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Archive for March 2011

Fatty MaGee

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Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a fatty magee. And up until now, I’ve managed to fool everyone, including myself, into thinking that I’ve always been thin. My pathetic 23rd year in existence, however, hideously brought to light that which I’ve always strived to cover up: a stomach so flabby even Bruce Vilanch would be proud. Why bring this up now, when I’ve spent so much time projecting an image and in turn creating one that even I began to see in the mirror? Because although I find toilet humor to be the penultimate in comedy, I’m tired, and maybe just a little angry at the bloated deck of cards I’ve been dealt.

If I went for broke, I could be this adorable and hilarious at the same time.

I remember first noticing my weight when making the big step from elementary to middle school. Things changed, and, of course, so did my body. I was becoming a manboy. I also had a little pouch that I never paid much attention to, but that now made me feel ashamed as I saw the other kids making the easy transition from the playground to the weight room. Having worn glasses with lens the size of tea saucers at the time, I wasn’t exactly cut out for the gym. Behind those giant owl-oculars, I had little to no peripheral vision, and it didn’t help when the screws would wriggle out of the sockets. Clear tape was unheard of then, so I spent every history class looking like Urkel, sans his lovable Did-I-do-that personality.

By the time high school came around, I was running daily and furiously. One year, I managed to miss only a few days of running, even strapping on traction boots to run outside when the snow piled up on the paths in the woods that served as my routine jogging route. At the same time, I had my first few serious relationships, which divided my time between school, extracurricular activities, and, of course, running. A number of times, the priorities nearly ruined me, but running always came out on top. And when it didn’t, I would become furious at myself, furious at others for wasting my precious time on the treadmill, and subconsciously furious at my body for demanding so much and leaving little energy for leisure time.

When I thought my body had finally started to even out – I even braved my way into the weight room for the first times – it decided to pull another fast one on me. The pain was like nothing else I had ever felt before. To my friends, I likened it to a tiny gremlin in my stomach, cackling as he jabbed my insides with white-hot pokers. My female friends even joked that it sounded worse than cramps during their period. Yet as any fearless and naive teenage would do, I ignored it, continuing my obsessive treadmill pounding and continuing to “house” boxes of Wheat Thins in one sitting.

One night during my senior year of college, I lied awake clutching my stomach, which felt as if though it might burst like a helium balloon at any minute. I managed to clench every muscle in my body and drove to the hospital. I had had pain like this before, but I knew something was wrong when the base of my stomach began to pulsate outward, as if though Sigourney Weaver’s space love child was going to rip out of me any second. I was dizzy as hell, and nearly cussed out the nurse who held up a smiley face chart to ask me the “number” amount of pain I was in. In retrospect, I think I actually did cuss her out.

How do you feel today?

With my gown open in the front (I was so disoriented, I put it on “wrong,” but when I woke up, all was well.) and a quick “Oh, hold on a minute; I have to call my mom,” to the doctor as they injected me with that lovely, lovely drug, morphine, I was rolled into the ER for my very first appendectomy. By this point in time, I knew that I had Celiac’s disease, and frankly, I didn’t give a damn. I continued my Nabisco-binging ways, and didn’t give a second thought to the massive fuck-off papers discussing gluten-free diets that the doctor had kindly printed out for me. What. an. asshole. Me, not the doctor.

It took a full year and a half for me to finally wake up and smell the Ciabatta bread, and realize just what it was doing to my body. One night, with my roommate as witness in my cold, dank Brooklyn apartment, I quit gluten cold turkey. Over the next months, I weeded out small items that I didn’t realize contained gluten, and I began to develop a fairly impressive, healthy diet. And what of the pouch, you ask? There to stay, apparently. I barely deviated from my now rigorously healthy lifestyle, which began to get more and more expensive, as well as increasingly time consuming. Now, it’s a game of chance in the morning: will I be gassy today? Or will I be blocked up until I swell into a Veruca-sized pincushion? Will I be able to stay at the gym for more than 25 minutes tonight? Or will I finally just stop caring and let loose the wrath of my ass on the meatheads at Planet Fitness? I only wish I had those kind of cahones.

What would happen if I ate Lucky Charms before going to the gym.

For once, it would be nice to come home, relax, read, play guitar, or work on my animation software. But the body is in control, and the body wants to go to the gym, exhausted or not. For once, it’d be nice to eat a bar of chocolate or even a gluten-free snicker doodle and not bloat like a puffer fish immediately after ingestion. For once, it’d be nice to go swimming, something I haven’t done in a long time precisely because of these issues. And for once, it’d be nice to not worry about how I look, but also be rewarded for my healthy eating choices and vigorous daily exercise.

Alackaday, my body and I may never get along,
and I’ll always be a Fatty Magee,
but at least I will no longer be,
a Fatty Magee in secrecy.

Ole' Fatty Magee


Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!


Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

March 17, 2011 at 12:56 am


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Riding the subway can be pure Hell. Yet, every day I put my life in the hands of the MTA demons controlling these tin cans on wheels, praying that one of them doesn’t crack under the strain and pull a Pelham 123 on my way to work. Over a year ago, I found the whole idea of a dirty underground metro used by millions every week an absurdity. I held on for dear life as the A train jaunted side to side as it sawed against the rusty tracks at breakneck speed. Touching grimy poles then was unavoidable, as I had not yet developed my metro legs. “Express” and “Local” meant nothing to me, and the garbled commands from overhead put me at further unease. “MTA has a right to search any backpacks, boxes, or packagaes…”Remember: if you see something, say something…” I saw suspicious shit everywhere: shifty-eyed Unabomber-like creatures staring from the opposite end of the car, greasy, unidentified bags with “Have A Nice Day” sliding underneath the seats, and shady hoodlums whose penises were apparently so big that they would take up two seats with their spread legs.

As I mastered the ways of the tube — balancing myself with planted feet, reading or fake sleeping to avoid looking at others, and so on — I began to observe new nuances, and eventually realized that the MTA was created by Lucifer himself.

Among my top favorite instances of metro madness was the ole’ HOLY-SHIT-WE-HAVE-TO-GET-IN-RIGHT-NOW scenario. It begins with a shitload of crazed maniacs, who have been waiting for the train to come for an eternity (Two, maybe five, minutes), and who crowd around on the platform like a pride of hungry lions. This collective crowd of crazies is strong, and if you’re one of the hopeless gazelles trying to get OUT of the subway, your struggle for freedom is futile.

The next and arguably most universally deplored subway experience begins when you think you’re safe and sound inside the car. First, it’s a baby crying. It starts low, then gives way to terrible sobs. You feel bad for the thing, but then you begin to wonder What baby cries like that? And why’s the mother just letting it cry? As you contemplate the responsibilities of motherhood and scheduling a vasectomy later in the week, a homeless man bungles his way in, clearly drunk, and mumbling something about losing his job and not being covered by disability insurance. The crying gets louder and more cats-fighting-in-the-alley-way-like. For some reason, the asshole announcer continues to yell over the speaker “standclearoftheclosingdoorsplease.” What the hell is that? Elvish? An up-and-coming rapper then graces you with his lyrical genius. Your own headphones are broken, and so is your soul. 

By the end of the week, you may feel that you can’t carry on this way much longer. But thankfully, your spirits can always be lifted by someone else’s misfortune. You spot an elderly woman bravely fording her way to the car seconds before the train doors begin to close. You also know that the conductor sees her. However, the conductor is the Devil. In her desperate attempt to board, she locks eyes with you, a last hope in that handsome youth who will come to her rescue. The doors come crushing in on her Scoliosis-ridden back, and you stand stock-still, terrified, and so unwilling to help. She was weak. You are a survivor. 

So is the way of the MTA. After enough time down in the depths and paying out the ass for the smelliest rollercoaster ride of your daily life, somewhere along those dank, dark tracks, you lose your soul, and get a little paler with each passing day. Still, it sure beats the hell out of taking the bus.

Written by Robin Lee Dunlap

March 13, 2011 at 11:48 pm