I recently purchased an electronic scale at Best Buy. I bought it because my weight seemed to be rising and I thought perhaps the old mechanical scale I'd had for years was wearing out.
To my dismay, the bright LED display on my new electronic scale confirmed that the old scale was correct. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to discount the findings of anything electronic, especially when it flashes the results in indisputable yellow numbers?
It’s hard to be in weight denial when you have a new state-of-the-art measuring device. Disappointed as I was with the scale's findings, I figured it would be good for me. Time to face facts.
Deciding to lose weight is a close cousin to the New Year's resolution. First, you make a promise to yourself that is too ambitious. Second, ambitious and private promises have the life expectancy of a housefly, about a week.
I can give you 18 reasons why, this time, I had trouble keeping my promise to lose weight. I even typed them out. Diane looked at them. She suddenly doubled over onto the floor. I had dialed the 9 in 911 when I realized she was just laughing.
The next morning I reread my list and realized some items were pretty thin as excuses go. For example, just because someone at the next restaurant table was having a birthday was no reason to introduce myself, sit down and then accept some birthday cake. I was pinning my argument on the fact that it would be rude to decline a host's offer of food. Diane pointed out that the cake offer was not the initiating event in that scenario.
I'd had the scale for a few weeks and, according to it, I had added a few pounds in that period. I chalked that gain up to water retention.
One morning I stepped on to the scale and this is what happened.
"We have to talk."
"You're a talking scale."
"Don't all scales talk?"
"I believe you are creating conversation to avoid facing facts, Tubby. Excuse me, may I call you Tubby?"
"No, you may not."
“May I call you Beer Belly, Chunky, Mr. Avoirdupois, or Rotund-a-mundo?”
“No, No, No and No.”
"OK, Whatsyourname, my point is that you're zooming right up the charts and I feel partially responsible as part of this Weight Loss Team."
"We're not a team. Who told you that?"
"It's in my programming. Didn't you acquire me as part of the Masters Course at www.tubbynomore.com?
"I never heard of them. What's your name?"
"Excuse me, Petey, I'll be back."
"Carrying hand weights when you walk around is a good way to drop a few pounds. Experts show … "
I shut the bathroom door and called Tubby-No-More, which was located in Palo Alto.
After I told them my complaint, after they said they don't make a talking scale, after I gave them the serial number, after there was a pause and the president of the company came on line, we finally sorted everything out. PT0001 was a prototype artificial intelligence scale the company was testing. Apparently the prototype was accidentally shipped to Best Buy along with a batch of their regular scales.
The company offered me a $10,000 reward for return of the scale. I accepted and gave them my address.
An hour later a large black unmarked van pulled up to my house. A burly man got out and handed me a cashier's check. He followed me upstairs. I cracked open the bathroom door and said, "Ooh, Petey. You've got company."
I let the man in the bathroom. After a few minutes of muffled noises, he exited carrying a black garbage bag over his shoulder.
I went to the bank and deposited the check. Maybe I might use the money to sign up for Weight Watchers or some other professionally monitored weight-loss program. But first I’ll go to Poggio and order a triple-chocolate torte. I think best when my blood sugar level is a little on the high side.
After that, it’s back to Best Buy for a new dryer — the old one keeps shrinking my jeans.
This Week's Thought-Byte: Whom we see in the mirror is not who we are.