In the continuing sage of "Tim's Strange New World" here goes another chapter. Twice in the last couple of weeks I had someone making a joke about obese folks in my presence. Keep in mind, both of these folks were pointing out obese folks and making jokes about them...to me. Did you hear me - they were telling these jokes TO ME. Not about ME. They were assuming I'd join in the laugh they were getting out of someone else's appearance. My reaction was two-fold - an admitted sense of relief knowing that someone feels comfortable making a crack about another human being's size in my presence without fear of offending me because I'm no longer eligible to be the butt of those jokes. But I also felt sad, awkward and not sure how to react. My first inclination was to say "you know, last summer I WAS that person you're laughing at..." I felt the need to jump up on my soap box, start preaching and declare the person a hateful sinner in need of redemption! There's power in the blood! But then I realized I'd just embarrass the joke-teller and make them feel awkward. I guess it's like telling a Polish joke to a person not knowing they're Polish.
See, the folks I've met this summer working Braves' games only know me at this size. A few of them know I've had gastric-bypass surgery but most only know me as the guy they see running up and down stadium stairs every night, standing out in the heat and not having cardiac episodes of any kind. I'm just another "somebody at work." It's an odd feeling. I relish being treated as "normal", but also want people to be more sensitive to the kind of ridicule and judgement I used to endure every time I left the house. I also tend to want people to be aware of what I'm accomplished...and yes, I realize this is most self-serving. But I really feel like this is (by far) my greatest accomplishment in life. I want people to know what I've accomplished, not so they'll heap praise upon me, but so they'll be aware that I'm enjoying every minute of this new existence.
Back to the 'fat jokes.' Maybe I'm doing a disservice to folks still fighting this battle (and make no mistake, I have a food addiction...I'll be fighting this battle for the rest of my life...I'm talking about folks who are obese and their lives very negatively impacted by their weight.) Maybe I should be their voice and their advocate. But 'crusaders' get on my last nerve. Even folks who are out pushing causes I agree with get on my nerves. And I really don't think it's my job to police adults' behavior. So here I silently sit, wondering if I'm being selfish. Why can't we all just get along? Group hug!