin your journey to lose that beer belly and reacquire those muscles that you used to have.  You're going to become a sexy beast, and the journey starts tomorrow!  You're going to be a physically fit hunk, and it is all thanks to your awakening, provided by some errant toothpaste.  Go get'em, tiger!

And then I went to sleep and woke up.  And as I brushed my teeth in the morning, the memory of my self-pep talk was quickly overtaken by my memory of how good donuts taste. 

I rotated my torso and sucked in my gut.

The reflection of my face offered a look, as if to say Not bad! 

But really, it was saying Meh, good enough. 

And then I exhaled, some toothpaste spatter getting on the mirror.  The previous twenty seconds were to be the most strenuous physical activity that I would put myself through for the entire day, what with the holding of the breath and sucking in of the gut and all. 

I was careful not to look back down at my torso.  I had already established my self-image of good enough, and I didn't want to have to do it again.

-Youngman Brown



  1. Nice post-getting fat is not very fun, but it it is kind of cool to push your brain into believing you still sort of got it

  2. Welcome to old age youngman. I know it well...

  3. "The memory of my self-pep talk was quickly overtaken by my memory of how good donuts taste."

    Best. Line. Ever.

    So good to be back and be reading your awesome writing again. Ahh.


  4. HAHAHAHA. I'm sorry that I'm finding humor in your new found "fat". I feel your pain though. I need to get on that train but it's just not working with my crazy schedule. Good luck.. you know, if you do go get 'em.

  5. You are a master of taking an insignificant occurrence and making it into a well told story!

    And don't worry about the jiggle. At first it is discouraging but after a while, it becomes a part of you!

  6. Thank you for the fat jiggling visual.

    Old age does some pretty amazing stuff to us.

  7. Ugh, I go to the gym frequently, I've lost weight, my upper body is actually looking pretty buff, but I STILL have this same problem around the middle. I'm almost 40 (1 month away!) and I'm starting to think that's just the way it is now :(

  8. shit happens... What sucks is when you've just lost 100lbs and you still need to drop another 50 before the jiggling stops...... yup. Good luck with your jiggle, thanks for the giggle. ;)

  9. A ripple when you rub?

    Think yourself lucky; mine's a tidal-wave you could surf on!

  10. Oh my God you make me laugh! I might have said this before, but one of the things I love about your writing is that I rarely have any idea where we are going to end up when I start reading your post, except that it is always somehwhere hysterical. Your set-ups are awesome :)

    Now, I'm not saying you aren't already a sexy beast, but this new found self-awareness is perfect timing...Ken and I are going to be training to do a virtual 5k so as to get rid of our own jiggles. You should join us, Tiger! Details to come on our blogs...

  11. Sorry, you lost me at pectoral muscle. Damn you look fine in nothing but a skimpy white towel wrapped around your waist!

  12. I am fat. It has given me the gift of bodacious ta-tas. When I was skinny, my boobs were kind of medium sized. Now they are the kind of boobs that women have surgery to obtain, except my boobs are squishable.

    Janie, who would still kind of like to be skinny again

  13. Truly hilarious! "Not bad" vs "Good enough"... not much difference, really!

  14. It's true. Doughnuts taste better than no doughnuts.

    That intro was quite tense. I wanted to know what the scar was. Now I know - and I also know I'm not the only person who gets toothpaste over all kinds of non-teeth things when brushing!

  15. I remember that day. When did this happen?

    It's not fair and you will never again be the same without concentrated effort.

  16. Funny stuff. Well, as much as discovering "man-boobs" on yourself can be funny...

    Quite impressive how you've squeezed out a whole blog post out of some toothpaste - a lot more "fat" than I would have managed in that same situation.

  17. I feel your pain, Brother. I looked at my scale last week and it got really, really fat. Had to start working out again, which is a poorly conceived plan to try and fulfill during the holidays. Mmmmm donuts!

  18. It always starts "tomorrow!"
    I can't wait to see myself in a week!



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