Victor Juhasz
By David Feherty
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Correct or not, I credit my regular readers with enough intelligence to know by now that I'm not right in the head, but once again, folks, it appears to be time for another therapy-by-writing session. I apologize for using you, but frankly this is about me, so just keep reading. All my life I've battled with my weight, and when I look back I can see a direct correlation between the times during which I was successful and productive and the kind of physical shape I was in at the time. Any time I won a tournament, I was running and not drinking too much, at least by Irish standards. The same applied when I had a big project, like a book, or my children's English homework. But as in Newton's law, each success was balanced by an equal and opposite failure. For me, "success" was always followed by a period of "excess." I would get lazy, eat and drink too much, quit exercising, and then, only when financial circumstances forced me, I'd get out my running shoes, lose the blubber, and win enough money to start the whole cycle again.

The only fun part about losing weight is putting it back on again. Just like anyone who gets addicted to anything, I was making the critical mistake of confusing fun with happiness. Now that I'm four years sober I know the difference, but I'm an addict, so I also know it will always be something. For most of the last four years it has been about a half-gallon of ice cream a day, along with an insane cycling habit.

Shortly after becoming an American citizen, I noticed that once again, at 5' 10" and 240 lbs., I was a fat sack of crap, and was struck perhaps by my first uniquely American thought. "Wait a minute, Tubby," my lard-assed subconscious said to my aching back via my swollen front as I was trying to pry my bulbous love-handles out of She Who Must Be Obeyed's car. "This is America, and you're an American. Here, you're guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of skinniness. Dude! Why not buy yourself thin?"

The following week, I woke up in the hospital with six tiny wounds in my abdomen stapled shut, 75 percent less stomach, and a screaming dose of the squididdlies that would last a week. Through overconfidence and a series of mental mistakes, this cost me exactly seven pairs of underpants, five of them in one day. No matter, I was on my way back to 170 lbs., and for the first time in my life, I knew I could stay there. The gastric-sleeve procedure is normally a one-night in-and-out experience, but normal is not what I am. Most of you will know that in order to escape a hospital after surgery, one has to be able to both pass gas (never been a problem) and urine. But with a prostate gland the size of a life preserver, details were sketchy on the piddling part.

So I had to be catheterized, and sweet Mother of Lee Trevino on a velvet-quilted skateboard, what an ordeal! A regular soft catheter wouldn't go through the tiny caliber with which I've been squirting Morse code into the toilet for years, so a harder, flexible-tipped wee jobby called a Foley catheter had to be hammered into my southern plumbing, and suddenly Little Dave developed an astonishing ability to duck and dive—of his own volition! He was like the cartoon worm avoiding Elmer Fudd's fish hook! If I had known that he was capable of such rapid independent movement, I might have had him try out for conductor of the New York Philharmonic years ago. I always wanted to make the Arts section of the New York Times...

Anyway, in a cruel irony, the nurse in charge of this procedure was named "Joy," and bless her heart, she almost had to have me restrained in the bed like a mental patient. I screamed abuse at her, yodeled The Sound of Music, and threatened to disembowel the Surgeon General with a broken bottle before Joy got it done—but then it got worse! Before I was capable of wringing out the pitiful dribblage required for my release, this torture had to be repeated four times, rendering Joy incapable of finding her happy place, and me a hollow-eyed basket case, trapped in the corner of the room like a rabid wolverine.

But that was then. Now, if I say it myself, at 52 years old I am 170 lbs., with a new hairstyle I like to call "Insane Civil War General," an utterly magnificent panty-waisted specimen of windswept and interesting manliness, rivaled only by the great Barry Melrose in his prime. I can eat whatever I want, I am taking half the amount of insanity medicine I was previously on, and in my greatest triumph, one of those nine Camilo Villegases now owes me lunch. Of course if I eat more than six bites of it I'm liable to woof it all over him, but whatever, that works for me too.

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