Fat Guy In a Little Coat

While shopping for a suit I came to the realization that I am too grotesque to be out there with regular people. Grazing through the suit aisle, I had reached the largest size they had. With confidence shaken, I slipped on the suit jacket and was immediately reminded what happens when you live on fast food and scotch. Suddenly, an image and a phrase jumped into my head:

"Fat Guy in a Little Coat."

I know I have put on some weight over the last few years; up until this point, I could still convince myself that I was just on this side of a circus attraction. It wasn't until that moment did I realize how close I've come to "step right up and see the worlds fattest man -- don't get too close kids, he hasn't eaten today." It shouldn't have been this bad, since I could still fit into my work clothes -- khaki pants and button-down shirts -- but I felt more like a blivet with each passing meal (ten pounds of manure in a five pound bag).

When I was in my twenties, I could spend a weekend down the shore, gorge myself on beer and pizza and put on ten pounds. Back then, by Friday, after a week of running on the treadmill at the office gym, I'd be back down to fighting weight and could do it all again. Then, at around age thirty, my metabolism decided it was working too hard and cut its hours to part time.

Suddenly, those ten pounds would stick around until the following weekend, and would become lifelong friends with the next ten pounds I would surely pick up. There were small victories along the way against the impending Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon I was going to turn into, but they were few and far between. The greatest weight loss diet ever created was the Divorce Diet; get divorced and lose weight (along with your house, your kids and most of your money).

Maybe it's instinctual, your body knows it going out on the dating scene, and it needs to get ready. Maybe it's simply that your life is torn apart and having no appetite is just one of the causalities of that. Fortunately, scotch stepped up and filled that void (way to go, scotch, I knew I could count on you).

But nothing ever lasts, and I found myself at the very end of the suit aisle with no prospects in sight. I felt out of place and expected angry villagers with torches and pitchforks at the ready to drive my unholy being from their marketplace. Even the tailor, when I asked him if they had any larger sizes, looked at me like "Buddy, if Pluto walked in here I could get it into a nice three-piece -- you need to go someplace else."

If Pluto were my size it would still be a planet.

I had a very nice suit at home, but I hardly ever wore it; weddings and funerals only. So with the impeding wedding of my niece on the horizon, I pulled it from hibernation and tried it on. It fit -- and if I didn't breath, move, eat or drink anything at the wedding it would be fine. Since that was impossible, I had to do something, and I wasn't going to "Thornton Melon's Tall and Fat" shop. Most people encouraged me to just buy a new suit, but the old one was still good. I did go to one store that advertises relentlessly on television, but the salesman informed me that the cheapest suit was 695 dollars. "But they're on sale today, and today only," he said without much enthusiasm; I guess he could tell he wasn't going to make any commission on me. Even with the sales price I wasn't going to spend that much money on something I'd wear once or twice a year. I love my niece, Lianna, very much, but I didn't even spend that much money on my first car.

I knew what I had to do.

I returned to the store with hat (my old suit pants) in hand and give them to that smug tailor to alter. He asked me if I wanted to put them on so he could see, but I just wanted to get out of there. I felt like I was giving up on life. What next, wider doorways? Decorative moo moos for formal occasions? I just wanted to leave before the angry villagers knew I had returned. The tailor threw a few chalk marks on the fabric and told me to come back the following week, a day before the wedding, to pick them up.

All I know is that when I go back to get them and I see Pluto getting fitted for a new suit, he better not say anything to me.