This is dedicated to my dear friend and comedy hero, Teri Geahlen who nearly requested it.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working pretty diligently to get myself into shape (I’m going for something other than “ovoid”). My body is a sneaky, uneducated hoarder whose sole desire is to spend its days intermittently interrupting nap time by cramming processed “food” and Miller Lite into its pie hole. I spend many hours strategizing like a general, applying formulas stolen from “The Art of War” to diet and exercise. Still, my body pines for potato chips, covets cheese and has tantrums for tacos. Despite my immaculately executed tactical assaults, my weight loss often stalls, and I have to return to the battle council to find another way.
I hate running with the desperate passion most people reserve for fascist dictators, broccoli and Kelly Rippa. If someone pointed a gun at my head and said, “Run or I’ll shoot,” I’d probably respond by saying, “Ok, but give me a minute. I gotta work up to it.” Ironically, nothing takes the pounds off me faster than jogging — probably because my extreme hatred microwaves the fat cells right out of me like homemade laser liposuction. Last spring, I had about 10 pounds left to lose in order to hit my first goal, and I thought that I could probably handle adding the activity for a mere couple of weeks. “I can do anything for 14 stupid days,” I thought to myself, willfully ignoring the fact that there are a great many things that I can’t do for that long (holding my breath comes to mind).
Since I knew that I disliked running, I decided that I’d try to make it easier on myself and my poor knees by purchasing proper equipment. My friend, Bethany-who-sometimes-jogs, was the greatest authority I could find on the subject, although I did consult Wikihow. She hauled me to Academy and made me try out shoes by running around the store. The newness of the insoles made me feel like winged Mercury as I bounded through the hiking boot section. Bethany laughingly tried to tell me that I looked like an idiot, but I was happily jumping about, pretending the benches were an obstacle course. You really can’t take me anywhere. I eventually bought some new shoes, and decided I’d start my amended routine on the following Monday.
So often in our lives, expectations don’t match reality. I pictured myself, gazelle like, cruising gracefully in front of the sea, my loyal black lab Stadler flowing alongside me as we sailed to the land of skinniness where you can have all the cheese and margaritas you want. Visualization is not all it’s cracked up to be.
The morning of our first jog, I awoke excited. The weather was chilly, so I threw on a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt. I keyed up some music, put on my brand new shoes and started stretching. Ten minutes later, Stadler and I were out the door on our way to Ocean Drive.
Everyone always says, “Once you lose the weight, you’ll get a whole new wardrobe. Won’t that be great?!?” No one ever remembers that getting skinny is a process. There are a lot of sizes between a sixteen and a six. Who wants to spend a bunch of money to buy clothes that won’t fit in two weeks? Not me. I despise shopping. I started wearing all my too big clothes tied on with a bit of rope, Jethro Clampett style. It wasn’t a great look, but it worked – for the most part.
I strode out of my house that morning wearing yoga pants that were four sizes too big. In my defense, they didn’t feel that way when I donned them, fresh from the dryer. They were skin tight! As I ran, however, they stretched becoming looser and looser with each thudding stride. I reached back with the one hand that wasn’t occupied with the leash, and pulled them up. It helped for a second — then disaster struck. My pants fell all the way down to my ankles, causing me to trip and fall toes over teakettle to the sidewalk, my enormous purple polka dotted panties clearly visible to all the drivers on their morning rush hour commutes. Stadler valiantly tried to “help” by tangling both of us in her leash and then by standing on my shoulders poking her nose in my face to see if I was dead. I finally got the dog off me and stood up. Stadler ran joyous victory laps around my ankles, tangling us three further times before I screamed her into submission and finally raised my poor puddled pants. There was much honking. One guy laughed so hard he had to pull over and park in the bike lane for a few minutes to get himself together. I stormed past him towards our house, the back of my pants gathered in my right hand, holding fiercely to my dog and the remains of my dignity.
I was so furious at my failure that I couldn’t give up, even though my knees were skinned and my palms were raw. I charged into my house and put on a pair of pants that had a draw string at the waist. I choked that sucker up as far as it would go, and triple tied it in a knot from hell. Even the smallest microbe wouldn’t have been able to slide between fabric and skin, it was that tight. Stadler and I set off again, this time on quieter street. I no longer cared about the view. I plodded down the road, flat footed and miserable. As I trudged, I felt something strange happening inside my new bottoms.
My underwear was falling down.
I stopped mid-plod, and quit. Stadler and I sat on a curb for a minute. I caught my breath and cussed while Stadler rested her head on my shoulder, and gave my cheek a consolation lick. Eventually, we started the walk of shame back home, panties tragically sagging the whole way.
Since then, I have purchased many new pairs of pants which all feature belt loops. Stadler and I rarely run now, but when we do, I wear compression jogging tights and we go in the deepest, darkest night to hide our shame. I still hate every stinking minute of it.