9.27.2005

Moons of the Morbidly Obese:

For many years, I have been an on-again-off-again insomniac. I can go for weeks relishing the kind of sleep of which cows are envious. (Cows, as you may know, can sleep standing up and not be disturbed even by crapulent teenage cow-tippers). I wake up after 7 or 8, or occasionally even 9 hours of such profound and imperturbable sleep that I am frozen in the same spine-cracking position in which I first drifted off to meet the Sandman.

There are, however, many times when such sleep, or really any sleep, eludes me for days or weeks or months on end. I have recently re-entered one of these Dr. Jekyl-esque, somnus-absent periods. A central theme of this affliction is my inability to adequately deal with this frustrating occurence.

The night before last, I employed my usual strategy of leaving the television on at high volume, while ignoring all instincts pointing to more constructive, and perhaps sleep-conducive, activities. Although there was no clear program choice, I figured the only way to justify what promised to be a night of mind-numbing television claptrap, would be to watch something "educational"... So, as my thinly-stretched and sleep-deprived conscience dictated, I settled on a one hour documentary on TLC called "The 627 Pound Woman" (a creative title if ever there was one, given that the show was, quite to my un-surprise, about the struggle of a 627-lb woman to get her weight under control).

This woman's shocking appearance, including a roughly 60lb paniculus (a large sagging pouch of poorly-distributed excess body fat), sagging weightily towards the ground from the left side of her lower torso, made it impossible for me to avert my eyes. I even forgoed channel flipping during commercial breaks for fear that I would miss anything(I would normally, at the very least, check on MTV to see if that god-awful Laguna Beach was over yet).

I became even more tightly riveted to the "boob-tube" (a term my father has employed with aplomb for as long as I can remember, and which, in my old age, I agree is rather apt, especially considering the outcome of this particular sleepless night) during the 1am-2am TLC time slot.
As if to ratchet up the tension perceptably for all of us pathetic nail-biting insomniacs glued to the TV at 1am on a Tuesday, a program called "The One-Ton Man" was broadcast, much to my sick delight. This time, not only did I not channel flip during commercials (screw you, Talin, and your band of spoiled Cali cronies!), but I was compelled to save up all of my furious, eyeball-refreshing blinking for these pauses. Simply put, the one ton man, Patrick something-er-other, was and is indescribable. Does anyone remember the girl in Willy Wonka that turned into a blueberry after eating some 3-course meal bubble gum which had not yet reached the end of the "development pipeline"? Take away the blue, flatten her out a bit, multiply to an adult man and that was poor Patrick, no exaggeration, here.

When I finally did crawl into bed and fall asleep (my best estimate is around 3:30am), it was inevitable that I should have dreams focusing on obesity: the strange thing, however, is the form in which these dreams presented themselves. It was as if I were my own little planet, and I was being orbitted by several moons. Each moon was a super-morbidly obese person like Patrick (alhtough in this case, he was smiling and no longer covered by huge festering welts) and the 627-lb woman (minus paniculus). The irony here is that I awoke with the distinct impression of being too damn fat for my own good - we're talking giggly, chunky fat that would keep me from being able to roll over in bed of my own volition and under my own steam. This feeling plagued me for a good part of that day, which is when it finally hit me what my father has meant all these years... that tube turned me into a boob.

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