The Scale of Injustice
What is it with our bathroom scale? What have I ever done to it?
I think it’s one of those rogue scales—you know, like a rogue elephant running wild in a Tarzan movie. It’s a pleasant-looking machine, a beige Health-O-Meter with a large digital readout and a ribbed step pad. My wife and I respect, honor and cherish our scale. We change the batteries ahead of schedule. We take great care never to drip on it, and Cheddar, our seventy-pound golden retriever, isn’t permitted in the bathroom. But, our scale apparently wants more out of life.
The scale has it in for me, in a big way! It treats my wife with due scale respect, but not me.
You may be unsurprised to hear that I’m constantly trying to lose weight, and a pound one way or the other means a lot to me. I weigh myself every evening and morning.
Last night I played full-court basketball for an hour and a half, then drank two glasses of grapefruit juice, watched CSI: Miami and weighed myself: 209 pounds. Good. The conditions were ideal for a morning weigh-in of 205-206 pounds. Wind was from the southwest at 10-15 mph, and the humidity was 37 percent. During the night I made two trips to the bathroom, but otherwise slept soundly.
KTG (Kathryn the Great, my wife) and Cheddar left for a walk at 5:30 AM. I hit the scale at 6:30. It read 207 pounds. Okay, I can live with that.
I relieved myself once more, brushed my teeth, and was about to vacate the area when the scale broadcasted its force field: “Come on, big guy, one more weigh-in for the road. How about it, buff-master?” What could I say? I took the chance. Maybe now I’ll be 206, right? Wrong.
I was 210 pounds! Unbelievable. Three pounds heavier? I would’ve had to swallow a quart and a half of toothpaste water. I tried again, shifting my weight on the step pad. After a second or two at 209, it bounced up to 211 and threatened to stay there before settling down to 210.
Tears welled in my ducts. My wake-up elation had turned to weigh-in depression. I gloomily donned my socks, loose-fitting Dockers and a shirt. I started brewing the morning coffee just as KTG and Cheddar returned. KTG gave me a hug and a penetrating look and observed, “Oh, you weighed yourself already.” She’s great at picking up subtle behavioral cues, like me slamming the refrigerator door.
I poured our coffee and took a couple of swigs. With a light kiss on my cheek, she suggested soothingly, “Why don’t you try it again?”
“Well, Cheddar, is she right? Should I do it? What do you think?”
Cheddar’s eyes and tail signaled his complete unconditional approval. They were his code for “A great idea! Smartest thing I ever heard!” Unless, of course, he meant, “You said my name! Do I get a treat?”
We fashioned a little parade down the hall to the bathroom. Never a cautious codger, I stepped spiritedly onto the scale. Two hundred and eight pounds—including half a cup of coffee, socks, shirt and those extra-roomy Dockers.
I looked in amazement at my wife; she smiled gently. I looked in amazement at Cheddar; he was already curled on his rug in the bedroom.
As I left the bathroom, somewhat satisfied, I could swear I heard the scale jiggle smugly. Shaking my head, I turned toward the bed where, BC, king of our two cats, was grinning from whisker to whisker…something he never does.