The 5 Biggest Benefits of Growing Up Fat
I need to lose weight, and I don't mean I just need to lose a few pounds. I should probably drop 50, if we're making a conservative estimate. My doctor would likely put the actual number a bit higher, but he also thinks I should quit drinking. I pretty much tuned out everything he ever told me after that, although I am curious as to how he replied when I asked why my skin is turning yellow and I wake up shaking every morning. I'm probably just getting too much potassium in my diet. Who knows?
Whatever the case, I'm not here to talk about losing weight or bettering myself in any way. A lot of people need to lose weight. My bulging waistline doesn't make me special and hearing me complain about it won't do anything for your desire to be entertained through the magic of Internet comedy. But that doesn't mean I can't do some good here.
School bullying is big news these days, but most of the attention goes to gay teens and girls who get called sluts. Meanwhile, the most teased and bullied segment of the school population -- fat kids -- gets completely ignored. Today that all changes. Chubby kids of the world, consider this article your very own "It Gets Better" campaign. It's my message to you to let you know that, no matter how plump you may be, it doesn't mean your life is always going to be horrible. In fact, being fat could turn out to be the best thing for you. It certainly worked out for me.
Here are five reasons why I'm glad I grew up fat ...
Nobody Looks at My Facebook Pictures and Marvels at How Much Weight I've Gained
How many times have you friended an old classmate on Facebook and, upon seeing what they look like now, found yourself wondering exactly what happened? That cheerleader you always wanted to bang now looks like the haggard barfly your mom eventually turned into. The star athlete is now bald and overweight and, even sadder, still tries to squeeze into his varsity letterman jacket as if he doesn't realize Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" is about him.
It's such a common thing that I doubt there's a single person reading this who hasn't spent hours on Facebook taking smug satisfaction in just how far the mighty (meaning the "popular kids") have fallen. But you know who doesn't have that problem? Me.
For all intents and purposes, I look a lot like I did in high school. Those two pictures up there are (on the left) me when I was in high school and obviously going through a phase in which that hat seemed like a good idea and (on the right) me a few months ago with the very same cat who stars in the header image for this column. Obviously, I've aged somewhat and have lost all desire to shave on a regular basis. And yes, my hair is a whole lot thinner up top (there's probably a mullet underneath that stupid hat), but that's probably for the best. At one point, I had this ridiculous Nick Carter-esque penis hair sort of look during my formative years.
I clearly can't be trusted with the responsibility that comes with having a full head of hair. But I do still have some hair. And I've always looked a bit younger than I actually am (I'll be 74 in March), so my pretty face is still basically intact. That just leaves one thing, my weight. And guess what? I was fat in high school, too, just like I am now. So nobody is surprised when they see that, all these years later, I'm still pretty damn hefty. Being overweight when I was young just means that I got to where damn near everyone else was headed a bit earlier.
I Wasn't Expected to Be Athletic
I'm actually selling this point short by saying I wasn't expected to be athletic. The truth is, when you're overweight, people just don't expect much of anything from you, because everyone assumes you're lazy. If that sounds like a bad thing, rest assured, it's not. Nothing drives a hormone-riddled kid over the edge like the crushing weight of high expectations. I had no expectations of that sort placed on me. Maybe people expected me to always be the person willing to finish off that last slice of pizza or suggest that we take the bus instead of walking somewhere, but I definitely wasn't expected to do anything that would require actual work or effort.
One place the lowered expectations placed on fat people helped me was in gym class. Maybe it's just because I went to public school and not one of the private schools everyone now pretends they attended in order to make themselves seem fancy, but I was never surrounded by teachers who would be described as dedicated to their jobs. Even at a young age, I kind of sensed that everyone was just there to get a paycheck, and that was doubly true in gym class. Nobody even cared if the kids who came out of the womb with washboard abs exerted any effort during PE, so what do you think they were looking for out of me? That's right, nothing.
Except maybe this.
Surely you've seen a movie or television show where some jelly belly struggles with the rope climb or chin-ups while everyone else in the room giggles hurtfully. Well, in real life, at least for me, that didn't happen. Why? Because one look at me was all the information a person needed to assume I probably wasn't capable of scaling ropes like some kind of jungle beast or doing sit-ups like some kind of asshole who wasn't raised with Twinkie filling in his baby bottles. Sure, I'd halfheartedly give it a shot, just to make sure my laziness wasn't mistaken for outright disdain for both authority and physical exertion, but if there's one thing you never really have to try hard to accomplish, it's making people think you can't do something. So a quick tug on the rope combined with my signature 2-inch vertical leap would usually be enough of a performance to get me out of having to do anything else.
Don't get me wrong, I did play some sports as a kid, but mostly just baseball. If you think baseball requires physical conditioning, you've clearly never seen Prince Fielder in action.
He gets paid to hit, not make healthy lifestyle choices.
That said, my lack of athletic prowess meant I missed out on all of the cheerleader banging and such that I assume the all-state quarterback types got to partake in. But even that turned out for the best, because ...
Being Fat Meant I Had to Learn How to Talk to Women
Don't mistake my childhood desire to never live in a world where meatball subs weren't considered a reasonable breakfast as a desire to never have a girlfriend. Fat people get boners just like anyone else, and dammit, I wanted to do something with mine. But there was a problem I was going to have to overcome to make that happen. Specifically, I had to overcome the fact that chicks just don't instinctively like doing it with fat dudes. Coasting by on my looks wasn't going to cut it, and I knew that. Fortunately for me, at some point during my formative years, I heard this quote ...
"Give me 10 minutes to talk away my ugly face, and I'll bed the Queen of France."
... and everything changed. I went from thinking "I'm too fat to have a girlfriend" to "Holy shit, you can just talk them into it?!?!" almost immediately. The quote is most commonly attributed to Voltaire, but I couldn't have cared less about who it came from. It was the greatest line I had ever heard, and seeing as how I had heard it in an actual classroom (which still strikes me as a bit odd), it had to be true. Everybody knows school never lies.
And with that, I set about learning something during my school years that would actually benefit me in adulthood ... how to talk to women.
Here's a heads up that should horrify any parents out there. Even as a wee pup of just 12 years old, I was able to gain access to stacks of books on how to quickly and effectively bone the ladies, and all I needed was a library card. There was no Internet for me to use back then, so I imagine it's much easier now. Granted, nothing I read in those books helped, but all of those bullshit tips and tricks and pickup lines gave me enough confidence to at least try it out. And there's not much that the old adage "practice makes perfect" doesn't apply to. Laugh it up all you want at the visual of a fat kid sitting in the corner of a dusty library reading whatever the late-'80s equivalent of The Game might have been, but that shit worked. I might have been (and still am) fat, but I sure as shit wasn't (and still am not) lonely.
And for the record, ladies, if you sleep with someone who views himself as less attractive than you, chances are he's going to be super appreciative and go out of his way to make sure it's not an awful experience. What I'm saying is, maybe consider sleeping with a fat dude this weekend. You'll be glad you did.
It Deflected Attention from Bigger Problems
Let's talk about teasing for a moment. No matter how young or old you may be, teasing happens. Kids tease other kids, adults tease other adults, particularly dickish adults like myself tease Will Smith's kids ... it's a vicious cycle. But it happens, so by all means, don't entertain the thought of feeling sorry for me because I was teased about being overweight.
I mean, I totally was, but kids of all shapes and sizes got teased for all sorts of things at my school. But the thing about people who aren't very funny (like douchebag bullies, for example) is that, when they absolutely must come up with something humorous to say, it's going to be the most obvious joke imaginable, if they're even capable of telling jokes at all. So when the bullies and jokesters turned their attention to me, they'd just call me fat or whatever other variation on the joke you can think of and move on to the next target. In other words, I always knew what was coming.
And that was a great! Because believe me, there was plenty of other shit going on in my grade school and high school years that could have been mined for comedic effect. My family was absurdly poor, I have this weird winter allergy thing that makes me sniffle like I'm crying nonstop for like half the year, I went through a ridiculous phase where I wore nothing but sweatsuits to school, I have the kind of eyesight that requires me to wear nerdlinger Coke-bottle glasses whenever I don't have contact lenses in my head ... the list goes on and on. But none of those things were even mentioned, because "Ha! You're fat!" was the easiest joke to make.
There's a reason why fat humor is so popular on the Internet, and it's not because the Web is overflowing with creative geniuses. And that brings us to the very best thing that being fat did for me ...
It Made Me Funny
Now, I accept that some of you reading this maybe think I'm not funny. That's cool, I respect your opinion. It's completely incorrect and we can have a goddamn comedy-off in the parking lot if you want to settle this shit like an old-time duel. But still, you're entitled to be laughably incorrect just like anyone else.
And now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, let's move on to the real point... being a perpetually teased fat kid made me funny. It's pretty simple, really. I had a limited number of choices when faced with constant put-downs and unoriginal wisecracks about my weight. I could cry, I could fight or I could tell a teacher. Unfortunately, I only cry during sex, I'm too slow to fight and snitches dig ditches, so I had to come up with a fourth option. And that, of course, was to make jokes right back.
But whatever could I say? It's not like my fellow fat kids were calling me fat, so I couldn't just make a lame fat joke in return. No, I had to get creative with it. I had to dig deep. Maybe I'd focus on the lazy eye that you thought your bullshit status as captain of the varsity swimming team somehow obscured. Perhaps I'd point out that, rumor had it, your mother turned into a huge slut after your dad (understandably) ran off with another woman. If a crowd of people was listening, maybe I'd claim that you gave a cousin of mine crabs. Whatever it took, I made sure I always had something to come back with when someone teased me about my weight. All those years of fighting fat jokes with "Well at least MY dad doesn't beat MY mom" jokes amounted to some of the best comedy writing practice a person could possibly hope for. I learned not only how to avoid always making the obvious joke, but also how to come up with jokes even when there wasn't anything obviously funny to talk about. And now, jokes pay my bills.
So, thank God I grew up fat. If I didn't, I'd probably be working at a gas station right now, just like all those fucking jocks and other assorted douchebags who took such delight in teasing me as a kid.
For more from Adam, check out The 6 Most Pathetic Attempts to Get Super Bowl Tickets and The 6 Most Insane People to Ever Run for President.