Weight and So Forth
I was glad when the whirring and huffing and puffing stopped. When Lapius was riding his exercycle the whole floor shook and I couldn’t prevent the microscope from vibrating. He walked into the room toweling sweat from his brow. His sweatshirt had large moist blotches under the armpits.
“I’ve lost another pound, Harry.” I wondered how a man so versed in so many things could continually delude himself about his weight. He walked to the kitchen and I hear him gurgling two large glasses of water.
“Now weigh yourself again,” I said, “and see what happened to the pound. You realize Simon that if you ate less and walked more you would lose weight.”
“Each to his own, Harry. I know your theories, and perhaps there is something to them, but a man can’t cut himself off entirely from his environment, and food is part of the environment.”
“Then don’t complain to me all the time about your tailor bills. You’re fat Simon, and getting fatter. All you do on that bicycle is disturb the neighbors and interfere with my work.”
“What do you suggest?”
“How much weight did you put on last year?”
“Two pounds.” He looked hurt. “You don’t believe me?”
“Simon, that two refers to inches on your waist. You gained ten pounds.”
“How do you know that for a certainty?”
“Because you’re too lazy to push the balances back to zero on the scale. I’ve kept a complete book on you Simon. You started toasting the year in at 208 and now you’re 218. And you look it. You forgot to wipe the sweat from under your chin. Probably couldn’t find it.”
“Wait till you’re my age Harry. You’ll see,” he said plaintively.
“Nonsense Simon. Every time I turn around you’re stuffing something in your mouth.”
“I need the fuel.”
“Ridiculous. I bet I can take half a pound off a week and you’ll never know the difference. Just a slight change in your living habits.”
“Impossible. I’m down to the barest minimum caloric intake now.”
“Half pound a week, 26 pounds a year. Give me one week to prove it.” He looked down at his gravid appearing belly and winced.
“All right Harry, I’ll give you one week.”
It was a rough week. I had him up at seven every morning, and we walked briskly for 30 minutes and repeated the exercise again at bedtime. I stocked the house with shrimp and celery chunks bathed in ice water and scattered bowls of the stuff all over the house for him to nibble on. I served him a well balanced diet with measured amounts of food, just slightly under the normal daily intake that I had estimated. I stuffed him with salad with sauerkraut. He ate hamburgers without buns, no potatoes, no pasta. He wanted sugar in his coffee. It was okay with me.
“It isn’t very fattening. What do you take? Four teaspoons a day? But who ever ate a teaspoon of potato or spaghetti.”
He weighed in daily, and when the week was over he had lost almost a pound.
“See, it’s easy.” I said. “Keep this up and in one year you’ll be under 200 lbs. And it will be painless.”
“Okay, Harry, you’ve made your point. I agree.”
That night when I returned for dinner he was already at the table. A fatty rib roast fled onto his plate, and a bowl of mashed potatoes dripping butter was at the side. I looked aghast.
“Harry,” he consoled me. “I’m forever grateful. You’ve shown me I can lose weight anytime I want to. I feel free to eat now. Sit down, there’s plenty here for the two of us.”
I measured his appetite by the rate at which the food disappeared, and then put on my coat.
“Where are you going?” he asked with a full mouth.
“Out to eat. There isn’t enough for the two of us.”