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Friday, March 08, 2002

Fat and Ugly

(This story is to be serialized over a couple of days)

Fat and ugly--just saying those words is painful. They also make for a lousy opening line, much better to begin with ‘thin and beautiful.’ Everyone would keep reading that story but this story is mine, my autobiography, and I'm not thin and beautiful. I'm fat and ugly—the two worst things to be in this culture. It makes me laugh out loud to even refer to 21rst century America as a culture.

I was born ugly. Ugly goes way back in my family, generation after generation. Ugly is my birthright, a sort of feudal duchy I have inherited. As far as fat goes I guess you could say that I am self-made. I would like to tell you that it was difficult, that I struggled long and hard to be fat, that I did it all on my own, but I had plenty of help. I would like to thank a few people: Ben and Jerry, Little Debbie, Mister Frito-Lay, the list is long and distinguished.

The funny thing is (I should say the curious thing because I’m not laughing about it) that although I am butt ugly and big as a house, when I’m out in public it’s like I’m invisible. If people pretend they don’t see me I guess I won’t litter up their People magazine’s World’s 25 Most Beautiful People world. Even my co-workers ignore me, unless they need the definition of a word they’re too dumb to even spell, let alone look up in a dictionary, or they need some other factoid. I forgot to mention that I am incredibly well educated, but in our culture, who cares?

The level of intellect of the people I work with is utterly appalling. I don’t think that any of the quasi-literate office drones can state a single fact confidently enough without tacking on an intonational question mark.

”Italy, that’s in Europe?”

“World War II was against the Nazis?”

“Mexicans speak Spanish?”

The answers to most of life’s central questions my co-workers leave blank.

I don’t mean to sound bitter. The fact that I’m ignored by my co-workers suits me just fine. That I’m not included in their after-work goings-on is a relief. The few times when I find myself in their social company I get so bored that I could actually faint. Their conversation revolves around petty office stuff or, even more boring, their personal lives. Maybe if one of them is feeling particularly lofty, they may mention an opinion on something seen on television.

“I think the girl’s parents did it,” they say as they sit back and contemplate this tidbit they have contributed to Western thought. I excuse myself and jump from a third floor bathroom window to escape.

Work is called work for a reason. I don’t get too concerned about them one way or another. I prefer being ignored, it beats trying to carry on a conversation with someone about whether or not some movie star looked fat on last night's TV appearance. About the only way I could get noticed around the office is if I came in to work with a hunting knife sticking out of my skull.

There is no knife in my head today so no one notices when I leave work a half hour early. I step outside and walk to my car. I work in what is euphemistically know as an office park. Whoever tacked on that name should be forced to look up 'park' in the dictionary. It's a four story building surrounded by a parking lot and fringed with a bit of grass and shrubs (the park part?). This entire part of the city is diced up into these office park units. There are no retail or housing units in the area so something as simple as finding a place for lunch becomes a sort of safari. Forget about walking anywhere except to your car in the parking lot.

If I were an undercover agent posing as white trash my choice of automobile wouldn't blow my cover. It's a 1979 Ford LTD, a real boat. I take neither pride nor shame in my vehicle. I paid practically nothing for it and it runs, good enough. It's not like my appearance would be improved if I drove something like the other people at work: the Legspreader V8 or the Barbie Malibu Lipsitck Funmobile. I'm not willing to shell out the cash to get in one of these and it would take the jaws of life to get me out.

(to be continued)

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