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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Starting Over

After finding out the week before last that I was diabetic, I’ve begun the process of turning over a new, very heavy leaf. My diet has changed. You’ll notice I didn’t say I was dieting. Diet, for me at least, is a noun, not a verb. I can’t diet. I have dieted in the past and failed. Miserably. The Atkins Diet. The Hilton Head Diet. The 3-Day Diet. The Hollywood Diet. The Slim Fast Diet. I could go on, but in the interest of your actually reading this, I won’t. Did I lose weight? Sure, a little. But like a broke college kid, it always came home, welcome or not. I’ve never consistently been conscious of—much less careful about—what kinds of food I put in my body. I would not be surprised to find out that I’ve spent as much on fast food as Iran has on uranium enrichment facilities (cue rim shot). I would eat breakfast, lunch, and, on many days, dinner out. My total food consumption on a typical day was somewhere in the range of 5,000-8,000 calories, or three to five times what a normal person eats. And I did this for years. It’s no wonder that my weight has climbed like it has. After eating healthy for nearly two weeks now, my weight is 480 pounds.

Embarrassing to share? You bet it is. But I’m determined to open myself up and let myself be vulnerable. Most guys consider it taboo to discuss their emotions. But I’m not most guys. And I will be dissecting my life to get to the bottom of the destructive relationship I’ve had with food for as long as I can remember. And it won’t be a whiny, poor-me-I-have-an-eating-problem tirade. At the end of the day, I’m the one responsible for my weight. No one forced me to eat, like, everything. No, it’ll be a humorous romp through my history of bad decisions—including favorite binge foods—as well as my current efforts to get back to something resembling healthy. If you think this sounds sad and you pity me right now, don’t bother following the blog, as you’ll likely be mortified. If, however, you want to witness the hilarious journey of a fat guy getting in shape, I’ll see you soon.

~Alan

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some Good News

I heard back from the ultrasound I had done on my leg, and the resuts are normal. I'm relieved—and just the tiniest bit surprised. I'm thankful for those results, but it's almost like taking your car to the mechanic for that clanking sound, only to be told that there's nothing wrong. Still, good news is good news, and I'll take it where I can get it.

~Alan

Friday, September 18, 2009

I've Been Violated...

I've been violated. No, really. I have. Allow me to explain. First of all, this has been a particularly disappointing—albeit, not surprising—week for me. After years and years of irresponsible eating habits and sedentary lifestyle, blood work from a recent dotor's visit revealed that I am now diabetic. Of course, this means a whole new lifestyle, including diet changes and medication. It also means I'm the proud new owner of a glucose testing meter. Okay, not proud, but an owner nonetheless. My doctor also checked my feet and legs. She told me that the discoloration on my lower left leg—the discoloration I've been ignoring because it didn't hurt—is due to blood pooling in the shin area. That discovery led to a referral to have an ultrasound on my leg to check circulation. So today I went to the hospital to have the procedure done. After checking in and getting my obligatory wrist band, I was led to the imaging waiting room by a volunteer. Less than ten minutes later—just as I had become engrossed in a scintillating article in Rural Arkansas touting the virtues of canned okra—a woman I can only describe as "of Asian descent" stepped into the waiting room and called out, "Ah-yen? Ah-yen...Simpson?"
Yeah, that's gonna be about as close as she gets, I thought. I followed her back to the procedure area into a small, dark room where an ultrasound machine sat blinking just to the right of a stretcher draped with sheets.
"You take pants off, leave underwear on," she announced loudly before slipping into an adjacent room where another tech sat reading a newspaper.
Alright, then. I wasn't sure why I needed to take my pants off to ultrasound my shin, but whatever. So I removed my pants and took a seat on the stretcher. She returned a moment later and began entering information into the computer.
"You lay down," she said briskly.
As I lay back on the stretcher, she draped a towel over my waist, and I began to get the idea that maybe my shin wasn't going to be the only thing involved. Without warning, she squirted a sputtering line of warm lubricant down my left leg from crotch to ankle. I jumped slightly but quickly regained my composure. However, it wouldn't last long, as her next move was to jab the ultrasound probe into my bad place where leg and crotch meet and begin digging around the way one might if one were milling grain using a mortar and pestle. I grabbed a handful of sheet with each hand and froze instantly. I've always heard how, in the event of a bear attack, you're supposed to play dead. I always imagined that it would be difficult to not move, to completely disengage your body from your brain—which is telling you to run as if Satan himself were chasing you with a belt sander—and just lie there while this animal determines whether or not it's going to rip you to shreds. I can now say with a fair amount of certainty that it's really not that difficult to lie still. Your body and brain seem to simultaneously realize that you are in crisis mode and agree that it's best if they part ways for a while. The tech finally gave up on my crotch and began maneuvering the probe down my leg. Every ten or fifteen seconds she would step back and press a few buttons on the machine, temporarily stopping the pulsing electronic whoosh, the sound of blood flow. After what seemed like an eternity, she abruptly took the probe away, stabbed a few final buttons on the machine, and threw a towel in my direction, all in what seemed like one deft movement.
"We all done. You clean off gel, then get dressed and go," she said dismissively. "Go left at double door and go out through waiting room."
As much as I wanted to stay and thank her for a magical afternoon, I was more than ready to go. Cleaning the gel off took a little more time and effort than I would have imagined, as she had somehow managed to smear it from the waistband of my underwear down to the inside of my sock. I wiped off as much as I could, then quickly got dressed in the dimly-lit room and headed out into the bright afternoon sun to go home and take a much-needed shower.


~Alan

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Letters from Home: Aunt Lucille's Boobs

Once again I find myself sharing tidbits of my life that should probably remain hidden. This most recent letter from the folks reinforces one simple but important tip for better living: don't cook naked.

Dear son,

Hello, how are you? We're doing real good here. Your daddy says hey. He's on the phone with Aunt Lucille. She's just getting home from the hospital after a little accident. She was baking a cake for her neighbor Levinia Scoggins, who just had that eye surgery they do with the lasers. Levinia can call it "quality of life" if she wants to, but everybody knows she had her eyes lasered so she could get her trashy novels up at the Quickie Mart and stop having to order the ones with large print from that place over in Selmer. Anyway, Lucille had been taking food over there to her for three or four days even though Levinia told her she was fine. I guess Lucille just needs to feel needed. Anyhow, Lucille was putting a load of laundry together and decided she might as well wash what she was wearing, so she stripped down to her birthday suit right there in the kitchen and put her clothes in the washer. About that time the timer went off for the cake. So she opened the oven door a little and bent down to check on it. As soon as she did, her bosoms settled on that hot oven door. She jerked up right quick and started blowing on them and fanning them trying to cool them down. She finally ran a sink full of cool water and leaned over it to let them dangle in there for a little bit. Uncle Dub came in from cutting the grass and saw her butt naked with her bosoms hanging in the sink and asked her what the hell she was doing. She told him what happened and he busted out laughing, so she clanked him over the head with a Pyrex dish that was sitting in the drying rack. He took her to the emergency room since it looked like he was going to have to get stitches anyway. It turns out she had first degree burns on both of what Dub calles her "chesticles." They told her she's going to have to keep them wrapped up for a while, but that they should heal soon. Dub ended up getting 7 stitches in his head. Serves him right for laughing at her. Well, other than that there's not much going on here, so I guess I'll say goodbye for now. Take care and we'll see you later.

Love,

Mom & Dad

Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Ode to Poo

A few days ago, I stopped into the bathroom at work to pee. The only station unoccupied was the back stall, so I stepped in and closed the door. Inside the toilet was a small mound of poo slightly smaller than a tennis ball hanging onto the side of the bowl. It was alone; there were no other remnants or remains of previous occupants, and, except for the presence of the poo, the bowl was sparkling clean. I quickly did my business and flushed. The poo hung on with amazing tenacity and remained after the rush of water had ceased and the bowl had refilled, leaving it peeking above the surface of the water like a fat little frog. As I washed my hands, I couldn't help but giggle like an eight-year-old. I exited the bathroom and went about my day. A bit later, I found myself in need of another pit stop and headed back to the bathroom. It was empty this time, but out of morbid curiosity I leaned into the back stall and peered into the bowl. The poo remained, still clinging to its spot as if it had been organically welded there. I finished my business and flushed, expecting the poo to release it grasp on the porcelain and float away. Instead, it clung fiercely to the bowl and never flinched. Impressed, I washed up and went back to my desk. The rest of the day came and went, and as I headed out to go home I had to stop in one last time just to see if it was still there. As I entered the stall, I could see that the poo was still hanging on, but it looked tired and haggard. I hesitated a moment, then flushed. The poo gave up its grip, tumbled around the bowl for a second, and was then quickly escorted away, leaving me alone in the silence of the bathroom. As I lay in bed that night, I shared the story with Mary and we giggled and snorted about the resilience of poo. I told her that, in light of that resilience, I felt the need to give the poo a name. Almost immediately, she offered a moniker that seemed proper and fitting. So I dedicate this post to you, Mr. McClingy.


~Alan

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thanks But No Thanks

Back in March of this year, while still unemployed, I responded to a job posting for a tech support position. The company I applied with, Collabera, is a local company here in Northwest Arkansas run by Middle Eastern and Indian management that provides third-party tech support reps for larger companies. It turned out to be a huge pain in the ass, a less-than-pleasant experience that left me mad as hell. A few days ago I received another email from Collabera informing me that I had been selected for yet another tech support position. For the first time in my life, I responded the way I wanted to instead of just deleting the email. And it was wonderful.


Ronak,

Thank you for contacting me in regard to the position with Hewlett-Packard. I interviewed with your company, Collabera, in March of this year. I met with Jaspal Nandra regarding a similar position with IBM and, even after explaining to him that I had no UNIX or Linux experience—two of the three operating systems listed in the job requirements—was told that I would be suitable for the position. An interview was scheduled with IBM later in the week. Mr. Nandra was to meet me outside the IBM building at 7:30 the morning of the interview, go over some details with me, and accompany me to the interview. He didn’t show up until 8:30, after the interview was over and I was walking to my car. He offered no apology or explanation. It was a colossal waste of my time, as well as IBM’s. And if you, Mr. Purohit, would have read my entire resume, you would have seen that I still have no experience in UNIX or Linux, again, two of the three the operating systems on this job posting for Hewlett-Packard. As I am not keen to waste any more time attempting to communicate with your company in English—which your employees seem have problems understanding—let me crystallize the theme of this response in a more succinct manner:

I would rather dig ditches for a living and live in squalor the rest of my life than to give even the slightest appearance of being in any way associated with the reprehensible fa├žade you call a business. You may consider this email as notice to purge my resume and contact information from your system.

Kiss my ass,

Alan Simmons