It is once again that time of year when full-figured women engage in that annual ritual which fills us with despair: bathing suit shopping.

My whole family suffers from wildly fluctuating weight. We know more about yo-yo-ing than the Duncan Yo-Yo Company.

We always meant to get a group photo taken if we were all slim at the same time, but it never seems to happen. Someone is always heading rapidly into one extreme or the other. Once we almost made it, but while Mom was out of the room getting her camera, three of us swelled up to size 20.

For this year’s shopping trip, I visited the specialty store that my son used to refer to as “Hefty Hide-Away.”

What on Earth is the purpose of those rigid and pointed industrial-strength bras in large sized swimsuits?They make a woman’s chest protrude like the Grand Teton Mountains. I should send those cups to the soldiers in the Middle East to be used as pup tents. They could easily shelter two Army companies and a Marine battalion.

If someone hugged me while wearing them, he would have to be airlifted to the nearest trauma center to have the two gaping wounds in his chest treated.

And what are those little skirts supposed to hide? They make me look like a lumpy ballerina in a tutu, which in my case would have to be called a four-four.

I selected a suit which seemed to mirror my modest tastes and took it into the dressing room. It was one of those suits guaranteed to make the wearer appear two inches trimmer.

Nowhere on the tag was I warned that I would need three helpers, a vacuum pump, and a case of axle grease to get into it.

And what sadistic moron designed dressing room lighting? I looked like the late J. Edgar Hoover in drag, with the complexion of a a hormone-plagued teenager.

That was when I heard the young lady in the next dressing room whine in dismay to her friend, “I look so fat in this bikini. I may have to go up to a size four!”

That was when I grabbed my purse by its shoulder strap, swung it over the partition, and walloped her over the head with it. As far as I am concerned she deserved it, the little twit.

After I peeled myself out of the suit with a crowbar and made bail, I  decided to order a swimsuit from on-line, so I could be humiliated in the privacy of my own home. When it arrived, I tried it on and stepped in from of the mirror.

Who is the imbecile who told swimsuit manufacturers that large-sized women would like suits with the leg openings cut to a height which could prompt an arrest for public indecency? I haven’t seen saddlebags like that since I watched John Wayne pack for a cross-country cattle drive.

When I returned the suit, the return slip asked for a reason for the return. I wrote, “It didn’t make me look like a supermodel. Obviously a design flaw of some kind.”

That evening I wallowed in depression while I watched a football game. The last quarter had dragged on interminably until the announcer said, “This one is going right to the wire. As the saying goes, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”

I broke into a chorus of the song “Goodnight, Irene” and changed the channel.

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