That guy whose job it is to guess the age and weight of carnival patrons is the bravest man I know. Whenever I see one, I am surprised that he does not have a black eye and a shortage of teeth.
As a life-long dieter, I managed to keep the secret number from even my husband for about 30 years, until he was at a doctor’s visit with me. I made him turn his back while I was on the scale (as usual). Then while the doctor was discussing health issues with me, the doctor blurted out my weight right in front of my husband! Something in my expression tipped her off and she asked if she had done something wrong. And I said, “I cannot believe that I have carefully kept my weight a secret from my husband for 30 years and you just blurted it out in front of him. Why don’t you step out into the waiting room and just share it with everybody?!”
I will go out of my way to avoid passing that carnival booth. I used to think that guy obtained his unique talent by purchasing those X-ray vision eyeglasses that I used to see in the back of comic books. The ad usually was illustrated with a drawing of a goofy looking guy with a facial expression that seemed to say, “I just sat on a cattle prod!”
Then I demised that he probably got his superior job skills the way most of us do: by years of practice.
I can prove this hypothesis. I work at a large high school. The wrestling coach, as part of his job, regularly weighs each of his athletes before a meet. As a result, he has developed the ability to accurately guess anyone’s weight just by looking at him or her. This does not make me happy. As a life-long chubby person, I have spent my life guarding that number as if it were the secret to worldwide domination. I managed to dodge the coach for months.
I would hide behind the furniture when the weight guessing coach passed through the office. I made a few observations: The copier and the filing cabinet are good choices; the coat rack and the pole lamp are not so good.
I knew that sooner or later, I would have to pass him in the hall, where there was nothing to hide behind. I carried cash in my pocket just in case. Then as he got closer, I could whisper, “What will you take as a bribe to keep your mouth shut, because I’ve got money?”
One day that which I had feared finally happened. There was nowhere to hide. He had not yet said a word, but the closer he got, the madder I got. I was sure that he was looking me over and making his guess. I had already started practicing my response if he dared to say anything.
When he gets here, I thought, I will give him a menacing Robert DeNero type glare and say, “Are you looking at me? Because if you are looking at me and guessing my weight, I will gouge both your eyes out with this pencil and then staple your eyelids shut for good measure!”
That’s what I will say. Then I will add that this is not my flab; I am carrying it for a friend.
“I am not fat; I am big-boned,” I will add.
Then he might say, “Then you must be related to a T-rex.”
Then I will say, I am just retaining water.”
And he might say, “It must be Lake Huron.”
Then I will say, “I guess you think I should should hide my less than perfect body by wearing a cardboard box.”
And he might say, “It would have to be a refrigerator carton.”
And I will say,”While you are guessing, guess how many teeth you will have left when I get through with you?!”
By the time he passed me in the hall, steam was whistling out my ears and sparks shot from my eyes. Just let him say one word about my weight, I thought. He will rue the day he ever…
I was ready for it when he opened his mouth to speak. I would say to him, “Oh, yeah? How would you like it if I made a few guesses about you and your size, if you get my drift? I ought to put your head in a vice and squeeze it until your eyeballs pop right out of your head!”
And he said, “You’re about 110 pounds, right?”
That man is either a genius or terrified of me. Either way, I’m okay with that.