Sunday, July 21, 2002

“Me Overweight?”

My annual physical was yesterday. Doc Ramsey just looked at me and shook his head. “Scoop,” he said, “you’re carrying at least double the weight recommended for your height and frame. You should be at 160, and you’re packing almost 350 pounds around. It’s hard on you, and it’s hard on anybody you might run into, too.”

“Doc,” I said, “what’s the problem? I’ve been running the roads with 350, sometimes even 400 pounds, depending on what kind of bedtime snacks I’ve been munching lately. I need the extra weight. My body’s adapted to it; it’s a comfortable weight for me.”

“Don’t try to shit a shitter, Scoop,” he said. “You’ve got cholesterol and triglyceride levels higher than Tiny Tim’s falsetto. Has anybody tried putting you on a diet before?”

I laughed. “Doc, dozens of doctors have given me handouts with diets on them, but I just wadded them up and threw them in the trash. Nobody ever checked back to see how I was doing on their diet; I just figured they weren’t serious about it.”

“Well I’m serious about it,” he said. “Your wife has called at least a dozen times to tell me I need to get on you to cut your weight. I’m tired of picking up the phone and having Patty scream in my ear.”

“You think you’re tired of listening to her,” I said. “Listen, Doc, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we have a weight-control team evaluate my case and make a recommendation to you?”

“Where are you coming from, Scoop? What good would that do?”

“Just hear me out, Doc,” I said. “It’ll solve everything. I’ve got some buddies at the health care center. You name them to the weight-control team. They take six months to review my medical records; then they recommend a compromise. No more 400 pounds for me; it’s 350 tops. I weigh in once a month at your office. If I go over 350, you take me off beer and potato chips until I’m back under the wire. I’m happy. Patty can’t call and complain, because it’s all official, so you’re happy. It’s a win-win situation.”

He just looked at me. “Are you completely bonkers?” he said. “No honest medical professional could go along with a scheme like that! Do you know what your life expectancy is at 350 pounds?”

“It may be short, but it sure is sweet,” I said. “In fact, I’ve got friends from Kentucky waiting to see if I can pull this off. They can’t wait to get in on the scam!”

© Tony Russell, 2002

Monday, July 15, 2002

“No Mistake”

An Army spokesman today angrily denied claims by Mountain State residents that as many as 48 innocent civilians were killed, and 117 injured, in a July incident. “Our aircraft have repeatedly come under fire from anti-aircraft weapons in and around Ripley,” said Maj. Gary A. Pologist. “This was a precise military action against a carefully-selected military target.”

Residents of Ripley claim that they were celebrating the country’s birthday, and that fireworks, both formal displays and random informal displays, were the only rockets being fired from the ground. The town was crowded for an Independence Day visit from President Bush, and the attack by a helicopter gunship sent thousands scurrying for cover. The President himself was not injured, and is reported to have thought that the explosions were part of the elaborate welcome celebration local dignitaries had planned.

Maj. Pologist said that the Army had sent a team of investigators to the site of the alleged incident, and they could find no credible evidence that innocent victims had perished in the attack. “We sent in a team of highly-trained forensic experts for three days,” he said, “and they found nothing that would substantiate these rumors.” However, an Associated Press reporter wandering around town yesterday says that a dozen people he met on the street conducted him to a local cemetery and showed him numerous mounds of freshly-disturbed dirt which, in his words, “certainly had the appearance of newly-dug graves.”

Gov. Wise has demanded that Army officials clear any future strikes with his office, a demand rejected by the Army. “Such a policy would severely restrict our ability to respond to terrorism with the swiftness and flexibility that anti-terrorism action requires,” said the spokesman.

© Tony Russell, 2002