In adolescence, for my being fat, I was not accounted with social status among my school peers. They pulled pranks on me and laughed to each other in somewhat desperate tones at my disgrace. There was fear in their eyes even as they stripped me of all my dignity before them.
Yes, I was aware of their shallow insecurities, but as my own were deep, the knowledge did me no service.
Indeed, attempts on my part to exploit their weaknesses were uniformly and effectively parried by an escalation of exertions to thrust me further into my own ignominy, their strength augmented by that inexhaustible passion of their self-hatred.
From my seats in the rears of classrooms, I was afforded a view of the students which kept me enthralled throughout each class period.
The girls, of course, were my main subjects of appraisal. Their chests were just now in the process of exuding their breasts, and my posterior position provided the perfect angle of view. That firm perpendicular jut, the strain of cloth against it, the soft, tangential friction as the girl shifted her body: these were all visible to me from where I sat.
Not to mention the border of crushed cloth—perfectly flat, but vibrantly striving to rounder states—between metal chair and supple thighs.
My mother kept the kitchen well-stocked for me.
When I arrived home after school, I would head straight for the row of jars on the counter and extract multiple cookies from each jar. There were always at least seven varieties to choose from. I went heavy on the chocolate and butter flavors, selected more frugally among the nutted kinds.
From the refrigerator, I would retrieve rich, creamy milk to wash out the hot sludge of crumbs which inevitably accretes in every crevice of a practicing gluttonous mouth.
For half an hour I would sit at the kitchen table, inserting the next cookie into my mouth before I had even completely swallowed the current cookie, which itself swam happily together with all its predecessors; I imbibed generously of cold milk whenever the system threatened to clog.
Although I did not acknowledge her, I was aware of my mother in her faded pink bathrobe watching me from the living room. It was not until I was sated that I went in and greeted her with a kiss. Her lips were dry, but full. She insisted on a protracted kiss of no less than five seconds, and it often lasted for up to twelve. She smelled of corn flakes. I knew she kept several boxes at all times in all rooms of the house; she ate very little else.
On average, I consumed fifty to sixty cookies during that post-scholastic half-hour, and half a gallon of milk. My jaws always ached afterwards, but my mother’s fingers soothed this away in firm circles during the kiss.
Although swaddled in pink terrycloth, my mother’s body was a woman’s body. One could not doubt this assertion. She was a woman, therefore possessing a complex rounded architecture and a chamber devoted to the reception of guests.
She gave birth to me, and only to women has natural selection assigned this function.
Yet in my experience, my mother’s body did not exist. It was replaced by terrycloth—blue in my early years, later pink—and this was the flesh of my mother. To my perception, she might well have been terrycloth through and through.
For some reason, many adults assign fat children to the “cute” category.
In my case, this fact resulted in riches: numerous five-dollar bills slipped into my shirt pocket at family gatherings; extremely large portions of cake and candy enjoined upon me by youth-ravenous elderlies, not to mention second and third helpings which they watched me shovel in with an almost hypnotized fascination.
Of course, there were the prices to pay for glory: pinches tested of my flesh, usually cheeken, but occasionally abdominal and even gluteal; exclamations over my seemingly unlimited growth capacity—“Oh my! how healthy he looks! how rosy! He’s a regular cherub! So handsome! You’ll be a real charmer I bet with the girls! Won’t he, or won’t he, Wanda?!”
There was no end to this type of effusery, but I endured it patiently for the sake of personal enrichment.
In her dining on corn flakes, my mother was particular. There was a process which must be observed. This was a ceremony of sorts, and possessed for her, I suspect, many of the religious connotations of ritual behavior.
First the hand must reach into the box. Three fingers must be used in grasping the flakes, the thumb and its two nearest neighbors, which I refer to as the Sacred Three. This arrangement provides the best compromise between efficient retrieval of flakes and ease of extraction from the box.
Coordinating with the hand’s exodus from the box’s interior, the face must reorient to a receiving position, in which the mouth ascends to the apex of the head. If coordination has been effective, the hand bearing corn flakes will arrive unto its station above the mouth at the instant of the mouth’s arrival unto its station below the hand.
At this time, the tongue extrudes, and upon it is deposited the collected flakes, anchored by the Sacred Three. The tongue carries this cargo into its berth, at which point, cargo safely delivered, the Sacred Three are discharged from their duty.
Hand and head return to respective home positions, and shortly, the process is initiated again.
An inveterate masturbator, I stroked my penis continuously from the moment I crawled under the covers at night. It usually took me over an hour to get to sleep. My day’s most blissful hour.
My mother loved me dearly. For while dedicated to ensuring that the house contained at all times an abundant stock of corn flakes, she quite selflessly maintained my supply of cookies and milk with the same assiduity.
I believe there was no brighter hour in her day than that hour in which, having endured another scholastic term of six hours that seemed sixty, I attended to my own rites of consumption.
Although I did not outwardly acknowledge it, I felt her gaze on me throughout, and indeed, it was a comfort to me to perform this ceremony under her benevolent observation. The love and approval of her eyes upon me lent familial gravitas to what otherwise should have counted as nothing more than an obscene engorgement of my appetites, a self-imposed indignity to counter the peer-imposed indignities of my schooling.
When my father arrived home from work, around seven o’clock, he immediately stripped down to his boxers (retaining his shoes), leaving his belted pants and sweated shirt in a heap on the foyer floor, for my mother to transfer to the hamper when she got around to it later in the evening.
He required her to sit in his lap while they watched TV. I did not watch TV with them, but as he insisted I be in the room with “the family,” I sat beside them on the couch with a book or a crossword puzzle in my lap.
In this way, sitting together “as a family” on the couch, we ate dinner. Dinner lasted from the moment my father walked in the door to the moment he decided it was time for all of us to go to bed. It was my mother’s job to fetch more dinner when necessary (although, on her part, as I have mentioned, she ate mostly corn flakes). We began with classic heated entrées—meats, vegetables, fruits, all things easily procured in prepackaged form in the freezer aisles of the supermarket—then moved on to such products as could be eaten directly from box or bag without fear of preparation, classic snack items such as the various cheeses (crackers, puffs, doodles, balls, etc.), the fruits (roll-ups, pop-tarts, pies), the baked goods (cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, pastries, more pies), the greased goods (potato chips, onion rings, pork rinds). Dinner ceased when my father heaved a groan, heaved my mother from his lap, heaved himself from the couch, gave his round tight ball of a belly a few satisfied slaps, and stretched his arms above his head in a great show of fatigue which could be matched I was certain only by the most fabulous of sleepy cartoon characters.
He would make the announcement in his voice which was the G-note on a banjo: “Shoes shoes shoes! Am I bushed! Shoes in a blender!” He was a shoe salesman, hence he interpreted the world in terms of shoes. “Shoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Time for sleep, Wanda. Shoes!”
Then he would clomp up the stairs and down the hall to the master bedroom in those massive shoes which he never removed, not even for bed. He took the shoes off to protect them from his weekly shower, but they came quickly back on when his feet were dry.
My mother followed him to bed, after tidying up a bit. She tucked me in every night and kissed me for a minimum of five seconds. Then I whacked off for a minimum of one hour before succumbing to the blackness under sleep’s perpetually spring tide.
Terrycloth was the defining attribute of my mother. When I had attained the age of four, its color changed, but not its substance.
For weeks, I endured a crisis of identity, not my own, but my mother’s. My toddler’s mind could not countenance this instability of her color; for indeed how could one, being blue, suddenly and without herald, transform to pink?
Finally, by default, I concluded that color was no reliable indicator of what substance it made visible. One must trust, not the appearance of a thing, but the fact of its appearance. Perhaps a subtle distinction, but a distinction nonetheless, and one that satisfied a four-year old mind in quest of answers.
In application, the distinction revealed to me that the fact of my mother outweighed her color. And besides, as I have mentioned, her substance remained consistent, being perhaps not so soft as previously, but she softened with time.
My father knew his business. Shoes consumed his life from an early age. He often told the story of how at a tender three months, his own father in a clumsy handling of the newborn son had dropped him on his head, but “My wee skull wasn’t crushed, nosirree! Shoes! Saved by my own pap’s shoes I was! That oak floor would have done me in for sure, cracked me open like a watermelon off the Empire State! ’Course, I don’t remember—was too young—but my pap never did stint on comfort where his tootsies was concerned, I know that good enough. Shoes! Softest patent leather you ever did caress a baby’s wee soft skull with. Can’t go wrong with shoes!”
My peers at school enjoyed to speculate on the provenance and/or telos of my fat. They employed themselves to the limits of their invention in this activity, to an extent which if these intellectual efforts had been applied scholastically they would no doubt have excelled in all their classes.
Do not expect me to supply you with the fruits of their labor! Suffice it to say that their cruelty certainly had its intended effect on me, and I resented them bitterly every day for it. But I would not dignify it with a further recounting of its particulars. It is merely something I mention in passing, a point of general interest, but not a crucial point.
As a child, my father was given ample freedom to roam the labyrinthine corridors of his urban neighborhood. It was a landscape the features of which were most certainly consanguine with the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch.
One could never be sure of one’s step. There were pits into which one’s foot might lodge. Additionally, there were jagged cement hunks protruding from the pavement against which one’s foot might strike. There were discarded needles of junkies and mislaid scalpels of back-alley abortionists. Vermin, grubs, larvae, and assorted other wildlife scurried perpetually underfoot. Animals and human derelicts were continually dropping their excrements wheresoever was convenient. Wounded criminals left trails of their diseased blood along the routes of their escapes from scenes of their crimes. At the age of six, in a back lot not more than three blocks from his home, my father witnessed the copulation of a bulbous-eyed panhandler and a scruffy mongrel bitch, and “Where do you think most of that jizz landed?”
No effort was conducted to maintain the cleanliness of the ground upon which upright citizens trod. Indeed, it seemed to my youthful father, all the effort was put toward the further disgrace of that cleanliness.
Therefore, having already once been saved by footwear, my father decided that a “pair of shoes that fit” was essential to the survival of any far-ranging boy of adventure.
At that time in History, the money necessary for the purchase of a “pair of shoes that fit” was a vast sum, excessively daunting as to the funding. “Most people, they didn’t wear shoes back then. Too frigging dear, excuse the frenchism. They carried gauze and tape wherever they went, they did. You stepped on a razor blade, why you just bandaged that tootsie up right there on the street and kept going. Unbelievable! My pap, on the other hand, he was a visionary. Other people, they was squandering their pennies on syrup for their pancakes—my pap, he put his pennies straightaway in the ‘shoe jar,’ and by the time he needed his next pair, by God that jar had just enough in it to buy the softest patent leather goodies for the tootsies you ever did caress a baby’s wee soft skull with!”
Unfortunately, the purchase of his father’s shoes invariably consumed the entire estate of the shoe jar, leaving no resources for the adornment of the son’s feet.
But my father was not to be hindered from any design in regard of shoes. He inaugurated his own secret shoe jar, and into it deposited those rare pennies that came now and then into his possession. Wherever he walked, “stepping with the care of a Royal Personage, so that my little fledgling tootsies could not become injured by all that shit that was lying around back then, pardon the frenchism, I was on the lookout for those pennies. They could be anywhere, anytime, and you couldn’t flag, nosirree, you had to have the keen eyes and the nimble fingers ready at all times if you was gonna be the one to pick up those pennies that people was always dropping whenever they was on their way to somewhere in a hurry.”
I cannot overstate the degree to which femininity dominated my thoughts and emotions, not to mention my pubescent physiology. It would be no exaggeration to say that the female shape was an unflagging presence in my mind, compelling every idea into a tracing of its contours and folds, infusing even the most nonsexual of thoughts with the electric tingle of sex.
I was a consistent and persistent, albeit clandestine, observer of my feminine classmates. I have mentioned my advantageous vantage in most of my classes. I can assure you I made the fullest possible use of it. I kept a special notebook filled with sketches of the various breasts and hips and heads of hair and pouting lips and smooth-swept cheeks and sloping noses and all the plethora of parts to be discovered in a careful survey of a room full of young women. I sometimes took that notebook with me to the bathroom where I masturbated into the toilet while paging through it; I covered my thunderous climax with the toilet’s even more thunderous flush.
By the age of ten, my father was nearly one quarter of the way to his savings goal. It had taken four years to reach this point, “And I admit it, I was beginning to get just a wee bit discouraged! I tell you, it came to the point where I found myself standing in front of the Pancake Store, eyeing up the Pure-D Maple Syrup From Vermont in the window. By God, I was gonna do it! I was gonna buy the syrup, and I didn’t even have pancakes to pour it on! My shoe jar had just enough, I could get a whole gallon of that stuff. Not enough, though, that I could get the pancakes too.”
At this time, fate intervened. My father arrived home from the Pancake Store to collect his jar, determined to return and acquire the coveted syrup. Jar in hand, he stopped by the window of his beloved neighbor, Margie B., to see if she possessed any pancakes on which she might like for him to pour his syrup, once he had procured it.
“The girl was in a state, it’d break your heart! Margie B., I loved her like the sister I didn’t have. Most beautiful little girl you ever saw, Margie B., with the rosy cheeks and the Blondie curls and the pearly teeth and the laughter like birdies in the park. By God, I was gonna marry that girl, I thought, when we was old enough to do it … me and Margie B. … but that day, that’s when it all ended. It was the Locked Jaw.”
Margie B., it developed, had been punctured in the foot by a rusty pin on the street. Soon thereafter, she had become infected with tetanus, causing painful spasms at first, which became longer in duration until her entire body was seized by one continuous, unyielding contraction of the muscles that did not cease until she died, screaming her agony through clenched teeth.
“It was right then and there, I made the Promise To The World! I said, ‘By God, no pretty little peach ain’t ever gonna be dead again on account of the Locked Jaw. I am gonna put shoes on the tootsies of every man, woman, and especially every child that is walking around today on their own bare feet!’ ”
Again, fate intervened.
My father applied for a job as a newspaper boy, being old enough now, and being more determined than ever that he should amass the savings required for the purchase of a “pair of shoes that fit.”
On his very first day, he earned four additional pennies for his secret shoe jar. These riches, however, paled in comparison to Cobbling School. “The first paper I sold, I dropped it, I was so nervous, and there was some fierce wind blowing that day, I tell you, must have been the lips of God blowing that wind, cause that paper blew open to page three, and there it was: ‘Cobbling School.’ That advertisement burned itself into my brain, and my brain was burning for years to come.”
He now hatched a new, and morally superior, savings goal. He would not merely acquire shoes for himself—which indeed would wear out with time, necessitating the purchase of yet another pair—but instead, he would acquire the knowledge of making his own shoes, shoes for himself and shoes for others.
Additionally, he envisioned a day on which he might expand upon the education received in Cobbling School. In this vision, he saw himself establishing an efficient and inexpensive manufacturing process for the mass production of cheap, but dependable, shoes.
In this way, he might fulfill his Promise To The World, to make shoes affordable to every man, woman, and child whose feet would otherwise go unadorned.
I preferred not to fraternize with those elements at school which might conceivably contain within themselves the potentiality of a friendly intercourse with me.
I distrusted them because they too possessed that most peculiarly heady and self-inflated of organs, the penis. The penis is a strictly isolationist organ, brooking no competitors, suffering no contenders to supremacy in the realms of ejaculation and evacuation. To each male is allotted one, and as it is of all his bodily aspects his most prized, it is therefore his most arrogantly aggrandized. He would readily consent to the painful death of his closest friend before allowing the slightest bit of harm to come to his most precious manly instrumentation.
No potentate worthy of the title shares his power: he rules alone. Thus the one worldly object beyond his reach is friendship. I recognized this truth from the beginning. Mine has never been a vision hindered by illusion. I spurned friendship for the same reason I avoided my enemies.
My father never did fructify his dream of innovating the manufacture of inexpensive shoes for the masses; that dream was realized by Research and Development Departments of world-spanning corporations.
My father was not disappointed, however, that his glory had been usurped. Indeed, he dissolved the tiny cobbling business he had started after Cobbling School and went to work for the Shoe Store, where he could participate directly in the dissemination of quality shoes to the working public. He was the most successful salesman in the store.
“I owe it all to Cobbling School! The education I learned there has served me throughout my life and career. Every young man or girl should go to Cobbling School just like I did. I never regretted it and to this day I thank my lucky shoes!”
Often, late at night, in the aftermath of masturbation, beneath the looming tide of micturation, I slipped out into the mooning yard, tramped lightly the glowing grass—those blades of shining black which waved softly in a breeze that came from no direction (but from the stars themselves I sometimes mused)—sought some vary-shadowed bush in which to loose my flood. The foliage-fingers tickled me in my private place. The shadow of the stream arced in a shape unlike the stream itself—a shape more kin to that strange light of night which does not travel a straight path as in the day.
The patter of the piss released a rising hiss which was quiet at the ground but louder at the level of my ears, and louder still I imagined in the higher spheres,—so that satellites wobbled in their orbits within the sonic wake,—so that planets hunkered in their asteroidal bunkers to endure my miracle’s onslaught,—and roving comets, those homeless rogues, swerved and backward looped and whooped to join their voices in the great cosmic urinary din.
As I lifted my member with reverent attention to thickness and comfort, I felt the eyes upon me. Somewhere in the night, I was being watched: tremendous crowds stood in awe of me: cheers rose to fill the growing void within my bladder: across the face of the globe, penitents prostrated themselves in convulsive worship: rapture seized the millions, and none were common before me, but holy in my holiness. I was the king of an unknown country: royalty not by blood, but by piss.
Photo By: Paul Chaloner