It was bound to happen. Finally, my bathroom scale has had a nervous breakdown.
In the post-holiday season, as I started my annual lament on how my clothes were continuing to shrink, my good wife, the Pearl of the Orient, put things in focus for me.
“It’s not your clothes, Elliott, it’s your gut that the problem!” she stated firmly as she craned her neck and tried to peer around me to get a full view of the TV, and made another snide comment about me hustling my butt out of her line of vision.
The next morning, after extricating myself from the tub–an increasingly difficult maneuver–I boldly stepped onto the scale to face the truth. Leaning well forward to get a clear view down, I focused on the digital display.
The scale is one of those fancy electronic jobs that communicates in metric or imperial.
“One at a time, please!” flashed the readout.
I bounced once for good measure to settle its microchips.
“Warning, Overload! 858858858,” it bleeped at me.
Stepping off the beast in shock, I slipped on the wet floor, my left foot shot out, and my big toe connected with the corner of the scale with enough force to jam my toenail back a half-inch.
Meanwhile, the scale whizzed across the floor, ricocheted off the tub, chipping off a chunk of enamel, before doing a back flip and clattering to rest between the garbage can and the toilet.
Little bleeps and chirps came from its electronic innards as it continued its insidious flash of “858858.”
From my prone position on the floor, I howled in pain as I attempted to get my injured toe into my mouth–a contortion I discovered I could no longer perform.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve managed that since about age four when Uncle Allan, with his perverse sense of humour, conned a group of cousins, who had been romping all over the farm yard–barefoot–for the prize of one penny to show him if we could put our big toe in our mouths.
We all complied. Mother was not amused.
My howls of pain were abruptly were refocused I swung open the bathroom door, caressing my other big toe..
With a muttered curse, nursing my toe, I sulked on the couch in front of the TV, my bloated physique reflecting back at me even more amplified on the blank screen.
Finally, resolve strengthened and firmed. That very evening I would attend my first meeting of Calories Anonymous. I approached the weigh-in with some trepidation.
“I might break your scales,” I apologized with a nervous laugh.
“Not to worry. We have the heavy-duty livestock model,” explained the co-ordinator as, waving her stock prod, she herded me onto the platform and recorded a number that was obviously in error.
They must have a greater gravitational force at this particular locale.
Throughout that first meeting, I looked, listened, and learned. The primary trick to weight loss, it seems, is to start with heavy clothing and gradually shed a garment each week, therefore always losing weight.
By week two, abandoning my sweater and wallet, I was down a pound and a half-but the long johns aren’t coming off until spring.
Week three, I took desperate measures, but an hour before weigh-in came the phone call, “Meeting cancelled due to road conditions.”
“What! I’ve already administered the enema,” I wailed as I made a dash for the john.
The scale, in a state of nervous exhaustion, was still hiding next to the waste basket, flashing “858858.”