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Biggest Loser Club: Steven Spielberg and Me

Here we are again, with our cheeks . . . our jowls, our large bodies spilling into each other, our cheap blue PowerStart kits. . . . our name tags, and thanks to Charles Barkley . . . . . guys.

“Hi, I’m Robert, I’m new here.”

“Hi Robert!” a chipper old timer calls out.

Robert doesn’t know that we are all “new” here except “Hi Robert.” At Weight Watchers, during the first week of January, even the employees have been called out of hibernation to deal with the onslaught of new “members.”

As a lifetime member, I know the drill.

I was a “loser” in high school. The only places losers belonged in our high school were in the library, the smoker’s bathroom, or cheering for the wrestling team (Mat Maids). Most losers did not belong in all three venues, but I did, so in hindsight I was an overachieving loser.

I am in good company. One of the greatest filmmakers of all time was a loser at my high school (a few classes before me); Steven Spielberg. During his three years at our school, the pride and joy of Phoenix, he was a victim of hate and bullied (he probably didn’t know about taking refuge in the smoker’s bathroom). He ended up choosing to leave our fun little oasis of hatred and moved to California to live with his father.

I did the same thing with slightly less impressive results.

In lieu of receiving the Oscar for Schindler’s List (I will never forget turning around in the packed, full size movie theater housing 2000 people, looking at the faces of the people in the audience, all numb, in awe, sad . . . and wishing I was at home, the pain was immeasurable) , Jaws, ET,  and Saving Private Ryan (Steven Ambrose the author of Band of Brothers, the book Saving Private Ryan was based on, was my History of American Foreign Policy professor so Steve and I are practically cousins and I am pretty sure Tom Hanks might be in my family tree as well and I KNOW for completely unconnected reasons, I am related to Will Smith)  . . . . I have earned the coveted Lifetime Membership Award from Weight Watchers.

I’d like to thank the Academy, and
the lady in aisle two at Safeway, 1989,  who asked with sincerity and way too much enthusiasm , “Are you having twins, you look like you are about to pop?” (no ma’am, I’m not pregnant – sorry I made you feel like crap – I know you were just trying to be nice),
the tall, slim cousin, circa 1997, who matter of factly chose the word “fat” instead of something less HURTFULL such as overweight or chunky when discussing my body type (I think you meant fluffy),
the sweet, innocent girls (2003) walking, giggling, and pointing at my especially large behind dressed in thick, brown cords,
the words, “That sweater is huge!” and unsaid, “Oh is that a weather balloon making it’s way into the foyer” . . . and thank you
High School Mean Girl(s) who made every moment in high school torture and never failed to tell me how bad I smelled. . . .

“I find that after I ride my bike, I feel really hungry,” Robert says leaving the second half of his question, “so isn’t exercise bad?” unstated.

“What types of foods are you craving?”

“I don’t know. Carbos.”

A conversation ensues, someone says “carbs,” gently correcting Robert’s “carbos,” and helpful tips abound.

Finally Robert gets to what he really wants to know, “So how many points is a beer?”


Here we are again.

Helping each other be losers.