I was a pretty big baby at birth with plenty of rolls of baby fat all over. I didn’t notice. I didn’t care.
I was born with a healthy appetite. I loved my grub. My father liked to tell me I was reading by 9 months. Apparently I could spot a Dairy Queen faster than they could and I stirred up quite a fuss if they didn’t pull over to get me my DQ fix.
By grade school I owned the title as the Chubby McCormick. My older siblings were better described as “lanky” and then there was me. My brother lovingly dubbed me as, Cherby Buns.”
The name was both angelic (derived from cherub) and indicative of my ever-growing posterior. My butt was getting big.
I knew I liked food, hated gym and organized sports and was bigger than most of my friends. So what?
Then came the summer of 65. I was 11. Two of my friends had graduated from babyish one-piece bathing suits to more mature two-piece bathing suits.
I wanted one too but my mother tactfully said, “they aren’t flattering and besides you’re too young.”
I knew I wasn’t too young because my friends who were the same age were wearing them and if anything, their mothers were stricter and more conservative than mine. The “unflattering part” went over my head.
I didn’t like gym, but I liked to swim and spending my summers at our beach house on Long Island Sound in Connecticut was good for that.
It was also good for lots of walks and bike riding with my friends and we spent a lot of time sailing and rowing too. I usually was the one who did the rowing because I might have been fatter than my friends (though I wasn’t aware of it at the time) but, I was also stronger and had more endurance.
I was an active kid. My mother grew up on a vegetable farm and never served us a meal with fewer than 3 vegetables. She roasted and grilled lean cuts of meat and wasn’t much on frying anything. She also taught us that cookies, ice cream and cake were for dessert and fruit was for snacking. Potato chips were just for picnics!
So the day I discovered I was fat, shocking as that was, might have come sooner if not for good eating and exercising habits being instilled by my mother. (They went to Hell in a handbasket later when I moved out to live on my own!)
I can remember the details with clarity. I was sitting on a dock with 3 of my friends. We had all just climbed out of the water. The dock was unpainted, weathered wood. When we stood up to jump back in the water again, one friend pointed to the four butt prints made by our wet bathing suits. She laughed. I was appalled.
It was like that game they play on Sesame Street.
“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn’t belong?
If you guessed this one is not like the others,
Then you’re absolutely…right!”
There were 3 small butt prints and one great, big one, which happened to be where I was sitting!
That’s when it hit me! “Holy crap! I’m fat!”
So, I decided to do something about it.
The next time my friends and I sat on the dock, I made sure to kick my feet, that previously I just let dangle in the water. I kicked real hard so that I splashed the dock so much all the butt prints were obliterated!