Drat!  I violated one of my own cardinal rules and now I have photo evidence of my stupidity posted on my company’s website.   But I’m jumping ahead of myself.  Allow me to explain the cardinal rule, first.

“Never participate in any activity that involves you revealing your true weight or your size.”

For those of us who are not “thin” or “in good shape”, there’s absolutely NOTHING worse than having to own up to your failings in a way that might be considered public.  Believe me, as a “not-thin” person, I wear my failings (concealed under layers of black fabric) every day of my life.  I don’t need to make you privy to my shame any more than that, thank you very much.  I live in abject fear of someone finding out my true weight.  In fact, when I belonged (yes – past tense) to Weight Watchers, I was the chick in the back of the line feverishly jogging in place while shedding outterwear and removing nail polish in an attempt to shave a tenth of an ounce off her weight.   I’ve become so good at sheltering others from the harsh realities of my flab, that it’s hard to admit to you now that I voluntarily signed up for an activity that required me revealing my size – but I did.  In my defense, it was a trick, concocted by a skinny person.

When the office manager at work sent out an email inviting us all to volunteer one Saturday morning for a park clean-up, I got all “Crunchy” and “koom by ya” and signed up myself , Dick and the kids.  I thought it would be a good way of teaching the children about the importance of caring for our environment and that, maybe, we’d have fun being in the park together, too – soak up some sunshine, get some exercise.

A day or two after I signed up to volunteer, the office manager stopped by my cube and asked in a whisper voice, “What size shirt do you wear?”

“Why?”, I asked, horrified at the thought that the size tag was showing on my shirt or that I’d somehow been walking around with one of those semi-transparent size stickers still stuck to my ass.

“You’re going to need to wear a corporate volunteer shirt at the park clean-up event on Saturday.  I just need your size so I can see if we have one for you in the closet.”

“No!  Don’t worry about it.  I’ve got tons of red tees at home.  I can just wear one of those.”

“Sorry, but if you’re going to participate, we need photos of you wearing our team tee shirt.  Let me go get one for you…”

First of all, I can only assume that it’s only us full-figured ladies who get the hushed whisper shirt size request – which kinda pissed me off.  On the other hand, I was too horrified at the thought that I’d have to give my shirt size, aloud, to the size 2-when-soaking-wet Office Manager, to allow my annoyance to get the better of me.

“Uh, normally, I’d take a large,” I lied, “but maybe you should make it an XL so there’s some room for it to shrink.”  Feigning nonchalance is always a good way to disarm your skinny opponent.

“They run big.  I’ll get you a large,” she said.

“Crap! ”  My opponent called my bluff. “Now what am I gonna do?”, I thought to myself.  ”I can’t show up at this company event in a bright red skin-tight tee and then spend all day being photographed bending over and picking up trash.”

I could see it already - Sam the bright red sausage girl who apparently thinks she’s about 40 pounds smaller than she really is. Or worse, one of those women I like to mock after I’ve had a few too many cocktails – the 60-something women who go to the mall in skin-tight, thigh-high red sequined dresses at 11:30 on a Sunday morning seemingly unaware of how tragically inappropriate they are in their Britney Spears meets AARP garb.

As the week wore on, I succumbed to the idea of my public humiliation, but I kept thinking, “Dude, this is definitely karma coming back to bite me in the ass – big time.”  And it was.


After 4 days of starvation dieting Saturday morning arrived and I got up to face my flaming red, fat fate.  Squeezing the tee over my head, I felt pretty optimistic.  But once it was “on” I realized it fit like a second skin in all the wrong places.  With it’s shapeless, unisex cut, it clung unflatteringly to every lumpy piece of flesh and roll of fat on my abdomen, but made my boobs look like deflated mini-muffins.  So much for my only asset.  After several minutes spent trying to stretch the fabric to strategically loosen it, I was forced to give up and throw a sweatshirt on over top of it.   Now I looked like someone who was trying to conceal a really horrible red tee shirt under a really horrible old gray hoodie.  Throw in sunglasses and my appearance had all the charm of the Unabomber’s signature look, without his trademark ability to blend into crowds.

Outside, sweating in the early morning sun under the weight of my clingy volunteer tee and grey sweatshirt, I stopped periodically to catch my breath and hide behind bushes and in ravines to avoid photo ops with the other do-gooders.  I can honestly say, there’s nothing that screams “I’m a dork” more than having your photo taken at a corporate volunteer event, unless of course, you’re a 6ft tall overweight woman posing in a hideous red tee shirt that’s slowly suffocating you, while wearing wool gloves and sporting large bags of refuse. 

Of course, it might all have been slightly more tolerable were it not for the fact that my family promptly abandoned me for the playground equipment the moment we set foot in the park.  Like the awkward fat girl at the junior prom, I was left to “blend” with the others, knowing full well that I never would. Worse, I had to face the fact that yet another attempt at a creating a teaching moment for my kids, had turned into one in a long line of embarrassing learning moments for me. 

Speaking of learning moments, when will I learn to follow my own rules, for instance?  That’d be a great lesson to learn.  Or how about, get to the gym and stop acting like my healthy body is something to be ashamed of?  That’d be a good lesson to learn, too.

Maybe someday.  Right now I’ve got to work on lesson #2 which is:

“Never invite strangers to read about your personal humiliations unless there’s some coin involved”.

You people are lucky I’m as stupid as I am…that’s all I’m sayin’.

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