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Weights and balances


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Cooper, the scourge of wild cottontail bunnies, had to be coaxed and towed into the vet's office last week for his annual vaccinations. I felt bad for the little dude. It's hard to maintain your dignity, let alone look like the scourge of anything except dust bunnies when you're stuffing yourself under a chair in the doctor's waiting room. I'm almost absolutely positive he hates going to the doctor for the same reason I do: the scale. Seriously, why do doctors of every persuasion have to weigh you every time you walk in the door? I'll bet psychiatrists do it too: "Hey, before we weigh your emotional status today, let's weigh your big ol' backside right here on my handy scale of shame." "Hey, I think I'd rather be depressed for the rest of my life. How do you feel about that?" It's not as if any weight-measure acquired after the first meal of the day has any validity to it, or as if our weight has anything to do with the price of horse-milk wine in Mongolia. I'm just saying. There are more legitimate concerns in the world than my, or my dog's, fat content. Y'know what I mean? I mean Cooper gained three pounds this winter. I'm a little sensitive about that. Technically, according to Cooper's medical records — which one cannot believe — Cooper has gained 3.2 pounds. Apparently, the point-two is important to point out to the humans. It means the weight gain is accurately recorded and the scale police didn't round up to 3 pounds from, say, 2.8. "Oh, I see Cooper gained some weight. Hmm, 3.2 pounds," they said. "Thank you for that information. But, y'know, he hasn't been shaved yet this spring." "Mmm-hmm." "His hair is really thick. It's like weighing me in a parka and mukluks." "Mmm-hmm." "This has been a long winter. For all of us. Alright!?" "Mmm-h—" "Whatever." So now Cooper's on a diet. We had to cut back on his kibbles and limit his daily intake of calories amassed through treats and scraps. With the new restrictions in place, John and I find ourselves saying things like "that's enough food for you" and "this all you get, so eat slowly" and "quit begging, you had your supper, no treat, that's it, please stop staring at me." I know John feels guilty, like I do. What strikes me as even harder to bear, morally, is the fact that I can't imagine a single instance in my life or some alternate plane of existence in which I would tolerate someone else having absolute control over my own food intake. If John were to tell me, "That's enough food for you, honey," he might as well end that statement by making a business date with the nearest divorce attorney, or undergoing a thorough examination in Area 51 — because either I'd married the wrong man by mistake and I needed to rectify the problem, or the right one had been abducted by aliens and a clearly inferior clone had been sent to replace him. I don't even want to contemplate a waitress telling me, "I noticed that big ol' tire you're getting around the middle, so I substituted this kid's meal for the 1/3-pound burger and fries you ordered. This is all you get; eat slowly." I'd be telling her, "Sweety, you need to get your head examined, because I think that plate I gave back to you left a mark right there on your forehead." Yet here I find myself in the role of food police. To ease my guilt and display my solidarity with Cooper in his foodloss plight, I'm going to cut back and lose weight along with him. Starting this weekend, I'm ditching the parka and muk-luks and cutting my hair. (Solutions are simple at http:// viewnorth40.wordpress.com.)


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