My weight can be a problem.
I'm too big to be going topless at the beach. And too small to be considered for the reality television show, Biggest Loser. I'm like a "tweener" in basketball or football vernacular -- my skills are proportionately out of whack with my body type.
This issue is never more exposed than when I'm on vacation. And right now, I'm on vacation.
I'll give you one guess where our family respit is this year. And before you smartasses guess, I'm not at Krispy Kreme Fantasy Camp or taking the Candy Land Game Virtual Reality Tour. I'm at every overweight man's little vacation of horrors -- that's right, I'm at the beach. There's no chance I'm mentioning which beach for fear of paparazzi who want to snap a few pics and then publish them as a cruel "Separated at Birth" story alongside a shot of Shamu or Moby Dick. That's a no-win situation for me, so I'll just say I'm not in Ohio and leave it at that.
Beach vacations spell big time trouble for me. They seem like fun. Sand, surf, sun --what could go wrong? Well, let me tell you that at the rate my body sweats, I wear a life vest all week long, as I have serious concerns that a sudden outburst of energy could cause me to drown in a puddle of my own perspiration. The week is a lot like how I envision fat camp to be. To me the only difference between a beach vacation and fat camp is I don't have to hide chocolate under my pillow.
There are three things I'm really good at -- eating, sweating and complaining. Amazingly, a beach vacation allows me to do all three at the same time. I was able to showcase my talents almost immediately, upon arrival at the condo we'd be staying at for the week with my wife's sister and her family.
After unloading and carrying a minivan full of crap up to the living space in 90-degree heat and off the charts humidity with very little assistance from any of my two older and able-bodied children, I'm sure I looked like I had lost a fight with a fire hose. I was suturated, miserable and ready for beer. I opened a cold bottle of the liquid gold and held it to my forehead, providing me a cool but all too brief reprieve from this nighmarish sweat episode. It barely changed the status of my sweat glands. Apparantly, no one told them I was done exerting myself. The spigot needed to be turned off and nothing was working.
To go with the beer, I grabbed a doggy bag of uneaten food from the counter. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant before arriving at the condo and my daughter failed to do any damage to a giant beef burrito and some refried beans. I'm so glad I had kids with shit-tiny appetites. There's always a snack or two for daddy after we eat out.
After doing my best Joey Chestnut imitation on the leftovers, I noticed my brother-in-law sitting comfortably on the balcony, sipping his beer and talking about plans for the week. But, there was something just not right and I figured it out right away. The man was completely dry! Not moist dry, but bone dry. In fact, my sister-in-law's husband was drier than my mother's meat loaf.
I tried to ignore it, but nothing could keep my mind off it. We both unloaded approximately the same amount of crap from our minivans. The difference is, I surmised, that my brother-in-law is in great shape. He does P90x and runs marathons. He's very dedicated. On the other hand, I once peed for ninety seconds and watched a Deadliest Catch marathon on the Discovery Channel.
The reasons for why I was out-sweating him were obvious, the most important of which was my extra baggage. But just because I know why, doesn't mean I can't resent him for it. He could at least pretend to be exhausted, couldn't he? Somehow, he was oblivious to my anguish. Damn him.
Finally, I had had enough.
"Hey, you're not sweating. What's up with that?"
"Oh, I sweat a ton."
My sister-in-law even piped in. "He's a big sweater." I thought that was funny because of the way it sounded and the fact that I actually do wear a big sweater.
Funny or not, I was about to take the gloves off when suddenly I decided I would reason with the man. Afterall, he was my brother-in-law and except for the times when he doesn't sweat when he should I really like the guy. Plus, reasoning is normally less strenuous than arguing. So, cooler heads (no pun intended) prevailed as I determined a pissing match over who sweats more would not be beneficial and might actually cause me to sweat even more.
"Okay." I took a deep breath, mostly because I was still winded from moving all that crap. "Look at me. Now, look at you. See anything different?"
"No, I want you to REALLY take a nice long look at me, then look at you."
"Okay. Well, now that you mentioned it. You're soaked."
"Yes!!! Thank you!" Finally, I was getting the credit that I deserved.
Reasoning really did work. I'd have to remember that for similar situations in the future.
Now that we had reached common ground, we stayed up late and well after the rest of our families were in bed, sharing our best sweat stories. It was a bonding experience that only a fat man could truly appreciate. Sometime during my fourth bag of Dorito's at around two in the morning my brother-in-law requested and end to the evening.
"I have a run in the morning. Do you want to come?"
"What time?" I feigned interest.
"Ah yeah, I think I'll pass. I only run before six, but you have fun. And try not to sweat too much."