Because I'm spending an inordinate amount of time putting myself through torture for a mistake I made in October (i.e., signing up for the May Ironman), all so I won't drown/die of heat exhaust/fall off of a cliff while biking due to fatigue/turn against the world/etc., I have felt justified recently in self-indulging on all of the top 25 FDA's most toxic foods. My rationale, of course, is that since I'm burning what feels like 250,000 calories a day, I should be able to consume that many, in whatever form I would like, with no consequences. Sound fair? Admittedly, there is a slight chance that I have out-consumed my calorie burning. In fact, you would all disown me if you found out how much Ben & Jerry's Lard-Trans-Fat flavor ice cream I've had over the last several months, usually with a side of something equally depressing and always at an hour when only the creepers are still awake. And as we speak, I am eating hot chocolate powder out of a can with a large spoon. But no longer do I feel good about this behavior.

Last week my "friend" Dan finally convinced me to go to something called the "Bod Pod" and have a machine, which is supposedly the most accurate bad-news-giver/judger-of-man in the whole world, tell me what a horrible suck-face with no future I am. I sincerely believe this machine was invented by the devil and is operated by his minions. And if I had unlimited time and resources, I would devote all of it (save the portion I would set aside for Ben & Jerry's) to stopping it from hurting other people. Dan, who has been training and soaking his insides in lard to the same degree as I have, assured me that he received a positive result from Satan's vehicle for evil, which basically told him he was America's next top model with an impossibly low body fat percentage that placed him in the "ultra-lean" category. This, the results paper explained, is the category of "elite athletes" and others who have a reason to feel good about themselves. Dan explained that this was a confidence booster, one desperately needed during Ironman training, and one he claims he was sure I would receive if I submitted to the test.

So I caved.

First, a man and woman asked me to strip down to a speedo in an office while they stared at and questioned me about all of my life habits and forcefully typed my answers into a computer. I felt like the protagonist in every film ever created about a regular Joe who gets sequestered by the government for contracting some contagious ailment (and for reasons that have never been clear to me, the audience always labels this as an atrocity of the greatest kind because his freedoms have been restricted, even though a waltz out to society would mean the destruction of mankind. Another topic for another day). They then had me step inside the Bod Pod machine (aka, self-esteem deathtrap), which looked like something I've seen on The Jetsons, but less fun. I sat and completed a few cycles where I felt the air pressure change several times as I saw man and woman through the Bod Pod window nodding up and down at their computer screen like they just discovered what they expected all along. I was then released and escorted to a table where man and woman sat judgmentally with my results, prepared to have, what I'm now calling, an "intervention" with me. To my horror, they informed me that I fell firmly into the "moderately fat" category. I didn't even qualify for "lean"--and forget about "ultra lean." In fact, I was closer to the next category up, which I think was called "excessive fat." The only category above that one was something like, "contact the nearest emergency response team if you're not already dead."

Miss Thang counseled me, with a tone in her voice like she was trying to save me, that I should try to lose some of my excess fat if I want to live to see my grandchildren. But it was hard to pay attention to her because all I could think about were the pictures in the other room of the other "moderates" who all looked like they've been eating Cheetos for every meal since the 80s. I also desperately tried to figure out where my twice-the-amount-of-fat-as-Dan-even-though-he's-a-foot-taller-than-me is most noticeable. When I lean forward I think all of it goes to my stomach. When I lean back, my thighs.  

Eventually I determined that these were bad people who shouldn't be trusted.

Now that that is settled, I'm here to help anyone avoid wasting the effort to go visit the same people. If any of you out there are considering scheduling the Bod Pod test, I'll save you the time by helping you conduct your own equally-accurate test at home. Please answer the following questions:

1. Are you ever happy?
2. Do you consume food in order to stay alive?
3. Are there any parts of your body where you cannot see the shape of your bones?
4. Are there ever moments where you are not so hungry that you are on the verge of falling into unconsciousness?
5. Do you weigh more than you did at age six?
6. Lift up your shirt, lean forward, and look at your stomach. Have you lost the will to live?

Results: If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you should feel bad about yourself, refrain from wearing a bathing suit in public, and get a good life insurance policy.

On the way home from the Bod Pod I stopped by Wendy's drive-through for a large #3. But with a Diet Coke. Just in case they're right.

~It Just Gets Stranger