The Fat Crawler Experience
Journal (January 2004)
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My Journal for January 2004

January 2, 2004
It's a new year with all brand new opportunities... for me to poop on!  Okay, that was uncalled for.  Yesterday I went to Heather's house to play games and we exchanged Christmas presents.  I got her a CD she wanted and also this shell necklace that is just like the one Kenny Chesney always wears.  She has wanted one for a long time but couldn't find one in her size, and I happened to see one and just hoped it would fit her.  It did!  She got me a couple of CDs I had wanted from Trick Pony (a country band, for all who don't know).  In less happy noticias, I think my darling bassethound, Baby, is becoming obsessive in her old age.  She's only six years old, but we got her fixed early on, but anyway... She just sits in the window all day long, now, staring in the neighbor's field and at the road near our house, waiting for something to walk by.  She is also becoming less tolerant of the kids.  She growls at them and I wonder if the stress of a big family isn't getting to be too much for her.  Of course, my brothers constantly torment her because they think it's hilarious to see her bothered.  They do things, like get really close to her face and then back away really quickly, just because they know it bothers her.  She's getting white in the face and I think she is getting fat again.  Since my brother's dog came to live with us, Baby has gotten a lot more food because Curt's dog is terribly picky with what she eats, but Baby has no problem grabbing it up after she's already had her own share.  I don't know what to do.  If I lived in my own place, I would gladly take her with me, but then again, I don't know if I could take care of her on my own.  Oh well, so is the life of a dog.  And tonight will probably be another night of wild dancing and romping fun.  I don't expect there to be a big crowd at the club tonight because of the holiday yesterday, but all I really care about is the music and booze, anyway.  Oh, and let's not forget the occasional hottie.  I also invited my brother's girlfriend's sister, Tara, to come with us, but I doubt she will come.  I hope she will, though.  We hung out one time before and we seemed to hit it off pretty well.  So wish me luck tonight, getting it on with my bad self!
January 4, 2004
I received news today that my friend, and former house-mate, Marma, was killed in a car accident two days before Christmas.  I sent the following email to my friends who knew him.  Then I spent the day trying not to cry in front of my family.  I just can't believe my friend is gone.  How is it possible that someone so vibrant and so full of life can be extinguished like a candle at its wick's end?  But I know that he's happier wherever he is.  I know that someone as kind and empathetic as he was can never be gone forever.  But why did it have to be him?  He was so young.  So good-looking.  He had it all going for him.  He saved his cousin's life, though, so his passing was not in vain.  It's just a terrible tragedy that he had to go at all.  I know that the memories of his friends will at least do him justice, because every one of them is cherished.  Go well, Marma, until I see you again...
"In memory of Carlos Benjamin "Marma" Garcia   Rest in Peace, my friend.  (Deceased:  December 23, 2003)

Some letters he had written to me:

(August 26, 2003)

que onda wey, como andas??? que mal pedo lo de tu operacion y pues ya ni modo, ahora solo tienes que esperar un poco y no te desesperes.
y pues pase el verano en guanajuato y me la pase muy bein. y que crees??? que ya no estoy enamorado de claudia, por finpude deshacerme de esa relacion. y pues ahora estoy muy tranquilo, como si nada ando conociendo chicas y hicas, muy chingon el desmadre y ya estoy enamorado de otra morra.
y pues mis clases estan muy chingonas y me esta yendo muy bien. espero que tengas un buen semestre y pues seguimos en contacto.
cuidate: marma

(June 8, 2003)

que onda danny, como estas??? espero que estes bien y que te haya ido bien en la operacion. disculpa por no contestarte los mensajes de msn pero no estaba aqui y deje la compu prendida.

espero que este bieny platicame mas de tu operacion, como te sientes??? que bueno que salio bien la operacion.

cuidate: marma

Then the terrible news came from Luis, received from his friend, Leon:
(January 4, 2004)

Les tengo una mala noticia, me enteré el 31 de diciembre por parte de una tía lejana de marma que vive aquí en puebla, que desgraciadamente nuestro amigo marma falleció el 23 de diciembre en un accidente automovilístico, su papá está fuera de peligro, su hermano también aunque siguen en el hospital, su mamá está grave esperando ser operada debido a un derrame cerebral, su hermana y su sobrinito están ilesos. Por lo que me dice la tía de marma, él iba cargando a su sobrinito y lo protegió del impacto, dando la vida por él.
Echen una oración por él y por su familia, y como siempre decía: el peor error es el de no continuar.
Nos estamos viendo en la escuela.

My personal memories of Marma:

Teaching the suite how to play Hearts.  It's where I first met all of the suite mates.

Another time, he showed up drunk.  Somehow he had gotten through the lobby to Ray Lindley holding an open beer.  I was the only one there, and I took the beer away.  We talked for about two hours before anybody else showed up.  He cried a lot about Claudia and his family.  He was really in love with her at the time.  I told him he should be in modelling.  He didn't believe me.  He also didn't remember any of the conversation after he had sobered up.  Most of the pictures here were from that night.

The night all new students were supposed to be thrown into the "Lago".  He was so excited.

He always begged me to write him love poems in English.  I did eventually.  I hope they worked.

For some reason, he would ask me advice about his love life.  I don't know anything about love, I suppose, but I did the best I could.  I hope he got over Claudia, but I really don't know.

He and Luis got in a fight at a bar one night.  It was over something stupid, and they made up a week later.  They were best friends again soon enough.

He loved to give me advice about my own love life, or lack thereof.  He also read my website faithfully while I was in Mexico.  He always kept my secrets.

I once accused him of stealing my cologne.  He offered to give me his, but I wouldn't take it.  He swore he didn't do it.  I wish I hadn't made such a big deal about it, now.

He stayed up with me all night, the last night I was in Mexico, packing.  He was the only one who didn't go out or go to bed.  We talked all night.  He was the last person I said goodbye to at UDLA.

Marma, I'm sorry you are gone.  I will really miss you.  You were one of the few, truly nice guys out there.  May the path be easy wherever you go from here..."


January 6, 2004
Yesterday was easier.  Today I feel a lot better.  It's hard to lose someone.  I suppose cliches are born of life's repetition, but what can I do but move on and pick up the pieces?  It's very difficult to be faced with one's own mortality, but that is only one reason why it was so hard.  So many of us think we are invincible, but then one of the most vibrant, young people in your life dies, and you're left with the realization that you haven't been living your life to its full potential.  You haven't been treating others as well as you should have.  And I have always firmly believed that it is silly to feel sorry for those who have died.  We all will.  It's like I told a friend:  It's like feeling sorry for someone because they ate lunch.  It's a natural thing.  I think that we do most of our suffering here, anyway, so in a way he is lucky that he got to go home so early.  We're the ones that have to carry on alone.  I mean, aren't we all really alone here?  It sure seems that way a lot of the time.  I suppose there are those moments when you can really connect with someone on a deep level, but those moments are few and in between.  But all you can do is pick up the pieces and keep going.  If you don't, you'll get left behind.  And as much as I wanted Marma to live and fulfill his dreams of having a family and being successful in all he wanted to do, I suppose that's what he would want from me.  That's sort of a heavy burden, but then again, that's what I'm here for.  Nobody said it was going to be easy.  It certainly hasn't been.  But it could always be worse.  At least of I don't have some terrible, incurable disease, and I have almost all of my family still here.  I live a fairly comfortable life.  Most of my misery comes from my own mind, but that's where we all do most of our living, anyway.  So I'll be normal today.  The kids are back in school, I'm working for my parents, and I'm taking all of my vitamins.  It's also freezing and snowing, a most heinous combination.  I still hate Vermont and think of nothing but leaving.  I still want to be a singer.  I still settle for things I should not be settling for.  I have to do some serious thinking about where my life will go from here.  The only problem is that my plans pretty much never go the way I expect them to, so what is the real point of making plans?  I guess it gives me something to think about, nonetheless.  I hope I weigh under 300 pounds the next time I weigh in.  Wish me luck.
January 7, 2004
So I was quite disappointed by my lack of goal meeting.  Sheesh, I'm such a slouch.  I need to seriously get back on the ban-wagon.  I'm only losing the two pounds a week, again, and I didn't wait a whole week to go weigh in this time.  I'm at exactly 300.4!!!  I want to be under 300!  Is that so much to ask?  *Sigh*... I guess one more week won't kill me, though it feels like it might sometimes.  Well, the news has been warning for a week about this "Deep Freeze" we're supposed to be getting, but I don't know that it's any colder than usual.  Maybe it's because the freeze is across the whole country, but it's always this cold in Vermont in the winter.  It's not really that big of a deal.  It's like when you see the snow storms in the southern states where everybody is off the road and freaking out about the three inches they are going to get.  For crying out loud, we can get three feet in a storm.  What a bunch of cry babies!  At least they only have to put up with it for a couple of days, then the sun comes out, and their lives are all warm and cozy again.  We get the "Deep Freeze" for four months, at least!  Okay, so I know I do my fair share of whining about that fact, but I'm entitled to it.  Alright, so I complain about my lack of weightloss and just now I threw a big piece of chocolate into my mouth.  Why do I even buy this crap.  I know I won't lose if I eat all of that junk.  The only time I lose a lot of weight now is if I am strict about what I eat.  The amount never seems to change anymore.  I can consistently eat between two and three mouthfuls of food now, however much that is, before I can't eat anymore.  And that is me being completely stuffed.  And lawd knows I always have to stuff myself to the maximum.  I hate leaving food behind, so I cram myself as full as I can, and then end up giving it to the dog anyway, so I don't know why I keep doing it.  Well, yesterday was a fairly productive day.  I went to my brother's biology class to babysit him, then we walked to the grocery store.  Like an idiot, I only had a sweatshirt on, so I was completely frozen by the time we got to the pizza place where he had to go to the bathroom.  I was so cold.  It's the kind of cold where it hurts because you're so cold.  I bought a couple of cans of Fresca.  For those who don't know what that is, it's a calorie free, "grapefruit" flavored soda.  I don't know about the grapefruit flavoring.  I hate grapefruit, but I love this soda.  I think it's more like a less-sugary version of Sprite, but it's good stuff anyway.  I like buying all of this low-calorie/diet stuff.  My family never steals my food when they see "meatless" chicken.  Ha ha, and I purposely always make food look extra gross when I make it so that they won't be tempted to steal my leftovers.  It always works, though!  So after the pizza place, we went to the pharmacy where I picked up a bottle of Flinstones vitamins.  I also picked up some chocolate and maple candies.  I don't know why.  They make me feel like crap for an hour afterward, even now, but I just have this sweet tooth that I never had before.  I need to get back on my blueberry binge and give away all of the candy.  Then we went to the grocery store.  I got a truckload of stuff, including some chicken wings (they were so good) and other lean meats.  I also grabbed a bag of peanut butter cookies.  I must have been craving some sugar terribly when I went there.  Usually I resist the temptation to so blatantly give in to my sugary whims.  And that's not even counting all of the bad things I wanted to buy, but didn't.  Realizing that I had better get out of there before I gave Little Debbie's stock holder's and extra jounce in dividends for this quarter, we quickly hurried to checkout.  My brother came and picked us up and gave us a ride home from there.  Earlier in the day, he had taken me to get weighed.  Oh, I was so disappointed.  But life goes on.  It's only seven more days.  Then Dad and I took my little sister to a basketball game.  It was a slaughter by her school of both the boys' and girls' teams.  Her school has all sixth graders on the team, while the competition didn't have any on the girls' team.  They looked like dwarfs in comparison.  It was fun, anyway.  While there, I sat on the floor of the stage.  It's a tiny school, and they only had one small bleacher for all the parents to sit on, and then there were mats on the floor of the stage.  Only kids were sitting down there, but i didn't mind.  I was actually really happy about how comfortable I felt sitting there.  I mean, I know I'm still really fat compared to most people, but I don't feel like such a freak anymore.  Before surgery, I wouldn't even had got to the game at all because of the stares, and also because it was just so hard even to go outside and get in a vehicle.  But last night I actually felt normal.  But let me tell ya, there is something else that I hadn't anticipated from this surgery.  My ass has no padding anymore, or at least substantially less amounts.  I was so sore after sitting on the floor after only a few minutes, but I stuck it out.  I didn't want to be a pansy, after all, and I wouldn't have been able to see if I sat back in my wheelchair.  Dad was sore, too, from sitting on the wooden bleachers.  I never realized skinny people had such a problem from sitting too much.  No wonder they stand all the time, making us of a larger fashion just look lazy.  It hurts for them to sit!  I feel like a scientist who just discovered water displacement.  But I've been finding things similarly related, as well.  I don't hit my head on car ceilings anymore because I now sit, literally, inches lower than I used to sit.  I'm not the tallest one sitting anymore, which is good in a way, because now people aren't as surprised when I stand up and am short.  It's a pain in the ass, but only in the physical sense.  I'm so glad I can sit comfortably at the movies, plop down on the couch without worrying if it will break, and cross my legs.  Oh God, I love to cross my legs.  I know I've said it before, but I've never been able to do it in my entire life, and now i can.  It's so exciting.  I guess because it has this stigma that it's a very "skinny person" thing to do.  I just love it!  I always sit with my legs crossed on purpose, now, and above the knee!  On the couch, in the car.  I know even my family has no idea how much I love it, but I notice it every time I do it.  That's another thing.  I think everybody and their mother is sick of hearing about how different things are for me.  It used to be such a big deal that my knees didn't hurt from standing up anymore, but now I'm so surprised by the dumbest things, like those two bones that stick out at the base of the neck, so I say something about it, and whoever is there acts like, "Big deal.  Why don't you stop bragging about it already.  I've had those my whole life."  Well, it is a big deal to me.  But I suppose I can't expect them to get excited because I can feel a new bone or muscle.  I also got a haircut yesterday.  Of course, I'm completely obsessed with the fact that I think I'm going bald, but nobody else will confirm my fears.  I just really don't want to be bald.  I'm finally starting to look normal, and I would go bald.  Isn't that just the way?  *Sigh*, so forgetting that I look more like Danny DeVito and less like Danny DeVermont, I got it cut because everybody tells me that it doesn't look good long.  I'm inclined to agree, but I also firmly believe that my face looks thinner with longer hair, even if it doesn't look better.  People also tell me this is not true, but I think my face looks like a pear right after a haircut.  Maybe I need to start using gel, but there's something so disconcerting about putting grease in my hair.  It's just so gross.  I'm also afraid it will make me look more bald.  Damn, when did I ever get so conceited about my looks, anyway?  You'd think I expected to look like Brad Pitt when I lose enough weight.  Trust me, I don't, but I certainly don't want to look like Danny DeVito.  Oh well, c'est la vie!  So now I have an exciting day of cleaning the rotten house and doing the friggin' homework and cooking the damn dinner and watching the bratty kids.  Man, the fun just never ends around here.
January 8, 2004
I'm still sweaty from my time spent with Richard.  Okay, that sounded kind of gross, but you know what I mean.  I labored through another workout this morning.  I don't think I did any exercise the entire time the kids were home on break, so now I've got to get my expanded posterior back into the proverbial gear.  After giving away all of my junk food last night to my sister (about ten dollars worth, I might add!), I went out to dinner with a bunch of friends.  My brother, Thomas, and his girlfriend, Erinn, accompanied me, Sean, Melanie, and Kristen out to dinner.  We had so much fun.  Last night the temperature (not counting "wind chill factor", which is a crock) was at -2 degrees Fahrenheit, so the restaurant was super empty.  There were only a couple of old people on the other side of the room, so we decided to be as loud and obnoxious as possible.  We were successful.  In the first few seconds of being there, I think Melanie and I insulted the waitress unintentionally with an impolite joke, so I spent all night trying to be extra nice to her.  I don't think it worked very well.  I ordered a salad, but put ranch dressing all over it.  I ate it, but paid a serious price for.  I was sick for the rest of the time we were there.  I didn't throw up, but I was feeling seriously like I had to.  I also ordered an omelet that I took about one bite of before passing it on to others.  Melanie was really down because she got fired.  Her best friend at work stole almost five thousand dollars out of her drawer (she worked at a bank) over the course of a couple of months.  There were documents to prove it was the friend, but there was no proof as to where the money had gone and the girl, of course, wouldn't admit to it.  Even her boss was crying when she fired her because she knew Melanie was innocent, so hopefully we all helped in brightening her spirits.  Yesterday, I also got an email from a friend, Luis, after requesting to see his pictures.  He is the best friend of my friend, Marma, who was killed in the car accident.  Cara had told me that he had lost a lot of weight and didn't even look like the same person, but I thought she was exaggerating.  He had also told me a while ago that he had lost some, but I hadn't really thought much about it until Cara gave me such rave reviews.  Then I didn't think to ask for a long time because of all that had happened with Marma.  Well, when the email opened I could not stop saying, "Oh my God!  Oh my God!" over and over again.  He really does look like a different person.  Not only is he thinner, but really muscular, too.  When I was in Mexico, he would always talk about how he wanted to lose weight.  He wasn't even that overweight, maybe about thirty or forty pounds, but I never thought he was so serious about it.  He was just the kind of guy, probably like me, who you never expected to see do anything about it.  Maybe a few consorted efforts with no real results, but never a complete overhaul like he has done.  He looks so much more masculine, now.  I hope I look more masculine, but everybody just tells me I look younger and younger, the more weight I lose.  But this may be changing.  I'm a little embarrassed to even think about it, but what the hell...  I think because I've lost so much weight, now, it may be affecting my testosterone levels.  There are a couple of reasons for me to believe this.  First of all, I've never been a hairy guy.  I've always had the normal pubes (oh, this is so gross!) where one is supposed to have them, but now I've started getting hair everywhere!  It's all over my stomach and chest.  They're so tiny that I'm sure nobody could even tell the difference, but I'm also growing faster on my face.  It used to take over a week or more to get even a small amount of facial hair, but now within two days I usually could use a good shave.  I have to say that this was something I was not expecting at all.  And I also have, how can I say this?... an increased libido.  Ha ha ha, I can't believe I am writing this.  Let's just say my sex drive is in fifth gear.  (Man, this is even gross to me, and it's my body!)  I've always had what I would have called normal urges, just like anybody, but it seems that lately they have been a lot stronger.  Is this something that's normal?  Have I just not been thinking about sex in the past because of some weight-related problem?  I mean, I've always thought about normally enough, or so I thought, but does a normal person think about it this much?  I used to be so picky with looks, but now I see potential in anybody.  Eww, I know.  But damn, what am I supposed to do about it?  I'm only hoping my voice doesn't go through some bizarre change, because I really like my voice.  I would hate to have to sacrifice that just to be thin, and even healthy.  My ability to sing is really that important to me.  Without my music, there would be nothing left.  I would just shrivel up and die.  Well, maybe not shrivel... Okay, that was really gross, I know.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha...  Oh, and the Mom said the nicest thing to me this morning, and it was nice because of how she said it.  I was doing my exercise tape when Mom came in to tell me she was leaving.  As she was going to close the door all the way, she opened it back up and said, "Wow."  I was a little annoyed because I was focused on my workout, so kind of curtly I said, "What?"  She looked at me and said, "You're just so skinny."  That was weird, but oh so nice.  I don't feel skinny, but it's still nice to hear.  So now that I've blabbed on once again, I need to get in the shower.  Tonight I am supposed to go walking with Thomas in some manner, but I'm not sure where we are going to go.  I'm ready for it, whatever it is.  Ever since I saw Luis' results, I've had renewed vigor in my efforts.  Seriously, if that guy can do it, and do it so well, there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to.  It takes discipline, but what else am I going to do with my time?
UPDATE:  Okay, I admit, it was really wrong of me to go and weigh only two days after my last weigh-in, but I couldn't resist.  And not only am I under 300 pounds, but I'm at 298!  So it is so official.  Goodbye 400s!  Adios 300s!  Hello, my sweet, sweet nectar of life, 200s!  It's finally happened.  I'm in a caliber of normalness!  I'm not a freak anymore, well, at least not from being too fat.  Now I'm just normal fat!  Yay!!!!!!!!!!
January 12, 2003
At least most of my weekend wasn't boring.  After recouping losses from a fight between my brother, Luke, and my mother, in which she chased him with a broom and he performed a very dramatic collapse into the snow on a stranger's front lawn, we moved on quite normally.  Oh, how the fun never stops!  Friday I went to have Chinese food with Mom.  I really don't like Chinese food anymore (unbelieveable, I know!), but I wore my leg brace and faced the bitter cold.  That night Sean came over and we played cards until after midnight.  I also talked to my friend, Luis, and he is doing much better.  We both talked about how much we have physically changed.  Probably boring stuff, but it was good to reconnect.  I had called another friend from Mexico, Susana, earlier in the day.  She was excited to get back to school and all, but for me it was the first time in months where I had spoken any substantial amount of Spanish.  Sadly, I realize that my former fluency is fleeting, and I need to get back to Mexico before I lose it all!  Well, it may not be that drastically bad, but it has certainly been stirring my thoughts around much more about the possibility of returning to Mexico for awhile.  I have to get walking, though, that's the catch.  If I'm going to live in my own apartment there, I would have to be walking.  I could never live there in a wheelchair.  It just wouldn't be feasible.  On Saturday, I brought my dog to get all purtied up.  She hates haveing a bath, but she stinks to high heaven when she doesn't get one every so often.  So I brought her to a place that is run by some friends of the family.  They are one of the only gay couples to live in this area, and are very well-known.  I never just drop Baby off because at one point, when she was much younger, I had promised her that I would never dessert her somewhere strange all by herself.  Well, the guys invited me into the house for some coffee while they had their breakfast.  My goodness, was their house ever gorgeous.  It was so beautiful.  They don't have kids, and themselves being their only expense, they live in one of the nicest places I have ever seen.  They have a high definition television in one room, then an enormous giant screen television in their second living room.  There are giant windows and a large kitchenette, and two diningh tables.  They have two and a half bathrooms for two people.  We have one bathroom for ten people!  So they gave me the most delicious cup of coffee I had ever tasted, and I met their housekeeper.  I am shamed to say that when I first met her, I was a little apprehensive.  I thought, honestly, that she had leprocy, or something very similar.  Apparently she suffers from a very rare disease in which her skin was pigmented silver when she was a child due to a specific kind of nasal spray.  It doesn't affect her health, but her version is blotchy, so it looks as if her skin is dead.  If I had just seen her passing on the street, I would think that she was on the verge of death.  The guys told me that they don't even notice it anymore, but that she has suffered terrible social problems and discrimination from it.  I can see that she must have an awful time trying to fit in.  But she was nice, otherwise.  The only thing was that Dwight, one of the two guys, was bragging me up about my language ability to her, so she insisted on putting me to the test.  I hate it when people want you to speak a foreign language when neither of you is a native speaker of that language.  It's just stupid.  But I did it anyway because she seemed desperate to meet my approval of her language abilities.  She was a Spanish teacher, apparently, for many years and had lived abroad, so perhaps she simply missed conversing in Spanish.  I don't know, but I tried not to let it last too long.  A little later on, I got talking to Andy, the other guy.  I've known him since I was a kid, but I've never really talked to him all that much before.  He's a nice guy, but I get the feeling that he's always trying to find out if my brothers and I are gay.  Now let me make this perfectly clear.  I am not gay.  I have never been gay.  I never intend to be gay.  I have no problems with gay people, in fact I have many friends who are gay, both from college and in my Internet life.  I think it's terrible and sad that people can be based solely on who they want to have sex with.  Personally, I think gay sex and what not are fine, so long as they don't involve me.  I don't think it's a disease.  It's just not for me.  But anyway, we got on the subject of physical self-improvement.  Andy has always been into the gym scene, working out hardcore for many years.  I had gastric bypass surgery, so it was only natural that we start talking about body image and all.  Well, we're going along and he just wanted to know all about the shape of my body, and I told him about how I'm sagging everywhere and I still have so far to go.  And sort of out of the blue he asked, "Do you have a big penis?"  I was so shocked, but I recover quickly from shock, so I just said back "None of your damn business, pal!"  I mean, it was all pretty innocent and joking, even when he asked that, but shit!  You don't just ask somebody that.  The thing is, I don't think he really wanted to know that, but he was seeing how I would react to be able to tell if I was gay or not.  This was not, by any means, the first time I have been asked if I'm gay or not.  I have an unnaturally high voice for a man my age.  Most people think I'm a woman on the phone, and I'm just not the typical guy.  I think most men my age are assholes, my friends are almost all women, and I'm in touch with my inner self.  I'm confident in who I am and who I want to be, so I'm not all about being macho and showing off my manliness.  I don't need that to feel secure about who I am.  So luckily, I was leaving there quite soon.  And, as I was joking around with Mom about it later, in a lot of ways I wish I were gay.  They don't have to have kids and they have very nice things.  Ignorant people don't bother them, and as has been my experience (though I realize it may not be the norm), gay people seem to get a lot more action than straight people do.  In a lot of ways, being gay would be beneficial, but I am not gay.  I AM NOT GAY!!!  Okay, so that night I went out to karaoke with my family.  The woman from our local tax office came up to me and said, "You need to be a professional."  She was so serious and said it like there was no other alternative.  That was my lot in life.  She even moved where she was sitting and kept giving me an encouraging look while I was singing.  You should have heard the cheering after I got done a song.  You wouldn't think that so few people could yell so loud.  So many folks kept coming up and patting me on the back and telling me I was the best singer they had ever heard.  That I "had great pipes" or a "great voice".  So it can't just be my imagination.  Even the karaoke guy remembered my name from three months earlier, and I had only met him that one time before.  Oh, I could so see myself singing on a stage every night of my life, giving concerts to so many people screaming that it would make my ears ring.  I love the attention, but even more, I love the act of singing.  What a release!  It's like letting my soul out to fly around the audience, being able to touch the heart and ears of every person within listening distance.   So many times, on my first song of the night, have I quieted a loud bar.  Everybody is talking and clinking glasses together.  Then my first word comes out and the whole place goes silent except for the sound of my voice ringing through the speakers.  Nobody says a word as my friends and family grimace in the front row, reveling in the familiar scene.  It's happened so many times, and they've all seen it, that it's simply funny to them how my voice that they've heard belting away in our house on a daily basis, could quiet so many people at once.  Then the screaming and applause begins with my last note and I go back to the table with my mother all glossy-eyed and she says, "You have to be a singer.  That's what you were meant to do."  She's told me so many times, so it couldn't be my imagination, that every eye in the room was on me and that I know how to perform to hold my audience.  It's like I was born to do it.  And that's what it feels like.  I'm a little nervous until I get up there, then it's like breathing.  A whole song goes by and I have to wait another hour for my turn to shine.  And they applaud when they hear my name called a second time... a third time... then I start getting requests for certain songs... and some woman comes up crying, and tells me that was her favorite song, and nobody ever sang it so well.  Then I came home that night, and I woke up the next day, and I babysat and washed the dishes, and pleaded with God to help me make my escape.  And I felt like I was drowning in my life, every problem and every angry word filling up my lungs until it seems like I wouldn't be able to take anymore.  And I wonder why I was condemned to this existence where nothing I do is important and my obvious, God-given talents, go wasted on a daily basis because I can't get the dried-on ketchup off of this plate.  And I breathe in.  And I breathe out.  And I breathe in.  And I breathe out.  And I breathe in...
January 13, 2004
Oprah, thou hath redeemed thyself.  Yesterday Oprah had several guests on her show in a program about gastric bypass surgery.  She stilled stated that to her, the surgery was an easy way out.  I realize that she doesn't agree, necessarily, with those who have chosen this procedure for themselves, but she gave a fair and balanced view of the process.  There was a clip that showed the surgery being performed, an interview with Randy Jackson (the judge from American Idol) who had the surgery done about six months ago, a video diary of a woman who was three months post-op, and an interview with a teenage girl who was almost two years post-op.  A doctor came and talked about it, describing the surgery, risks, and benefits, and I think it was true redemption for Oprah, after some of the negative comments she has given in the past.  Though she may not agree with it, she gave it a fair and balanced look, and seemed generally interested in learning about it.  I hope it helps people to have a more open opinion about it.  I'm glad they said that it's not for everyone, because it's not.  But this whole topic seems to be getting a lot more attention, as of late.  There has been Al Roker, Carnie Wilson, Roseanne, and of course, me!  The media couldn't just ignore it forever, brushing it off as a quick fix for those with no will power.  Kudos, Oprah, kudos!  So because my weightloss seems to be back in the old two pounds a week grind, last night I decided to try setting up an eating schedule.  It seems to be working pretty well.  I don't feel so tempted to cheat and I set it up so I have seven opportunities to eat from the time I woke up until I go to bed.  There will be plenty of protein, and I even added in a scheduled appointment with our dear friend, Mr. Quickie Dancing Dick, himself!  I was going to do two movies, but they are not all winners.  My entire collection of his workout videos has about ten tapes in it.  Three of them are really good, but the rest are lacking in some way or another.  Well, if I throw in one of the crappier ones for my workout, I do that one first so I will still be willing to do the second one.  That didn't work today.  Of course, I went and picked the absolute worst one this morning, so I was so sick of Richie that I couldn't take it anymore.  The first video just dragged on forever, so by the time I was ten minutes into the good video, I said, "Screw this!" and turned it off.  I still have to clean this hell hole.  It seems the more I clean around here, the messier my slobby family gets.  Last night the place was spotless, now it's not even noon the next day, and there are baskets of unfolded laundry, dirty dishes all over the table and sink and counters and floor... there is a big pile of dirt on the floor from a dead plant my sister knocked over.  My mother insists the damn thing is still alive, but if it is, it probably wishes it was dead.  On top of that, it has already snowed about a half a foot and the forecast says that with the "wind chill factor" (still such a crock!) that it will be around negative fifty degrees fahrenheit, tonight.  Doesn't that just sound divine?  My five year old sister is also home "sick" today.  She said she had a headache this morning, but didn't mind turning on those stupid cartoons as soon as Dad walked out the door.  I didn't even know how to fake sick until I was about eleven.  She's an expert at it and she's only just turned five!  Kids these days!  Man, I'm starting to sound more like my grandmother every day.  So I suppose I should get cleaning this mess.  My brother, Thomas, always purposely throws his garbage on the floor and tells me that it's job security.  He actually stole that joke from me, though it was from an unrelated subject from several years ago.  Somehow it doesn't seem so funny anymore.  I tell ya, I'm suffocating in this place and I don't know how much more of it I can take.  But tomorrow has all new possibilities, right?  At least that's what they tell me... whoever they is.  Some days it sure seems like "they" are friggin' know-it-alls with nothing better to do than hand out false optimism.  So I'll just keep telling myself that it could always be worse.
January 19, 2004
Well, it finally happened.  I didn't lose anything last week.  It's the first time ever.  Oddly enough, I haven't really been upset about it.  I was sort of expecting it to happen eventually, but it just never did.  I always lost something, but I suppose I have to plateau at some point.  Hell, I can't even believe it, still, that I'm under 300 pounds.  I simply never thought I would be this small again.  On a brighter note, I am having a "Thin Day" today, and I only usually get those when I lose weight, so I am pretty sure I will have lost something by the end of this week.  In other news, my brother is an idiot.  He has recently gotten laid off for the winter, is having some unrelated legal issues, and has announced to the family that he wants to have a child with his girlfriend who he says he doesn't have intentions to marry and they are always fighting, breaking up, making up, breaking up, etc., etc....  You get the idea.  What an idiot!  He can't even afford to get his own place, or even pay his four wheeler payment, and he wants to bring a child into the world.  Now this brother has never been overly responsible, but my goodness!  Seriously, there are only so many limits to the number of mistakes you are allowed to make before living a life of regret.  This kid needs a major kick in the ass with a side of reality.  But I digress... the exam to be an immigration officer is one week from today.  It will probably still be quite a while until I even get the results, but at least the whole process is moving forward.  Things have been just very tense around here lately.  It has been so unbelieveably cold, and everybody has a ton of problems... Mom and Dad can't seem to get along or agree on anything except the fact that they don't really like each other (or some such nonsense), Curt has his legal battle thing, I'm as sick of this place as I can be, Thomas has had a terrible cold (but he got to go back to school), Luke just finished mid-term exams, Camisha is busy being the typical teenage victim, Tyrone is the super-hyper demon child from hell, and Tameika can't grasp the concept of the number seven.  So I barracade myself in my room with my dog, crank the radio, and try to drown out the yelling and screaming with my own voice to The Wrong Side of Memphis.  I will be so glad when spring gets here.  We are all on edge, and who can blame us, with only one bathroom in the house.  Not to mention that Curt's stupid dog has been in heat and bleeding all over the place for three weeks now.  Alright, I may be getting a little negative, but there is more good news.  I got recognized at McDonald's the other night for my singing.  It was so weird, being my first sighting and all, but it was really flattering.  I was passing this guy to go into the play room there (Hey!  No snickering!) and he looked at me and said, "Aren't you the guy with the great voice?"  I didn't know what he was talking about; then he said, "Yeah, I heard you sing at the bar the other night.  You're the king of karaoke.  You have such a great voice!"  I was probably blushing by that point, so I humbly thanked him and went on my merry way.  He didn't ask for an autograph, but I got recognized!  I'm on my way, baby!  And in even better news, I am getting an audition with a local band.  One of the members is friends with my parents, so Mom gave him a call for me to see if they would let me audition.  He seemed a little apprehensive about it, but said he would talk to the other band members to ask when I could go and sing for them.  He didn't seem too keen on the idea, saying how a lot of people don't sing loud enough or pronounce words all that well, then said, "I don't know how to say this, but a lot of people think they can sing better than they actually can."  My mother almost burst out laughing and just replied, "I don't think that will be a problem with Danny."  He has never heard me sing before, but has apparently had quite a few bad auditions in the past.  We'll see... I don't think it will be a problem, hee hee...  So for the short term, my goal is to get back on track with my eating.  It seems I have just been eating every bit of crap in sight, craving sugar like mad, so I'm going to try and get back on course.  I don't want that number on the scale to be the same again this week.
January 22, 2004
I have been sick and coughing and sneezing and having a headache and every other horrible thing that comes with being sick.  It's been a few days now.  I haven't showered since I got sick, and I feel about as nasty as that sounds.  My brother and his girlfriend broke up for like the fifth time this week, but they may actually have called it quits this time.  Who knows?  And more importantly, who cares?  I have been reading Go Ask Alice.  I'm only partially through it, but any curiousness I may have had about drugs in the past have certainly been calmed.  It's the anonymous diary of a girl in, what I would guess to be, the 1960s who falls into the drug culture of America.  She was only fifteen, and the back of the book says that she died in the end.  It's a really good read.  I highly recommend it.  I feel bad for having been slacking on the housework the past few days, but I've just had no energy whatsoever.  Frankly, I didn't want to write this, but I felt obligated.  Well, my pizza is done (and no, I don't eat the crust), so I must be on my crappy-feeling way.
January 24, 2004
Woo hoo!  My plateau didn't even last a week.  I weighed in last night and have lost another five pounds!  That's just awesome.  Poor Mom.  She started the Catabolic Diet this morning in efforts to lose weight for her vacation in June.  She's going to see a friend she hasn't seen since highschool and so she thinks she needs to look like Cindy Crawford by then.  Ha ha, we did ol' Tricky Dick together this morning, and I thought she was going to die, but she made it through.  I remember those days, exhausted after the first five minutes of a video.  I hardly broke a sweat today.  I am also pretty much over my sickness *knock on wood*.  While I was layed up and layed out, I not only finished Go Ask Alice, then finished I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and now I'm reading Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes.  It's really good, but it has been a long time coming.  I think I started reading that last one over two years ago, when it was first released on the Oprah's Book Club, but I just never got around to fighting through it.  I have also been having issues with sugar intake.  Sometimes I get episodes where if I haven't eaten enough sugar, I start shaking like a crack addict and get horrible cravings for it.  The other night I couldn't even type because I was shaking so bad.  To relieve it, I had to eat five little chocolates that we had lying around.  I was terribly sick afterward, but the shaking stopped in under a minute.  It's only happened twice in the last couple of months, but it has me concerned.  Is this something that's going to start happening more often?  I've never heard of it happening to anyone else, so it's got me kind of worried.  I mentioned it to my friend Kari, and she said that I may be getting really low levels of blood sugar that could be dangerous, and that may be why it's happening.  She said she has an elderly uncle who has to take insulin shots and carry candy with him all the time because of it.  Of course I'm such a hypochodriac that I'm convinced now that I have a problem with that.  It's only happened twice, though, for crying out loud!  And speaking of imaginary health problems, I think I now have breast cancer.  Okay, it may not be breast cancer, but I have developed a lump that moves around at the base of my rib cage, right near the sternum.  It slides all over, though, even below the rib cage, and it's about the side of a marble.  I don't know what in the world it could be.  Maybe a calcium deposit, but more like a tumor, knowing my luck.  I should probably get a check-up, seeing as I have old blood work that needs to be done, anyway.  The hospital where I had my surgery wants my levels of B12 and a couple other blood levels checked.  So other than the fact that I'm dying of breast cancer, becoming insulin dependant, and becoming overly paranoid about my health, things are great.  I'm still losing weight and I continue to battle through the delicious world of bad foods and horrible carbohydrates.  But I'm fighting the good fight!
January 28, 2004
        "Get up."
        He struggled to find the glowing green of the digital clock located across the room.  It seemed the morning dimness was tangeable, so thick that it took real effort just to peer through it.  7:16.
        Forcing himself to rise, he contemplated his cause for existence.  Unable to find one, he plodded forth with dire intentions of finding a shirt.  The dog lay on a pillow in the closet refusing to acknowledge the hour.  It would have been a better life if he had been born a dog.  They've got it made.
        He packed a modest lunch: a stalk of celery, a block of cheese, miniature tomatoes, and an oversized orange that had no business being so.  A life with no purpose.  What a disgustingly romantic existence, he decided.  People would love to read his days as if they were an open book, each page so deliciously boring that it would be guaranteed a place in history.  But wherein would there lie the answer?  Nothing would change.  He would still wake up at 7:16 the next day with no purpose, and they would keep right on reading.  Sometimes he hated them.
        The door opened.  The blast of arctic air didn't even phase him.  Breezes had remained below negative double digits for weeks on end now, and it bothered him at how comfortable freezing his ass off had become.
        Inside the truck, he hardly noticed the stinging sensation caused by metal seatbelt clasps on his hands.  They weren't very masculine hands like those of his brothers, but they were agile and capable.  Worlds could have changed and lives could have been saved with these hands, but that was in another time in another life, where purpose and action co-existed.  This life was reserved as the plot of an unwritten novel.
        The sun was beautiful as it rose over the southeastern mountain range.  It would have made a great magazine cover.  But not today.  This day was fated as part of a life sentence where the detainee would sit by a phone that would never ring.  No purpose.  No focus.  Action without direction.  All that remained were stagnation and solitude.  Maybe today he would die.  Maybe he was already dead.
January 30, 2004
It's sort of funny how grumpy you can get when you get overtired.  You get so pessimistic, so upset, so sick of the world, that when you finally snap out of it, you feel like a big, whiney dumbass who was only feeling sorry for himself.  The thing is, there are so many things I want to do, but maybe it's time I stop thinking about them like that.  I should be saying that there are so many things I am going to do.  Because, honestly, what's holding me back other than my own fears?  Nothing.  So as a first step, and I do mean step, I'm making my official announcement to the world.  I am giving up my wheelchair except for when necessary.  These include going to weigh in each week, clothes shopping, and trips where extensive walking/dancing is required.  All other places, such as grocery shopping, going out to eat, visiting friends, will be done while walking in my leg brace.  I am emancipating myself from that social burden and physical holder backer.  It won't be easy.  I am going to recant ten minutes from now, but I won't go back to it.  No matter how much pain I am in or how much of an inconvenience it is, except for the aforementioned exceptions, I'm out of it.  I will not allow my life circumstances to dictate its direction any more.  It's over.  I'm taking back control of my future.  I refuse to blame fate and poor luck for the unfulfillment in my life from now on.  I'm doing something about it.  I'm going to put my all into everything I do from now on and not take no for an answer.  And I'm starting with myself.  I've been easy on myself up until now, but it's time that my lazy ass got some ambition and started acting like a real man.  I'm going to start checking off things on The List if it kills me.  I'm taking control of my life and I'm not allowing me to hold myself back anymore, because that's all that's ever held me back to begin with.  (Dorothy Gale moment!)  "Free at last!  Free at last!  God almighty, I'm free at last!"  Can a brotha get a round of applause?  Amen, sister friend!  I am strong enough.  I am smart enough.  And doggone it, people do like me.  And if they don't, they can kiss my ass!  And I've made it a whole lot easier for them now that I'm not sitting in a wheelchair.  Watch out world.  Danny's been reborn.

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