Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Let the joyous news be spread. Dennis’ weight has increased with a staggering ascent.

Yes, way!

For the past week, he has held steady at a buxom 124!! (and knocking at the door of 125!) It is only a matter of time before the door is opened, and he is embraced in the bosom of the obese.

We waited to confirm this announcement for fear it might be a false positive, an optical delusion, a figment of our fevered desire for the warm reassurance of observable, palpable pudge.

But one cannot deny the evidence. Dennis’ landscape is definitely more vast, the expanse of his terrain more sprawling. He has 48 newly-acquired, fleshy ounces that mitigate his linear alignment. He did not shrink, but he most decidedly broadened. ( We refer to this as horizontal enhancement.)

He has shed the visage of the nutritionally deprived, and has features that have morphed from specter to spectacular. Cue the herald angels!

OK, my intention is not to stretch the bounds of credulity to exclaim our rapture, but we have spent a year where the central feature of our existence is to continue to exist, and that fact of life seems to be predicated upon the accumulation of enough molecular cells to sustain life. So every precious fat cell collected swaddles his bones, and advances our cause. Ergo, we celebrate with comic-book faces of levity, and greatly anticipate the time when Dennis puts on an outfit and asks, “Does this make me look fat?”

Andre Agassi served as pitchman for some product with the slogan, “Image is everything.” I’m not sure of the veracity of that observation. Images can be deceiving, and self-images can be down-right distorted.

For instance, I have liked to think of myself as a fortress of conviction, a battleship of stoicism, an impenetrable force to be reckoned with.

I have no doubt I am capable of field-dressing some hapless creature unfortunate enough to get caught in the cross-hairs of my Physician’s Desk Reference. (See prior blog for clarification.)

I am vulnerable to “turf-toe,” the bane of all Sherpas, because my feet are on such a precipitous descent, they are jammed into the front of my single-cleat, power stilletoes designed to simultaneously impale and aerate as I stride the boundless wilderness murmuring audible projectiles.

My awesome presence emits the pheromones of the extreme cage-fighter, stealthy and lethal.

I am a vortex of energy. A carnivore. And my lipstick – “Vlad, The Impaler” red.

However, circumstance recently forced me into a cataclysmic confrontation with the perception/perceived differential which drew me off my delusional center, and made me realize I was operating from a distortion quotient of zero sum intelligence – a single mind without a single verifiable thought.

It all began last week when Ben Ballou phoned me at 7:30 a.m. in mid-sentence. If you know Ben, you know this wouldn’t exactly qualify as unusual behavior. What is unusual is that it doesn’t occur more frequently!

Ah, but I digress.

Apparently, Ben had just read an account posted on Brodi’s blog of an incident that took place several years ago. Now, Ben was actually designated to be Brodi’s brother, but serendipitously got re-routed in transit to the Ballou Family. So we always cut him some slack and give him a free pass via the insane/savant treaty between our two families.

Anyway, Ben was mortified that such an incident could have taken place. He was calling to verify. I verified. He was distraught, inconsolable, and quoted whole passages from the book I’d made him read, “The Hunter I Might Have Been.”

And when I inquired what had prompted this heinous historical re-visitation, he wailed, “Brodi’s blog!” From Ben’s perspective, it was definitely a “blog noire.”

Of course, my interest was piqued, and I instantly went to the designated blog. I was rather amused at Brodi’s chronicle. I laughed out loud at the “Bambi tale.” But I was also surprised at Brodi’s description of me. She all but insinuated that my lipstick repertoire consists only of varying shades of pastel.

Now it is true that I am emotionally ill-equipped to watch the entire animated version of Disney’s “Bambi.” I am rather vulnerable to computer-generated trauma. This may have impacted the whole doorstep-desiccation incident.

I was going to try to paraphrase Brodi’s telling of the infamous incident, but opted to include her blog account instead. You’ll see why she is our designated family griot. She is the keeper of our stories.

DEER LEGS (From Brodi)
Tuesday Dork Side status: First edition of the Dork Side (yesterday’s post) went better than expected. Only one person threw rotten fruit (I’m not naming names, Cam) But she redeemed herself when she mentioned deer legs in the snow.

What did she mean, you may ask?

Let me tell you a little story about Cam’s husband. His name’s Ben, and we practically grew up together. I was the little brother he never wanted. He was the bigger brother who used to engage in a grossly ritualistic and bloody rite of passage that most Utah boys (due to a lack of oxygen from the inversion, no doubt) have instilled in them from their day of birth.

Can anyone guess to what I am referring?

Let me preface the rest by telling you something about my mother. Insects have feelings. Fleas just want to be loved. Spiders are angels trapped in an eight-legged hairy body. The “least of these” have been did unto (does that make Biblical sense?) in my home.

Every little critter was given safe passage out onto our front porch. (Except for the random rat in our back yard. Those get squished by my Dad’s Physician’s Desk Reference, depending on the accuracy of his aim. But, I digress.)

Anyway, our little innocent Ashton Family woke up one snowy morning to find a most disturbing sight in our front yard. Four deer legs sticking out of a mound of snow. Yes, Bambi had been slaughtered on our doorstep! His body only half buried under snow, the four legs sticking straight up in the air.

After we revived my mother, we went out front to un-snow the little darling. Only, guess what. The four deer legs weren’t attached to anything! Bambi had been dismembered, and his legs had been stuck into the snow mound in our yard!

Curses, Ben Ballou! Curse your deer appendages! Now, if it had been anybody else, my mother never would have found the good graces to forgive. But this was Ben. Granted, he would soon find out he owed her a lifetime of servitude, but he was eventually forgiven. I never understood, until one day she told me she always wanted just two children: my sister, Erin, and a son!

That last sentence is a total fabrication, but the rest of Brodi’s account is fairly accurate, although that doesn’t exactly make me the “spider whisperer!” ( She did, however, fail to mention that there is a category of spider which is not extended “favored arachnid” status: crush and flush. If the sight of a spider causes the loss of sphincter control, he is extinguished in our own version of Gitmo waterboarding…he is crushed and flushed. Hey, it is what it is.

I guess it is good to see ourselves as others see us. It’s definitely sobering! But we are all connected by bonds of love and distortion, and while not one of us is an island, together, we’re a continent!

The Clot

No comments: