The weight loss instructor looked straight at me in the group of about nine big fat women. “Stephen do you love yourself?”
They were all waiting for a goofy reply. I looked up with sadness in my eyes and said I did love myself, sometimes late at night. Then I rolled my eyes and looked guilty. This got a good laugh. We lost no weight Easter week.
Mrs. Moore was an old woman, yet built like a sumo wrestler. She was my fifth grade teacher at St. Johns. I remember her immense ankles, and the white socks and black shoes that she wore every day.
She caught me passing a folded piece of paper to Cathy Smith. I had drawn a stick figure with a big penis.
I could see the anger in Mrs. Moore’s face when she looked at it. She picked me up and started shaking me, my head and legs flopping like a rag doll. Then she let go, and I fell to the floor.
I tried to walk away from her. I walked such a crooked line my classmates laughed–they thought I was joking.
I was always joking. She literally shook the shit out of me–I had checked my underwear afterward.
I told my mother who said, “You have gotten so fat, how could anybody pick you up?”
I guess I was a rascal and got what I deserved,
but I do think my life since the fifth grade has been a little shaky.
“Hi, Grandma, how are you?” I yelled, as I entered her house.
I knew she would be in the next room, playing solitaire at her card table.
She lived right next door, and, after I ate lunch at our house, I would walk to her house and eat again. I knew she would have Pop Tarts, ice cream and soda pop, all the good stuff we never had at home. I’d sit down next to her on her couch, which was always covered with a thick plastic cover. This cover came in handy the time I dropped a bowl of ice cream on it. When I made a mess she would yell “Ookie-pooks!” and have a fit until it was cleaned up.
Butchie, her dog, might waddle into the room.
Butchie got snacks all day and all night; his stomach buffed the floor.
“Hey Grandma, can I get something to eat?” I asked with a smile.
“Stevie, you’re getting so fat, but, I did get the chocolate-filled, chocolate-covered ones you like so much.”
She said mixed up things all the time. I didn’t care–I lived for those Pop Tarts. Then she’d hug Butchie, and say, “I love my little ootie-bootums, yes yes yes.”
Grandma was Jewish. I knew this because she ate bagels with cream cheese and some lousy crackers called Matzo. Sometimes a man with a very small hat would visit. Grandma would give him money and say that it was her Rabbi. She would say something funny and, when you looked at her, she would be making a silly face. I’ve never met anyone quite like Grandma, but, I do catch myself acting just like her sometimes.
Teacher: What does the chicken give you?
Teacher: Correct very good, and what does the pig give you?
Teacher: Correct, And what does the fat cow give you?
After waiting for the doctor in a small examining room for forty-five minutes I began playing with the plastic thyroid gland display. Then I opened a cabinet, and there was a nice pen. Here I go acting like a bad kid again. I opened and closed the door a few times, and looked out to see if maybe someone was coming. I gave a nurse my angry disturbed look and she gave me a worse look back. The doctor finally arrived, and told me my blood pressure was way up. I wanted to hit her with a karate chop, and punch her too, but I just stood there, watching her write another prescription.
I have a pain in my brain. I don’t think it’s from overwork, probably the opposite. Long periods with little brain activity. I was was never one to calculate very often. Deep thinking has always been beyond my grasp. This going through life in a non-thinking way has some how worked for me. I will never figure it out.