Twenty One Years at Goal Weight

I entered the planet at nine pounds 14 ounces.

Assuming that to be normal, thirty years later, as a newly minted father, I panicked when the doctor informed me that my firstborn weighed six pounds six ounces.

Looking me in the eye, attempting to calm my jitters, he replied, “Six-six is normal. I promise he’s fine.”

“But I weighed ten pounds when I was born!” I protested.

“I can’t help it if you were cruel to your mother,” he replied.

Moral of the story: I was born big, and from that moment, packed on the pounds, tipping the scales at ten pounds for every year.

To explain, I weighed 50 pounds at age five, 90 pounds at age nine, and 130 pounds when I was a teen. From there, I accelerated, reaching 230 upon entering high school — poor timing to say the least. Of the 1107 students in my class, I was the second fattest. Further putting this in perspective, that was in the day when childhood obesity was an oddity, rather than unfortunately as it can be today, quite common.

Kids are brutal, so what were supposed to be some of my best years were anything but. Girls ignored me; guys badgered and bullied me.

Physical education was the lowest of the low.

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My Favorite Toy

My parents told me they gave him to me as a Christmas present in 1955, in Detroit, Michigan in a two-story flat on Dexter Avenue.


I’ve seen the grainy 8MM movies, but of course, I don’t remember. After all, I was barely a year old, hardly old enough to know what was a “best friend,” let alone that he would be it.

At night, I’d hold him until I fell asleep; his very presence banishing monsters that lived under the bed and the shadow creatures in the closet. When wind against the windows caused the curtains to pulsate and the panes to howl a ghostly, eerie, wail, my little yellow buddy with the dark black eyes and furry body watched over me until the sandman cast his magic upon me. He shared my pillow, his yellow, foam, and fur body with plastic face peering over the blankets to protect me, long after I dozed.

I would drag him from Kevin’s to Joey’s to Victor’s during long vacations and hot muggy afternoons. He’d sit, floppy-necked, across from me on the kitchen table as I’d sip lemonade and draw with crayons. While I did homework, he rested, never complaining, near my pencil jar. And when no one was to be found and there was nothing to do but let my imagination take over, I covered him in aluminum foil, wrapped saran wrap around his head, suspended him from the ceiling light, and pretended he was an astronaut.

“Commander Puppy,” I said into my paper-cup microphone (adding the right amount of voice crackle to increase the realism), “This is Captain Scott. Over. Do you hear me? Over. Come in Commander. Over and out.”

Together, we spent hours; daylight until dark. January through December. Childhood through adolescence.

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You are Entitled to Change Your Mind

Not everything works out as expected.

Whether those are goals or relationships, it’s okay to say goodbye when you’re no longer being served.

Simply because you decided to do something or because you wanted to be with someone, doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. If you have honestly done all you know how to do and the results are not what you need, you have the option of moving on. After all, you are a fully functioning adult.

If it’s time to say “farewell,” just do it consciously and with grace.