November 7, 2012
Vol: 19 No: 45

Dr. Wes

To be adventurous, look into the past, drink gallons of milk and see what the future holds

By Dr. Wes Browning

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Right after every election I am speaking to you from the pre-election past. You are probably all worked up about the election that just happened, and I have nothing of value to say to you about it. I have no idea what initiatives passed or which fool got elected to office, so I can’t snark effectively.

Yes, I just used “snark” as a verb, and no, you can’t stop me: I’m in the past.

When I can’t see the future, I look at the past. It just makes sense. You have to look at something. It’s like when you’re on a bus and you can’t stare at the other people on the bus. So you stare at the ads. You have to look at something. If you close your eyes you’ll go to sleep and miss your stop. I don’t want to miss my stop.

Yesterday (last Thursday to you), I was reminiscing about how this column came to be titled Adventures in something. It’s because I have an anomalous adventurosity syndrome.

A normal person, feeling adventurous, hitchhikes across country, arranges a holiday in Kathmandu or tries bungee jumping.

My idea of being adventurous is to wear hats to see if they really do make you bald. Or come up with a new way to be stupid. Or try out being a different body type.

I did the latter in the early 90s. I had been skinny all my life and found myself working at a place that had unlimited supplies of free soft drinks, juices and cartons of milk for employees.

I probably didn’t constitute an employee by their accounting, strictly speaking, but with the statute of limitations having run out and the fact that you only have my word against me, OK, I took advantage.

Then I got to thinking that I had an excellent opportunity to not be skinny without having to consume donuts. I hate donuts.

Those of you who have never been skinny probably can’t imagine what that’s like. I mean, being skinny. It’s like, you feel that at any moment a stiff wind could take you and deposit you half a mile away. You can almost never open a door by shoving it with your shoulder the way movie heroes do. You are frequently lost in elevators. People mistake you for a vertical hand-hold on buses (not all of these are bad things.)

For me, it was the opposite. I knew all those facts about being skinny deeply and experientially. But I had no idea what it was like to be a large, heavy person.

So in December of 1991, I decided to be fat for a change and drank between a half gallon and a gallon of milk every day, because it was there. I gained 50 pounds in three months. Within a year there was five-eighths more of me than ever before.

It changed me in other ways, besides weight and girth. I came to have new understandings of how large people see the world. I gained new insight into the concept of “metabolism.” I met whole new prejudices.

Before, as a thin man, everyone assumed I was gay even if I didn’t “act gay.” After I gained all that weight, they decided I was not gay but was instead jolly, even if I didn’t act jolly.

Another kind of adventure I like is getting lost. When I had a car I used to drive around aimlessly without a map. Those were good times.

Some of the best adventures are ones you can go on without doing anything. You can entertain contradictions and logical fallacies. You can believe a thing and its opposite at the same time.

I recommend this to everyone. Go on, try it! You won’t die. In fact, in some parts of the world it’s a way of life.

It can also be the first step in finding the way out of an impossible conflict.

Just agree with everyone and see where that gets you.

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