The Scale of Injustice

By Bernard Levy


    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.