Doggone it, my scales hitting new heights

Two days after Christmas I decided to weigh. Stepping on the scales with trepidation, I looked left and right and up, then took a deep breath and glanced down at the illuminated numbers. Many thoughts passed through my brain, but it was my mother’s voice I heard saying, “Bless your heart.” Then my favorite expletive escaped my lips, “Holy cow!”

I tried to remember how many Santa Claus cookies I had eaten. I eventually recalled it was “all of them.” I had frequently violated my wife’s admonition regarding going back for seconds after cleaning my plate the first time. And now here I was talking to a holy bovine who made no reply.

Michael McMahan
Michael McMahan

“Good grief!” What to do? I waddled to my home office computer and Googled, “Lose weight fast.”

There were ads for pills that would melt fat faster than my wife, Carla’s pound cake disappears from our kitchen counter. Side effects: hair loss; hearing impairment; shoulder dislocation; and boils. I decided to pass.

Vinegar is apparently widely used for weight loss. There are many choices: vinegar cider; vinegar rum; vinegar juice; and just plain vinegar. Side effects: no one is willing to get within 10 feet of you for six months; and, you have to sleep in an upstairs closet with a fire extinguisher until your breath is no longer flammable. I decided to pass on vinegar.

Archie poses for a photograph. This good boy plans to help Gazette columnist Michael McMahan get in better shape.
Archie poses for a photograph. This good boy plans to help Gazette columnist Michael McMahan get in better shape.

Someone has invented a body wrap you can stretch across your stomach and tighten until your eyeballs bulge from your head, and you gasp for shallow breaths. It promises no actual loss of weight, but, other than your red, sweaty face and bulging eyes, you look pretty good. I tried that but quickly determined it was not for me. Oxygen is my friend.

My good wife, Carla came to my rescue. She asked, “Why not just eat less and exercise more?”

“What are the side effects?” I asked.

“Weight loss,” she said.

I smiled and said this is what I have been looking for.

The first day I ate one piece of toast and a boiled egg for breakfast. Well, plus a banana and two Fig Newtons. I felt pretty good about that. I skipped lunch and walked around the parking lot with two nurses from the urgent care facility beside my office. The nurses said they were on the same diet as me, but they had also found cigarettes helped. When I explained that one of the side effects of cigarettes is lung cancer it became clear I had lost my walking buddies.

After work as I opened the kitchen door from our garage, I smelled food and saliva escaped the sides of my mouth. Spaghetti and meat sauce and Italian bread. Those Italians know how to make bread. I explained to Carla that I had skipped lunch. She asked if I had been smoking. I told her about the nurses, and she rolled her eyes.

“You shouldn’t skip meals,” she said.

I just smiled and dug into the spaghetti and bread, followed by a small piece of upside down cake. Skipping lunch has its advantages, I thought.

The next morning, I did eight pushups and turned on the treadmill. From my vantage point on the second floor of my home I could see my neighbor walking his dog. He was moving fast. Wow! I need a dog, I thought. I turned off the treadmill and took a shower before weighing.

I had gained two pounds.

“What kind of dog?” Carla asked.

“A fast walker,” I said.

She rolled her eyes. “No dog,” she said.

I was pushing the trash container toward the curb for exercise and marital bliss when I saw my neighbor, Brad, doing the same.

We waived and I walked toward him. He is George Clooney handsome, but happily married, and, of course, so am I.

“Have you ever thought about getting a dog?” I asked.

“Not really,” he said. “We like to travel. Dogs need a lot of attention.”

“I know. I would take care of it when you’re away.”

“And walk it twice a day?” he said with skepticism.

I nodded.

“I’ll talk to the girls,” he said.

It’s a lab named Archie. He likes me and loves to walk. I’ve lost three pounds. Well, two pounds. Well, nearly two pounds. “Let’s go, Archie. Walk faster, Archie.”

Michael "Mick" McMahan is a resident of Gastonia.

This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: Dog walking and losing weight