Monday, September 10, 2018

cannot believe what I am seeing. Where have you people been all your lives? Listening to Mick Jagger and bad-mouthing your country, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

Immediately after her fling with Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels switched to all-girl porn films.  Not surprising. Donald Trump has turned more women into lesbians than high school gym teachers named Deb.

As a Chicago Bear fan, I have to admit that was an amazing 20-point comeback by Aaron Rodgers to win 24-23 after a knee injury. That is the greatest comeback since Frankenstein’s monster went from the grave to getting married.

The sparse crowd at the Chargers game in Los Angeles was mostly Kansas City Chief fans. Time to admit the Chargers moving to L.A. is the worst move since Custer decided to attack Sitting Bull at the Little Big Horn.

Or the Australians on the shores of Gallipoli who said, "The Turks haven't fired for a while, let's take a run at them."

What do the L.A. Chargers and the Baltimore Colts have in common? Neither one has any fans. 

Furious at Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear,” Donald Trump has vowed to write a rebuttal. Whoa, pump the brakes, Captain Bigly Covfefe, shouldn’t you read a book before you try and write one?

Since you asked:

“Did You Hear the One About the Old Fat Guy?” 

Ten years ago, when I was a fit 50-year-old ex-Decathlete still running, stand-up paddle board surfing and lifting weights, I was on a flight in the middle seat, next to the only empty seat on the plane, the window seat. In fact, I was just about to move into it. (This is before airlines charged you for moving into an empty seat) 

On to the plane stepped the last passenger to board, a genuinely fat guy. Just this side of morbidly obese. Crap, I thought,  New York to freaking San Diego and Tony "Ten Chins" is sitting next to me. And on me. He might as well be holding a crying baby too. Why didn't the guy buy two seats? 

And I bet he farts like a busted calliope. Swear to god, if he takes his shoes off, I am going to go full Ninja on his doughy ass. 

These were just a few of the nice thoughts running through my gentle and kind mind, as I was tired and cranky from dealing with the incredibly rude people at the airline. 

So I probably did not do a great job of hiding my frustration from Mr. Tony "Ten Chins" and his giant bubble butt, who was going to sit next to me for four hours, as he trundled down the aisle.

Tony, as I now called him, turned out to be an extremely pleasant and friendly man. Real midwestern old school good guy. 

But he could not hide his expression of worry and hurt on his round, ruddy face. Something was seriously bothering him - he was sighing audibly - and I was afraid it might have been my hurting his feelings with my insensitive body language and facial expression on seeing  he was my seat-mate. Suddenly feeling quite guilty, because he was such a sweet, gentle soul, I asked, 

“You, uh, you a little nervous about flying? You seem upset.” 

“No, no, I love flying. But thanks for asking.” But the sad and worried look on his face said otherwise.  

Then, all at once, Tony steeled himself, took a deep breath, blew it out, sucked in his gut, straightened up and buckled his seat belt with a hard, fast and furious loud click.

“Oh, thank goodness. Oh, thank goodness,“ Tony rejoiced. “I can buckle my seatbelt. Oh, I was so afraid I would have to ask the flight attendant for an extension. (Whispering) They can be quite nasty about that.” 

Then Tony laughed out loud with relief. He was so happy. My heart broke.  The poor guy had been torturing himself about having to ask for the seatbelt extension.

My dad was the best guy I have even known and I love him so much and I miss him each and every single day. But my dad, Bob Kaseberg, for the 15 years before the end of his life, even at a youthful-looking 62 when he died, was heavier than he wanted to be. He had been a skinny kid his whole life until, like me, about 45. While he just had a double chin and a gut, like I do, he could not hide his hurt if someone made fun of his extra weight.

As a kid, that look of hurt in my dad's eyes crushed me. Absolutely crushed me. At the time I distinctly remember thinking this world might not be such a great place after all if there are people out there who would tease my father. 

At 58, after a pretty serious shoulder surgery for skin cancer, skin grafts and all, I stopped all exercise. In that one year, I turned into a bonafide fat guy. Once I finally admitted to myself I had turned into a fat guy, with the help of some disturbing pictures of myself, I became depressed about exercising, so I avoided it. 

And then I became depressed about almost everything else. It was what they call a downward spiral. Depression, as I learned, can spread to your stomach. 

It is now two years after that. I’m 60 and getting a divorce I do not want, and what I used to call my Tony Soprano starter-kit gut has blossomed into a full fat guy’s gut.

Now I am a fat guy. There is no getting around it. It is a testament to denial how I was able to avoid thinking of myself as fat. Hitting your gut when opening the refrigerator door is a hard fact to ignore.

When I went to my Decathlon/ Heptathlon track reunion at UCSB in July, which is comprised of the nicest, kindest people in the world, only a few let slip with some jokes. But, wow, did they hurt. Because, unlike some other chuckleheads I know, I truly care what these people think.

So, during the weekend, I would make jokes to get ahead of the problem. 

“Yeah, if I had had this gut when I did the Decathlon, my 100 meters time would have been half a second faster. Why? Because my stomach would get to the finish line way before I did.” 

That got a big laugh. Laughter from jokes about how fat you are don’t hurt as much if you make them. And it makes people feel you're OK with being fat. Even though you are not. At all. 

When you used to be a chiseled and buffed jock, admitting you are now fat is like burying your own youthful image of yourself in a funeral. 

Honest to god, I am living proof there are no jolly fat people. There are only sensitive fat people who want to lighten the tension of someone saying something hurtful. So they, we, make with the self-depreciating fat jokes. 

Hence the misconception of the jolly fat guy.  

Even when I was still working out or surfing most days in my early-fifties, I must have been heavier than I thought. My love of grilling and wine abounded. 

We had friends over for dinner, including their, um, extremely precocious ten-year old, Jayson.  And, when I mentioned I had ran earlier that day, Jayson, asked if I had gone running without a shirt. When I jokingly assured Jayson those days of my running shirtless were long over, hoping the topic would die, Jayson piped up,

“Because today I saw another really fat guy running without a shirt.”

They all laughed and laughed and laughed. Even my wife and daughter laughed. And then they talked about how funny their son, Jayson, was for about ten minutes. And I had to sit there and plaster an insincere smile and pretend a ten-year-old did not just make me want to cry.

Now I have turned 60 and have had a “Come-to-Jesus” epiphany about being fat, so I am cutting way back on all things food and drink. Plus I have a jury trial coming up, and I am going to look good for it. 

Finally my hating being fat has made me gut-sick enough to cut down on food. Being fat is killing my appetite.

At 60, I am getting divorced, I am old and fat, and I can only do something about one of those things. Also, I am increasing my hikes with my dog Wally. In addition, I have made plans, once, my gut recedes even more, to get back on my stand up paddle board.  

The plan is get in good enough shape to enter a 5K stand up paddle board race. Once I have a goal, the weight will melt off, I know. 

And, I am proud to report my massive gut is receding, but not as quickly as my hairline. What the living hell, aging? 

Aging is not fair. Slowing metabolisms are not fair. Yes, I am fat, but I have never once in my life done fat guy stuff like eat a whole package of cookies, or an entire cake or pie, or an entire pint of ice cream. Never, in my life have I eaten an entire large pizza. And I swear on the Colonel, I have never eaten an entire bucket of chicken. I’ve never eaten more than one cheeseburger. 

And I loves me some cheeseburgers.

But when it comes to wine and cheese and fresh bread? It must be the one-quarter French in me.  

The other day, when I met old friends for drinks, probably to try and be funny, a former friend whacked me on the stomach. Hard. It hurt. A lot. But the mental pain was, as always, worse. 

(Side note: the split second my former friend hit my gut is also the second he became a former friend)

Never, not once, have I insulted someone for being fat. Well, once when I was a kid, but that was only to Charlie Brones. But that was OK because Charlie was a genuine rich-kid, full-blown asshole. No joke.  He was a dick. 

Maybe being a fat, rich-kid made Charlie an asshole and a dick, but, whatever the reason was, Charlie was a flaming asshole. And a dick.  People who did not agree on anything agreed on this.  

But, besides, Charlie, I never made fun of a fat person. Ever. Writing jokes about famous fat people, yes, I have written jokes, ala Elvis, Chris Christie, the once-fat Bill Clinton, Steve Bannon, but never to someone’s face or even behind their back.

In addition, I began to feel writing jokes about how fat someone is makes you look like the bad guy. And I do not want to look like the bad guy.  

And this is coming from a guy, me, who had legit six-pack abs from the age of 13 to 40. Thirty years of having a ripped abdomen. But a couple of times at Christmas break in college, I put on enough pounds in the three weeks of over-indulging, so that when I got back to UCSB, a fellow track team member once said, 

“Damn, Alex, you got fat.” 

And I replied, 

“Yes, Tom, and you’re going bald. But I can always lose weight.”

Thank you, drunk Winston Churchill. 

Even though most of my life I was muscular, I was prone to gaining weight. So I have been sensitive of the difficulty of trying to lose weight quite a few times. So I never teased someone about being fat. Not once.

Besides Charlie Brones. (Not his real name) Did I mention he was a dick? 

So why do I get teased so much? It's not fair, but I have some good friends who have awful diseases, so I cannot complain about what is or is not fair. But it isn't. Fair that is. 

Although I am not Jewish, because of my name, Kaseberg, I have, from time to time, run into anti-Semitism. (At first I was going to say bad anti-Semitism, but all anti-Semitism  is bad, isn't it?) The worst was from a high school football coach. It was awful being hated for something I could not control. It was awful.  

Hate me because I am too loud, or too goofy, or too talkative, too lazy, tell bad jokes and long stories, or that I am too messy. All things that I could change if I wanted to, but don't. Do not hate me for something I cannot do anything about. Like ending my sentences in prepositions. 

Now I can sense dirty looks from people who just generally don’t like old, fat guys. It is also awful.   

Here is an important thing to know about us fat, old people: We didn’t want to be fat and old. It just happened. Slowly. Nobody outside of sumo wrestling wants to be fat. Nobody, except the dead, wants to be old. 

And now I am heading headlong into the realization that there simply are not many old and fat people walking around for all the obvious medical complication reasons.  

When I lose this weight - and I will, I do still have physical discipline if not my pride - I swear I will never write another fat joke again.

"From here on in I rag nobody." Henry Wiggin. "Bang the Drum Slowly." 

Except Chris Christie. 

That fat bastard is just asking for it.