I was on a golf course many years ago when my group ran into an older gentleman who had not seen us since high school.
After the usual pleasantries, the older man sized up one of my friends and offered, "Dang, you sure have gained some weight since the last time I saw you."
My friend shot back without hesitation: "Well, you're just as ugly as the last time I saw you."
As one who has gained a few (ha!) pounds since high school, and since last week as well, I have heard the familiar refrain. For some, substitute "gone bald" for "gained weight." I was at a wedding a few years ago, and in front of a large group of people, this guy walked up and looked at another guy who had lost his hair and said very loudly, "Hey, man, you sure have gone bald."
The bald guy wasn't shocked. He was bald when he left the house.
For all the times I've been a victim of, or a witness to, such comments, I have yet to figure out the motive behind such vocal observations. Are these people trying to embarrass the fat/bald guy? Are they attempting to make themselves look thin/hairy? Do they have a habit of publicly stating the obvious wherever they go ("You're tall." "A big truck just drove by." "The sun is shining." "That Chris Gaines thing was a big mistake." "That's the ugliest baby I've ever seen.") What is the purpose behind pointing out to someone that a goiter the size of a softball is sticking out of their neck? Even Stevie Wonder knows he's gained weight.
Whatever their motivation, these people need to be stopped — or at least get a hint that their mindless utterances breach common standards of civility.
With this in mind, I have come up with a few responses to use when someone idiotically points out in front of others that you have gained weight (some can be substituted for gone bald, lost your eye, etc.)
So, when someone says "dang, you sure have gained weight," here's what to say, based on your mood at the moment:
• Civil, but a little sarcastic: "How kind of you to point that out. I was hoping someone would notice."
• Using obscure humor to deflect attention: "No, I haven't gained weight. I've just gotten shorter. The doctor says I'll be 3-foot-8 in a couple of years. I figure I'll be able to take some of those choice acting roles usually reserved for Peter Dinklage."
• Fake shock: "My God. You're right. Where did all this weight come from? It wasn't on me when I walked in here."
• For the paranoid crowd: "Yeah, I'm trying to beef up for when that food shortage/zombie apocalypse kicks in. You skinny folks are going to be the first ones to go."
• Laced full of sarcasm: "You, sir, are an astute observer of the human condition. I applaud your courage in pointing out the obvious in a transparent attempt to make yourself look superior. You are my hero."
• Double-dog-dare them: "Thank you, Richard Simmons. Now, why don't you go over to that big guy in the tank top and tell him that he has enough hair on his back to knit a sweater for the Duggar family. I don't think he's aware of it."
• When you just don't care: "Yes, I've gained weight, but I can lose it. You can't get any dumber."
Warning: On the above reply, make sure they are much, much smaller than you. Or slower.
Len Robbins is the editor of the Clinch County News.