International Writers Magazine:On
But the TV producers
didnt want fat people, they wanted fat people who were pretty on
camera. I dont know about you, but I dont know a lot of pretty
tubbies. If ugly werent the antithesis of beauty, I think fat would
I was once on a reality TV show where the contestant who lost the
most weight won the prize money. I never saw so many fatties in
one place making fools of themselves for a hundred grand. We had
to audition for the show. How do you audition for being fat? Im
a pro at this, have been for a long time, its pretty much
second nature by now. You cant fake it.
They chose ten of us, five men and five women. The women were what youd
expect, more pretty than heavy. Not a single pug nose in the group. Great
personalities, though. The world is tough on you if youre a lard-ass
with a bad disposition.
The men were average to middling on looks, and all of us were fat. Really
fat. The kind of fat where you want to offer something to eat when we
visit but deep inside youre afraid of our answer. We couldnt
even go the beach without Greenpeace trying to save us.
The winner would be chosen based on fat percentage lost versus total fat
and total weight and audience voting. It was a complicated formula, they
told us, it wasnt just about losing a few pounds. In other words,
shut your fat face up and quit asking so many damn questions, well
choose who the public wants to win.
Its always about the money.
They had doctors and nutritionists and personal trainers at our disposal.
All of them were trim and fit and ate six servings of fruits and vegetables
a day. None of them smoked (on camera) and they all had Hollywood agents.
Oh, and they were all as hot as Baywatch lifeguards.
We got to choose our own workout regimens and diets based on recommendations
from our Barbie and Ken professionals. I picked what I thought I could
stick with and I tried my best to win that money.
The producers portrayed a kind of brotherhood between us contestants,
a fatty support group of sorts. But I was there to win, not make friends.
I had enough fat friends in my life, now I wanted a fat wallet. I was
going to be the next Subway spokesman.
I could drop some weight, especially with money on the line. Not to forget
the added award of certain fame and acceptance. All I needed was a little
incentive and I too could sport the body of Adonis.
As you may have guessed, I didnt win. Not only did I lose the contest,
I was the sole entrant to actually gain weight during the show. I added
four inches to my waist and grew a whole new chin. Insert Chinese phonebook
I became the silent plague of the show. Conversations ceased when I waddled
into the room. People stopped eating around me like it would upset the
The show wasnt one where you got voted off, you stayed the whole
season. Twelve one-hour episodes lasting twelve long weeks. The editors
did their best to minimize my screen time but one of the tenets of the
show was the weigh-in at the end of each episode. You know, where the
fatties get applauded for their weight losses and encouraged to keep it
When my turn came, the place hushed. No one knew what to say, not even
the mannequin-perfect host, standing there with his flawless hair, the
microphone poised at his botox-enhanced lips.
And each week, I gained more and more. I reached a new personal record.
First, it was just five pounds and the nutritionists explained it away
as the new diet needing time to work. A rebound effect, they called it.
The second week I added more weight, ten beautiful pounds I can safely
blame on the new Krispy Kreme opening down the street, with its hypnotizing
"Hot Doughnuts" sign blinking like a lonely lighthouse beacon
in the night, beckoning me toward the rocky shore.
Twelve weeks of this personal hell and I gained seventy extra pounds.
The show doctors discussed glandular problems, even though my thyroid
had checked out fine. They didnt understand what was happening,
but I did. It was simple.
I love to eat.
I got the fame I was searching for but not the product endorsements. There
are no deals out there for fatties who cant stop gaining weight.
Nothings geared toward us except pity and sympathy.
Things didnt work out exactly the way they were supposed to, but
then again, nothing ever does. The experience wasnt a total loss
(pun intended). I did achieve one of my goals. Actually, I overachieved
without ever trying. There was a fat guy in Indiana that had nothing better
to do with his time than create a webpage just for me. Screen captures,
weight charts, a bio, video clips of me eating a Snickers. He was obsessed.
And as it turned out, this was a good thing.
After my humiliating loss, he began an online donation campaign. The Fat
Fund, he called it. Its purpose was to ease my suffering and allow me
to hire true professionals to help me lose weight. The money came with
no strings attached.
I dont have a job any more, I do interviews. Oprah, Larry King,
Ellen Degeneres. I talk about the humiliation I went through and my personal
battles with weight and other feely-feely crap.
Meanwhile, the Fat Fund continues to grow. Im a multi-millionaire
from doing what comes most natural, eating. I may not have have won the
prize money and lost my weight but I get the biggest laugh of them all.
Excuse me, I think I hear the pizza guy at the door.
© Ross Cavins October 2007
It was 1968, a summer of love, and so it was with Martha and Odell. They
had three girls, the youngest at sixteen months, and another child on
the way. Back then, you didn't know what you were going to have until
it popped out screaming at the world.
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